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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.

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*.

Spiritual Training (suryeon)

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

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

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.

Devotional Offerings

Devotional Offering (Chiseong) is a ritual ceremony which conveys one's gratitude with utmost sincerity for divine grace and for the protective actions of the Great Deities of Heaven and Earth who take care of human beings. This is an important religious ceremony which awakens disciples to their initial resolution to become purified and unselfish beings. Accordingly, they dismiss worldly thoughts and show their utmost sincerity and propriety during the ceremony.

Devotional Offerings are held on the days of Sangje and Doju's birth, the days of their passing into heaven, the day when the great deities were enshrined at Yeongdae* and on some other commemorative occasions. Most Devotional Offerings are performed at Yeoju Headquarters Temple.

*Yeongdae: the most sacred shrine on the fourth and highest floor of the main building.

  Tasting is Believing

To an uninformed onlooker, it might appear that Devotional Offerings end when devotees stand up and orderly exit the ritual space. Such an observation is understandable but inaccurate. The true end of a Devotional Offering occurs when devotees gather back together and partake in the Blessed Food collected from the altars after the ritual portion of the Devotional Offering had concluded. Whereas, the ritual itself alternates between golden silence and communal chanting, partaking in Blessed Food is a highly social and highly jovial act. Smiles and laughter fill the room as friends, families, and the entire community of devotees feast upon a cornucopia of meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, herbs, soups, pastries, and rice wine. Given that all these items were offered at the holiest site in all of Daesoon Jinrihoe, Blessed Food has been thoroughly imbued with the Highest Divine Energy.


1. Do not deceive yourself
The mind is the owner of your body. This means that since human beings are governed and controlled by their minds, all words spoken and all actions taken are expressions of one's mind. There are two dispositions of mind: conscience and selfishness. Conscience is the innate mind originally bestowed upon humankind by Heaven, whereas selfishness is the product of greed arising from one's pursuit of wealth.

In this regards, the essence of human nature can be found in the conscience. However, humans have a strong and inappropriate tendency to have one's conduct blinded by greed. One must therefore make a constant effort to recover one's own innate conscience by discarding selfishness. As all human evils stem from deceiving their minds, one must root out evil deeds by having honesty and truthfulness, which are the essences of human nature.
2. Practice virtuous speech
Words are like the sounds of the mind, and virtuous actions are the traces of a virtuous mind. Your affinity for either good or evil is usually revealed by your way of speaking. If you speak well of others, the traces of this goodness will keep growing and bring you greater fortune. If you speak ill of others, the traces of this evil will keep growing and bring you greater misfortune. Thus happiness and misery in your life inevitably depend on your way of speaking; therefore, always be mindful when speaking to others.
3. Do not provoke grievances or grudges from others
Hating others or betraying their goodwill incites grievances or grudges against you. Therefore, these negative emotions can be prevented by loving others and being gracious towards them while demonstrating the virtues of politeness, gentleness, humility, and modesty.
4. Do not disregard the beneficence bestowed upon you
Favors are the benefit that others offer to you. To disregard their favors is to forget and betray their beneficence. Thus, once you receive benefit or beneficence from others, you must reciprocate it at some later point.

You are indebted to the great divinities in Heaven and Earth for your life, lifespan, blessings, and wealth. Thus you should acknowledge and reciprocate the grace you received from them by fulfilling your duty as a human being with sincerity, respectfulness, and faithfulness. You are indebted to your nation and society for your security and comfort. Thus you should contribute to social growth and public welfare through your devotional service to your nation. You are indebted to your parents for your birth and upbringing. Thus you should practice filial piety with the ethical goal of respecting elders and returning beneficence back to the root. You are indebted to your teachers for their teachings and guidance. For this, you should reciprocate by leading a life of virtues based on their teachings. You are indebted to your employers for your livelihood, wages and job title. For this, you should reciprocate by working faithfully and diligently as an employee.
5. Promote the betterment of others
Promoting the betterment of others is the basic principle of the Great Dao of Mutual Beneficence and the fundamental concept through which the salvation of humanity will be achieved. Do not spare any effort while promoting the betterment of others. Combine your efforts with others and cooperate to accomplish your aims.

Ethical Rules

1. You should obey national laws and observe moral standards for the benefit of your country and happiness of the citizenry.
2. The Three Bonds and Five Relationships* ' are the requisite moral foundations that enable harmonious relationships and sustain order in society.
Therefore, you should put the followings into practice:
Maintain filial piety toward your parents. Perform devoted service for your nation. Create a peaceful family by achieving harmony in your marriage. Show respect to your superiors and show love and sympathy to your subordinates. Be trustworthy to your friends.

*The Three Bonds and Five Relationships : in Confucianism, these are referred to as essential values for smooth human relationships through which a harmonious society and nation can be realized.

3. 'Do not deceive yourself' is the golden rule for disciples. Therefore, do not deceive your conscience, mislead the public with inappropriate words and actions, or engage in any unethical actions..

4. Do not cause others to hold any grievance or grudge against you on account of your words and deeds. Win goodwill through great kindness. Do not be bothered even if others are unaware of your virtues.

5. Improve yourself with constant reflection upon any excess or insufficiency in your words and actions.
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