Buddhism (佛敎) is the pathway to enlightenment. The word Won (圓) literally means ‘circle’ and symbolizes ultimate reality or our true nature. Therefore, the name Won Buddhism means the path to the enlightenment to our true nature.
Won Buddhism aims to revitalize and modernize Buddhism, to bring ancient Buddhist truth to contemporary society, and to use Buddhist teachings and meditation practice for practical and useful purposes. The goal of Won Buddhism is to build One World Community and to realize the oneness of life based on the Buddhist world view of interdependency and interconnectedness of all.
Won Buddhism shares main teachings with Mahayana Buddhism, one of the two major traditions of Buddhism. At the same time, it has built on and developed Mahayana Buddhism with the following tenets:
- Materialism is a fact we cannot avoid. However, as contemporary society becomes increasingly materialistic, technologically advanced, and globally integrated, it is critical to develop our spirituality in equal measure.
- The rights and opportunities of women have too often been ignored by Buddhism as well as other religions. Women are prominent in the leadership and ministry of Won Buddhism.
- We embrace and accept those of other faiths and seek to work together to build a better world.
With the teaching of the explicit acceptance of other religions, Won Buddhism leads the movement for inter-religious cooperation based on the Ethics of Triple Identity; all religions and spirituality are based on a Common Source, all human beings and all forms of life are interdependent as a One Earth Family and all enterprises have a Common Purpose. Won Buddhists believe that all religions have a responsibility to offer the right spiritual direction for all humankind and should cooperate and make the world a peaceful paradise by taking a lead role in constructing a world community.
Won Buddhists have participated and promoted in local, national, regional and international inter religious dialogue and cooperation since 1970. Interreligious understanding and cooperation are a central teaching of Won Buddhism. Won Buddhism is accredited by the United Nations and a member of religious NGO at the UN. Won Buddhism is a founding member of KCRP (Korean Conference of Religions for Peace), and actively engages in WCRP (World Conference of Religions for Peace), WFB (World Fellowship of Buddhists), and ACRP (Asian Conference of Religions for Peace) and our relationship has served as co-presidents and staff.
Won Buddhism is socially engaged in the fields of environment, education, social service, community service, human rights, women's issues and humanitarian assistance.
“Il Won (One Circle) is the Dharmakaya Buddha, the origin of all things in the universe, the truth that all buddhas and sages enlightened to, and the original nature of all setient beings.” - Sotaesan
Won literally means circle and symbolizes the ulitmate reality. From ancient times many spiritual traditions have expressed the universal truth through the image of a circle. In early Christianity, God was dipicted by a circle and in the Zen tradition, Buddha nature or our original mind has been symbolized by a circular image.
Sotaesan said “That circular image is a model for teaching the true Il Won. It is like pointing at the moon with your finger: your finger is not the real moon. In the same way, a practitioner must discover the true Il-Won through the model of Il Won Sang, guard Il Won’s true nature and practice Il-Won’s perfect mind. Then, the truth of Il Won Sang and our lives will mesh perfectly." From the Scriptures of Won Buddhism
The Fourfold Grace is the manifestation of Dharmakaya (Truth) Buddha or Il Won Sang. It could be said that the Fourfold Grace and Dharmakaya Buddha are two sides of the same coin. In Won Buddhism, we see the world from the perspectives of Grace which implies “co-existence” “interdependence” and “oneness”.
There have been two great discoveries that have benefited all humans on earth. One is Buddha’s discovery of our mind-nature, and the other is Sotaesan, the founding master of Won Buddhism’s discovery of Grace. There is a reason why we have two eyes. One is for looking inward and observing our mind and the other is for looking outward and finding Grace. - Daesan, The Third Head Dharma Master of Won Buddhism
The Threefold Practice is the path to uncover our Buddha Nature and the way to Nirvana (profound peace of mind).