What is Won Buddhism?
The name Won Buddhism (Won-Bul-Kyo) is a compound word in Korean for truth, enlightenment, and teaching. Won means circle and symbolizes the ultimate truth; Bul means enlightenment; Kyo means teaching the truth. Therefore, Won Buddhism is the path that leads us to become enlightened to the truth.
Sotaesan, the Founding Master of Won Buddhism, realized supreme enlightenment in 1916 in Korea, after years of searching for the truth and doing many ascetic practices. He embraced the Buddha’s teaching, yet he modernized and revitalized the traditional Buddhadharma so that people in the secular world could use it to enrich their everyday lives.
Everything is of our mind’s creation. This is the essence of the Buddha’s teaching. This world and our lives are the manifestation of our minds. Using our minds skillfully is fundamental and the key to leading happy and successful lives. Through cultivating faith in the truth and practicing morality based on facts, Won Buddhism teaches us how to use our minds well.
Won Buddhism teaches that the source of blessings is the Dharmakaya (Truth) Buddha, or Fourfold Grace. All things are the manifestation of the graces bestowed by heaven & earth, parents, fellow beings, and laws & universal principles. By awakening to these essential graces, we put our gratitude into practice and blessings arise.
Il Won Sang
The Il-Won-Sang (One-Circle-Image) is enshrined at the altar in Won Buddhism temples. It is a symbol of the ultimate reality; the origin of all things in the universe, the truth that all the buddhas and sages awaken to, and the original nature of all sentient beings.
When our minds are without defilement, desires, or attachments, we are as clear as space and as clean and reflective as a perfect mirror. This is the realm before any thought arises. This is beginner's mind; this is who we really are. In this pure space, all religions, traditions, and philosophies can join together. The Il-Won-Sang represents our true home to which we may all return.