Cheonggye Pagoda represents the cosmology (cosmological view) of Daesoon Jinrihoe. The word Cheonggye (靑鷄) means ‘blue (靑) rooster (鷄)’. When 靑 (Cheong, chinese word for blue), is separated into smaller components, it have meaning of 12 months. In a year consisting of 12 months, there are four seasons, 24 seasonal subdivisions, and 72 additional subdivisions.
There is also the cycle of birth, growth, harvest, and storage throughout 12 months, wherein a cycle of creation, transformation, and fruition take place. The rooster indicates the West or Autumn in I Ching (the Book of Changes). Also, the rooster cries in the morning to awake people from sleep. Therefore, Cheonggytap Pagoda is a symbol that signifies the coming of New World of Earthly Paradise: the autumn season of the universe.
The Pagoda includes four parts: the pedestal, the lower body, the upper body, and the top. The pedestal has three layers.
The first layer includes a series of engraved pictures called Simudo. Simudo represent the cultivation process of the individual devotee to achieve the aims of Daesoon Jinrihoe (realizing Earthly Immortal and the building of Earthly Paradise). This represent Humanity World.
In the second layer, the Sashindo pictures portray the four spiritual animal deities who represent the four seasons and four directions. The four spiritual animals are the Blue dragon of the East, the White Tiger of the West, the Red Phoenix* of the South, and the Black Tortoise of the North. This symbolic animals represent Heavenly World.
In the third layer, there are the twelve deities of the Chinese zodiac (Sibijisindo), who correspond to the twelve months and twelve directions. These 12 symbolic animals represent Earthly World.
Therefore, the pedestal parts represent the Three Realms of Heaven, Earth, and Humanity.
The lower body includes three octagonal layers which have 24 faces, engraved with the twenty-four divinities who oversee the 24 seasonal divisions.
The upper body includes seven quadrangular layers which have 28 faces, engraved with the images of the twenty-eight divinities in charge of the 28 constellations. The top consists of nine round layers, representing the Ninth Heaven, the highest place in the universe and the seat of Sangje, who coordinates the whole universe from that location.
In conclusion, Cheonggytap is a monumental sculpture that shows the entire divine system of the universe consisting of Sangje, deities in charge of 24 seasons and 28 constellations, the earthly deities of 12 months, the four deities of the four directions. Therefore, it is a symbol that represent how our Dao is Divine Dao (shindo). Together with the Simudo on the first layer of the pedestal, the tower depicts Daesoon Jinrihoe disciples in their cultivation of Divine Dao.
Moreover, Cheonggytap Pagoda shows the lineage of religious orthodoxy of Daesoon Jinrihoe. First, the symbols of the tower indicates Divine Dao of Sangje. Second, the first Chinese letter of the tower’s name, 靑(cheong or qīng in Chinese) means blue, and reminds devotees of the true laws established by Doju who was born in December, the twelfth month which can be found in the smaller components which make up the Chinese character cheong. Third, Dojeon is the one who took the true laws of Doju and manifested them into this sculpture.
This pagoda was completed in April 1988 to celebrate the inauguration of Yeoju Headquarters temple complex which had been completed in October of 1986.
* Phoenix : The phoenix is a well-known sacred bird in East Asian mythology and legends. It is a symbol of auspiciousness and peace. In Daesoon Jinrihoe, its meaning is directly connected to the announcement of the coming earthly paradise. The East Asian phoenix is usually depicted in a seated posture with its wings folded. But in Daesoon Jinrihoe, the bird often has a short tail and appears more dynamically in flight with spread wings. This indicates the imminent nature of the coming earthly paradise.