The Dharma Master Chǒngsan of Won Buddhism

Analects and Writings

By Chongsan
Translated by Bongkil Chung
Introduction by Bongkil Chung
Notes by Bongkil Chung

Subjects: Buddhism, Religion, Korean Studies, Asian Studies, Asian Religion And Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Korean Studies
Paperback : 9781438440248, 342 pages, January 2013
Hardcover : 9781438440231, 342 pages, January 2012

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Table of contents

Abbreviations and Conventions
The Life of Chŏngsan
The Central Doctrine of Won Buddhism
The Thought of Chŏngsan
Concluding Remarks

Part One: The Canon of the World (Sejŏn)

1. General Introduction
2. Education
3. Family
4. Religious Faith
5. Society
6. The Nation
7. The World
8. Rest
9. Nirvāņa
10. An Outline
Part Two: The Dharma Words (Pŏbŏ)

I. Aspiration and Planning
II. Taking Care of the Fundamentals
III. Fundamental Principles
IV. Exposition of Scriptures
V. Exhortations for the Practice of the Way
VI. Moral Culture
VII. On Being Diligent and Truthful
VIII. Edification in Response to Capacities
IX. Dharma Admonitions
X. The Destiny of the Way
XI. On the Korean National Destiny
XII. On Birth and Death
XIII. The Last Instructions
Part Three: Other Selected Writings

I. On Irwŏnsang
II. Truth, Faith, and Practice of Irwŏnsang
III. Ode to the Consummate Enlightenment
Chinese Character Glossary
Glossary of Terms
Selected Bibliography

The first English translations of the writings of Chŏngsan (1900-62), who codified the central doctrines of Won Buddhism.


Won Buddhism emerged in early twentieth-century Korea after a long period of anti-Buddhist repression. It is a syncretic tradition, a form of Buddhism strongly influenced by the Chŏson dynasty's Neo-Confucian ethical heritage and by Daoism. Seeking to deliver sentient beings from suffering and to create a just and ethical world, Won Buddhism stresses practical application of the dharma and service. It offers a vision of people as one family, morally perfected.

This book provides the first English translations of the writings of Chŏngsan (1900–62), the second dharma master of Won Buddhism, who codified the new religion's central doctrines. The translations here include Chŏngsan's discussion of Buddha-nature, described as a mind-seal and symbolized by the Irwŏnsang (a unitary circle); his synthesis of Confucian moral and political programs with Buddhist notions of emancipation from birth and death; and his expositions on realizing the ideal of all people as one family.

Bongkil Chung is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Florida International University. His books include The Scriptures of Won Buddhism: A Translation of the Wŏnbulgyo Kyojŏn with Introduction and An Introduction to Won Buddhism.


"The introductory chapter offers a succinct overview of the history and, more particularly, the main themes of Chŏngsan's systematizing teachings. The translation itself is carefully crafted and impresses by its engaging and accessible style. This work is an important contribution and a 'must-read' for everyone interested in East Asian Buddhism and Korean religions." — Religious Studies Review

"Chung's book is an important addition to the small existing oeuvre on the Won Buddhist tradition of Korea. This is an elegant, accessible, and carefully annotated translation of a seminal work." — Robert Buswell, editor of Religions of Korea in Practice