Park, Chung-bin (1891-1943), better known as Sotaesan, was born the son of peasants on May 5, 1891 in Korea. Sotaesan’s path of the awakening to the truth started with his asking universal questions about nature and human life, such as “Why do clouds and winds arise from the calm and clear sky?” or “Why are wives and husbands in such a close relationship?”
At the age of 26 on April 28, 1916, he attained enlightenment after twenty years of seeking the truth and declared:
“All things are of a single body and nature; all dharmas are of a single root source. In this regard, the Way (Tao) that is free from arising nor ceasing and the principle of the retribution and response of cause and effect, being mutually grounded on each other, have formed a clear and rounded framework.”
He offered visions and hopes for a future society of popularized Buddhist practice and living, and he made efforts for practical application, popularization, and modernization of Buddha Dharma under the founding motto: “As material civilization develops, cultivate spiritual civilization accordingly.”
As the spiritual leader of Won Buddhism for 28 years, including the dark period of World War II, he built a strong spiritual and material foundation of Won Buddhism from the three main undertakings of the order: edification, education, and charity.
He lived as an enlightened sage and completed the basic doctrine of Il Won Sang, the Dharmakaya Buddha, the Fourfold Grace, and The Threefold Study.
On June 1, 1943, he entered into Nirvana at the age of 53 after he transmitted the verse of Truth to his disciples:
“Being into nonbeing and nonbeing into being, Turning and turning— in the ultimate, Being and nonbeing are both void, yet this void is also complete.”