Chondogyo viewed through the Core Doctrine
The core doctrine of Chondogyo is Innaecheon (人乃天). This means that human is God. This core doctrine of Chondogyo was emerged in the Era of Euiam Sungsa, the Third Great Church Leader of Chondogyo, and has continued to this day.
This Innaecheon is the core doctrine of Chondogyo determined in the era of Euiam Sungsa but it is rooted in Sicheonju (侍天主 : God exists in our body) made an avowal by Daesinsa, the First Great Church Leader of Chondogyo. Innaecheon is the word that integrates the central tenets of Chondogyo. On April 5 in the first year of Podeok (1860) through a decisive religious experience Daesinsa found enlightenment that Hanwoolnim (God), the absolute being, does not exist in any other places, but exists in our body autonomously. With this enlightenment he made Sicheonju (侍天主) the almost important tenet of his all teachings.
Therefore like as what established religions before Donghak speak, this world and the kingdom of heaven and the hell do not exist in each other different level spaces or worlds. And paradise and purgatory and hell do not exist in separate world. According to realizing or not from mind that Hanwoolnim (God) exits in body, the life becomes paradise or hell. This is just the key. And Hanwoolnim (God) does not exist in faraway transcendental space but exists in our body and spreads about in this universe. This is the teaching of Daesinsa.
The word that these teachings of Daesinsa were integrated and expressed is Sicheonju (侍天主). Therefore this word Sicheonju is the core word expressing the religious teaching of Chondogyo. This Sicheonju teaching exceed religious dimension and socially include the fundamental egalitarianism that because Hanwoolnim originally inheres in all peoples, all peoples are originally equal. Viewing the social system of Joseon dynasty that yangban (兩班 : the higher status of people) and cheonmin (賤民 : the lowest status of people) was discriminated by social status system, this teaching of Daesinsa rightly could not be otherwise revolutionary teaching. This fundamental egalitarianism exceeds the western egalitarianism that all men are forced to be equal under the law and before God. So it cannot be otherwise very spontaneous and fundamental egalitarianism opening the horizon of New World.
The thought of Sicheonju clarified by Daesinsa was expressed as Insicheon (人是天) that means ‘Human is just God’ by Haeweol Sinsa, the Second Great Church Leader of Chondogyo. Therefore this thought was developed and practiced as the social morality of Sainyeocheon (事人如天) that means to serve human as God because human is just God. So Chondogyo keeps this Sainyeocheon as a social and practical ethics together with the core doctrine of Innaecheon (人乃天). The teaching of Chondogyo that went forward from Sicheonju (侍天主) to Insicheon (人是天) and further Sainyeocheon (事人如天) morality put out Innaecheon (人乃天) saying that human is God in the era of Euiam Sungsa and this Innaecheon (人乃天) became the core doctrine of Chondogyo.
But Chondogyo does not aim at the human supremacy even if it made Innaecheon saying that human is God as the core doctrine. As human is God, nothing of all in the universe is not God too. This is just the teaching of Chondogyo. Like as Haeweol Sinsa’s saying that birdsong singing in the tree is also a sound of serving Hanwoolnim (God), Chondogyo views all things in the universe to serve Hanwoolnim (God) in their body too. So if anyone learn this teaching by experience, he meet the Haeweol Sinsa’s Samkyungsasang (三敬思想) asserting that as we ought to respect Hanwoolnim (God), we ought to respect human beings, and further we ought to respect all things in the universe.
This Samkyungsasang is another expression of Sicheonju and another expression of Innaecheon. Thus this thought of Chondogyo cannot be otherwise the thought that can exceed the harmful effect of human supremacy coming to the fore after western modernization and can unfold the life of cosmopolitan community. Innaecheon that is the core doctrine of Chondogyo is rooted in Sicheonju of Daesinsa. This thought must be important criterion of the life of cosmopolitan community that human beings are pursuing. Therefore Chondogyo can be told a religion that welcomes the new dimension era of Hucheongaebyuk (後天開闢 : the new beginning of spiritual civilization era) and pursues the life of cosmopolitan community that is human’s greatest long-cherished wish, real equality and freedom, overflow and not only human beings, human and nature and further God can live together in harmony. This is also the construction of a heaven on Earth that is the ultimate religious objective of Chondogyo.