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.
Sotaesan, the founding master of Won Buddhism, realized supreme enlightenment in 1916 in Korea at the age of 26, after many years of searching for the truth and doing many ascetic practices.
Master Sotaesan, after his enlightenment, observed the modern world where the human spirit had become weakened and enslaved by the rapidly developing material civilization. He therefore established a communal life setting with the founding motto,
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.
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 interreligious dialogue and cooperation since 1970. Interreligious understanding and cooperation are a central teaching of Won Buddhism. Won Buddhism UN/Interfaith office 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 staffs. Won Buddhism is socially engaged in the fields of environment, education, social service, community service, human rights, women’s issues, and humanitarian assistance.