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Ritual Practices

What is Spiritual Cultivation?

Always bear in mind with utmost sincerity that the Supreme God is always with you. Based on this mindset, while quieting your mind and body, concentrate your reverent mind on the Supreme God and direct this energy to your lower Dantian (the elixir field considered to be a center of qi-energy or life-force located in the lower abdomen) by reciting incantations. While reciting, you should maintain reverence and sincerity toward the Supreme God in order to achieve the integration with Him.

Spiritual cultivation is divided into three parts: Holy Works, Prayer and Spiritual Training. In addition to these forms of spiritual cultivation, devotees also attend Devotional Offering, an important ritual ceremony which is held almost every month.



Holy Works (Gongbu)

Holy Works are a form of spiritual cultivation featuring a specifically timed devotional incantation ritual. Holy Works are currently held only at Yeoju Headquarters Temple Complex. This ritual is performed by a team of 36 participants who take turns performing specific devotional incantations for 24 hours without a break at designated times and places in a specific manner. Holy Works are divided into Sihak-gongbu and Sibeob-gongbu, which differ from one another in terms of incantations, location, and ritual methodology.

Holy Works are the most important form of spiritual cultivation because it is directly related to Perfected Unification with Dao (Dotong) and opening the Earthly Paradise of the Later World. It has been carried out 24 hours a day, 365 days a year without break since the Summer Solstice of 1991. But, other gongbu (gido gongbu) was had been carried out since 1972 until 1991.



Prayer (Gido)

Prayer is the practice of reciting prayerful incantations at designated places or at home at designated time. It is divided into Daily Prayer and Weekly Prayer. Daily Prayer is practiced at 1 am, 7 am, 1 pm, and 7 pm everyday whereas Weekly Prayer is practiced at 5 am, 11 am, 5 pm, and 11 pm on gab and gi days*.

* gab and gi days : these days alternate with each other every five days according to the traditional East Asian concept of a week.



Spiritual Training (Suryeon)

The practice of chanting the Tae-eul Mantra without a designated place or time.

Devotional Offerings (Chiseong)

Devotional Offering is a style of ritual ceremony, which is carried out in an elaborate and collective manner, conveys our most sincere gratitude for the divine grace and for the protective actions of the great deities of Heaven and Earth including Sangje who take care of human beings.
This ceremony is held at Yeongdae* in the Main Sanctuary Building, and the ceremony includes bowing, prayer, chanting, and other such devotional acts. The participants show their utmost sincerity and propriety during the ceremony. Devotional Offering does not truly conclude until after participants have finished partaking in sacrificial (blessed) food and drinks together.
Devotional Offering are held on the dates of birth and passing of Kang Jeungsan and Jo Jeongsan and of major religious events (for instance, the day when Sangje was enshrined at Yeongdae) in the history of the movement, as well as on dates related to seasonal divisions, especially the Winter solstice, the Summer solstice, and the beginnings of Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. Most Devotional Offerings are performed at Yeoju Headquarters Temple Complex.

*Yeongdae : the most sacred shrine on the fourth and highest floor of the Main Sanctuary Building (Bonjeon) where 15 different divine positions including Sangje are enshrined.

Ox Seeking Pictures (Simudo)
A metaphoric visual representation of cultivation in Daesoon Jinrihoe

This is a series of sacred paintings which feature ‘a boy seeking an ox’. The ox is the animal associated with December (the 12th month of lunar calendar) in the Chinese Zodiac. The number twelve is suggestive of Dao itself as it includes a full cycle of creation and transformation in nature. In other words, the ox symbolizes the Dao of Daesoon Truth which Sangje unfolded into this world, and the boy represents a devotee cultivating himself in Daesoon Truth. The series of six paintings depicts the journey of spiritual self-cultivation through the metaphor of a boy finding an ox.

1. Deep Contemplation Leading to Awakening
The boy is in a deep state of contemplation under a pine tree where he asks questions such as “What is life?”, “Where did I come from?”, and “After death, where do I go?” These questions are so different from the normal hustle and bustle of his day-to-day routine life. Now, the boy, who grew weary of the ways of secular life, has come to the point of seeking the reason for human existence. The background setting in this painting is the season of spring.

2. Finding and Following Heavenly Teachings
This is the stage where, in accordance with his destiny (or karmic affinity), the boy is introduced to the Daesoon Truth of Sangje. As the boy points to a direction with his finger, the path he shall undergo has been determined. The boy discovers hoof prints left behind by the white ox. These prints symbolize the guidance of divine beings, who lead devotees to the Daesoon Truth. The stepping-stones represent the support of ancestors who have accumulated virtuous deeds in Heaven for ages as well as the care given from spiritual mentors who lead devotees along the right path in their cultivation process. Even though the boy has not fully acknowledged these benefits received from others and has not yet grasped the truth, he nevertheless feels inspired to progress in his search. This painting is also set in springtime.

3. Practicing Dao Diligently and Overcoming of Hardships
The boy catches a glimpse of the ox, but only its hindquarters. In this stage, he carries out what he had learned as theory and puts that knowledge into practice. However, he still has yet to awaken to Dao. Furthermore, he faces lightning, rainstorms, and a steep cliff. This is when devotees encounter problems and difficulties and then try to overcome them. Even though the boy knows full well that there will be many obstacles ahead of him such as bumpy roads, steep cliffs, and bad weather, he still refuses to be deterred. This is the stage where devotees push themselves forward diligently towards spiritual enlightenment and overcome many of the hardships and difficulties inevitably encountered during their cultivation. The setting has now changed to the season of summer.

4. Keeping Devoting Oneself Incessantly to Dao
The boy finally encounters the white ox and pats it affectionately. The boy has safely crossed over the steep valley and the sky has cleared up. This is the time to build a friendship with the ox, an act which signifies the stage where the devotees discard the thoughts and behaviors acquired from the Former World where mutual conflict prevailed. At this stage, the boy exerts himself in inspired efforts to fully internalize Daesoon Truth in order to advance to the stage of complete unification and identification with Dao. The season has changed into autumn, which means that his diligence has started ripening into fruition.

5. Perfected Unification with Dao
The boy rides the white ox and quietly plays his flute. Riding on the back of the ox means that he has became one with the ox. In other words, he has reached the state of ‘self as Dao and Dao as self.' Now, the boy has cleared himself of all the forms of negative karma from the Former World, and he has finally unified himself with the Dao of Sangje, which is Daesoon Truth. He has achieved a perfect state of quiet mind and quiet body. The season in this painting is clearly autumn, which indicates that his cultivation has come into full fruition as a reward of his continual dedicated efforts.

6. The Enlightened World of Dao
At this stage, the boy has united with the white ox and finally transformed into an Earthly-Immortal. The world has changed into a beautiful and peaceful place where celestial maidens perform their melodies, the herbs of eternal youth bloom, and cranes stroll around the meadow. This symbolizes the stage where human beings are transformed into Earthly Immortals while the world has become an Earthly Paradise. This is the glorious Later World where the Daesoon Truth of Sangje has been spread throughout the whole world.