Chondogyo Viewed Through the Tenets of the Church
On the fifth day of the fourth month of the founding year of Podeok (1860), Chondogyo? founder and first supreme leader Great Master Su-un had a defining religious experience during which the absolute God Hanulnim first gave him the rule of the heart "My mind is your mind?(osimjeukyeosim, 吾心卽汝心). That is to say, through the rule "My mind is your mind?he came to realize the truth that the absolute God or Spirit does not exist somewhere separate from us, but is enshrined within our consciousness, and by extension, our bodies. From this comes the very central religious idea ?"I serve God within me?
"I serve God within me? stated another way, conveys the meaning that God and Man share the same outlook. In other words, the absolute God Hanulnim exists not in some separate place but within us, providing us with guidance and revelation. "I serve God within me? therefore, means nothing less than that we must listen intently to the voice of God that is the true principle within us and that we must act and live in absolute accordance with it. In addition, through a life of "serving God within me?one comes to realize that God, who is the very essence of the Cosmos, is enshrined within us and that our true selves can therefore be restored to us. Thus the Great Master, through "I serve God within me?provided Chondogyo with the thought that lies at its very core. There is also the spiritual exhortation to "change your body into temperament" (isinhwanseong, 以身換性) elucidated by Revered Teacher Euiam, who carried on the work of the Great Master and Master Haeweol. It too is a teaching having origins in "I serve God within me?
Expressed in different words, this kind of "i serve God within me?that is the Great Master? teaching is the state or condition of "God and man being one?神人合一). This means the restoration to human beings of their God-given hearts and minds of Heaven originally bestowed on them when they were first brought into the universe. At the same time this speaks of a life that is not separated from one's own life, even in the minutest degree. Thus, "I serve God within me?means the restoration to human beings of the pure heart they were born with. This means that the hear'ts original essence is restored and put into practice.
The Great Master, through a defining religious experience, came to realize the principle of ? serve God within me? which he revealed to the world and which became the most important teaching of Eastern Learning. With "I serve God within me?as its foundation, Chondogyo's view of humankind is that, by serving the boundless existence that is God within me, ultimately I can become, together with the limitless Cosmos, the ?imitless I.?Further, Chondogyo's view of the Cosmos is that the universe is one vast living organism in which are subsumed all living organisms. The fundamental providence of this Cosmos is to simultaneously function both as God and as the face or countenance of God. This, therefore, is Chondogyo's view of God, which is applicable to Chondogyo values, its views on death and the hereafter, and so on.
Let us further explore Chondogyo perspectives on God, the Cosmos, human kind, death and the hereafter, and human values, basing our discussion on the principle of "I serve God within me?