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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
This stage is characterized by investigation and introspection into answers regarding ultimate concerns such as the following:
What is the meaning and nature of life?
From where do humans come prior to birth and to where do they go after they die?
What is the purpose of life?
The season depicted in the background is that of spring.

2. Finding and Following Heavenly Teachings
In this painting, the child ox herder discovers the hoofprints left behind by the white ox and points to it with his finger. Here, the hoofprints of the white ox indicate traces of the truth. Although the child ox herder has met with some glimpses of truth through the guidance of divine beings, he has yet to see the white ox that represents Daesoon Truth in its entirety and has instead only caught a glimpse of ox’s tracks that had been left in view. This is the stage of entering into the Daesoon Jinrihoe wherein one starts to learn the truth of the Supreme God (Sangje Kang Jeungsan). It is still springtime in the background.

3. Practicing Dao Diligently and Overcoming of Hardships
This title alludes to “diligently honing oneself through Dao.”
The child ox herder who followed the hoofprints has finally discovered the ox’s hindquarters. At this point, lightning strikes and thunder bellows from the sky, rain pours downward as winds rage fiercely, and both aforementioned images signify the difficulties inevitably encountered in spiritual cultivation. The child ox herder overcomes these hardships and treads a narrow mountain path in his quest for the white ox. This is the stage of understanding Daesoon Truth and the process of spiritual cultivation wherein difficulties are surmounted. The background shows the season as summer.

4. Keeping Devoting Oneself Incessantly to Dao
Finally, the child ox herder has met with the ox and now works diligently as he endeavors to achieve greater closeness with the ox. This is the process by which the child ox herder progresses towards correct understanding of Daesoon Truth, implementation of spiritual cultivation, and diligent striving towards mastering Dao. Namely, the stage depicted here is one wherein Dao practitioners engage in spiritual cultivation and strive with utmost devotion to the aim of achieving oneness with Dao. The season is changing into autumn, and this precisely reflects his hard efforts being rewarded and coming into fruition.

5. Perfected Unification with Dao
The child ox herder is in a tranquil and serene state as he rides the white ox while playing his flute. This represents both a mental state and an experientially learned mode of being which embody the realization ‘Dao is me and I am Dao,’ and this signifies that the child ox herder has arrived upon perfected union with Daesoon Truth. The season in the background is obviously autumn, and thereby indicates that his cultivation has come to the full fruition.

6. The Enlightened World of Dao
The child ox herder and white ox have become one and have thereby transformed into a single Earthly Immortal. Their surroundings have now unfolded into a beautiful and peaceful world. Immortal celestial maidens play heavenly instruments, and cranes stroll through meadows filled with the herbs of eternal youth. The stage here is that of the Later World of Earthly Paradise which has been perfected through the Daesoon Truth of Sangje. This symbolizes that humans have turned into Earthly Immortals and the world has become an Earthly Paradise.


*Earthly Immortals : Perfected and ideal human beings who have ultimately attained divine status and immortality through the spiritual cultivation of Daesoon Truth.