CHEONDOISM (spelled CHONDOISM in North Korean sources ) (Korean :
Cheondogyo; hanja 天道教; hangul 천도교; literally "
the Heavenly Way") is a 20th-century Korean religious movement, based
on the 19th-century
Confucian movement founded by Choe
Je-u and codified under
Son Byeong-hui .
Cheondoism has its origins
in the peasant rebellions which arose starting in 1812 during the
Joseon dynasty .
Cheondoism is essentially
Confucian in origin, but incorporates
Korean shamanism . It places emphasis on personal
cultivation, social welfare in the present world, and rejects any
notion of an afterlife. A splinter movement is
* 1 Beliefs
* 2 History
* 4 See also
* 5 References
* 6 Sources
* 7 External links
Cheondogyo translated literally means "religion of the Heavenly Way",
where cheon means "Heaven", do means "Way" (written with the same
character as Chinese
Tao ), and gyo means "religion", "teaching",
In keeping with its roots in
Heaven as the ultimate principle of good and justice, and is referred
to by the honorific term
Haneullim (하늘님) or “Divine Master”.
According to the church doctrine, the term "Hanul" does not only mean
Heaven but represents the whole universe. This title implies the
quality of Heaven as "instructor", that is a belief that man and
things are not created by a supernatural (out of nature) God, but
generated by a
God that is inner in things. Also in keeping with its
Cheondoism places emphasis on personal
cultivation in the belief that as one improves their innate nature,
one comes closer to Heaven, and that all things are the same as Heaven
in terms of their innate quality.
Cheondoism is agnostic regarding the notion of an afterlife,
and instead works to create a paradise on earth through peace, moral
Confucian propriety, while reforming society and overcoming
old, outdated customs in Korean society.
Cheondoism has also adapted elements of other Korean
religious traditions including
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Cheondoism originated from the
Donghak ("Eastern Learning"), a
Confucian movement that arose in the 19th century as a reaction to
Western encroachment. While the
Donghak movement began with Confucian
scholar Choe Jeu, it did not become a religious movement until the 3rd
patriarch, Son Byeong-hui.
Choe Jeu formulated the
Donghak ideology in the 1860s to help ease
the lot of the farmers suffering from abject poverty and exploitation,
as well as to restore political and social stability. His ideas
rapidly gained broad acceptance among the peasantry. Choe set his
Donghak themes to music so that illiterate farmers could understand,
accept, and remember them more readily. His teachings were
systematized and compiled as a message of salvation to farmers in
Cheondoism as a religion evolved in the early 1900s from the Donghak
peasant liberation movements in the southern provinces of Korea.
Donghak were severely persecuted by the
Korean Empire , and
so, on December 1, 1905, Son Byeong-hui, who was the third patriarch
of the original
Donghak movement, decided to modernize the religion
and usher in an era of openness and transparency in order to
legitimize it in the eyes of the Japanese . As a result, he officially
changed the name of
Cheondoism ("religion of the Heavenly
Way"). During the waning days of the
Joseon Dynasty, King Gojong
Cheondoism and promoted it nationwide. The King added
Buddhist rituals and codices to the new religion, which was organized
into a formal organizational hierarchy.
As of 2005,
Cheondoism had about 1.13 million followers and 280
churches in South Korea. Very little is known of the activities of
Cheondoists in North Korea. According to official statistics,
Cheondoism had 2.8 million adherents in
North Korea (12.9% of the
total population) as of 2000. Cheondoists are represented in North
Korean politics by the minor
Cheondoist Chongu Party (which is
actually controlled by the Workers\' Party of
Donghak Peasant Revolution
* ^ "Anniversary of Chondoism Observed, KCNA". Retrieved
* ^ A B C D Yao, Xinzhong (2000). An Introduction to Confucianism.
Cambridge University Press. pp. 121–122. ISBN 0521644305 .
* ^ Lee Chi-ran, p.3 & p. 16
* ^ Lee Chi-ran, pp. 16-20
* ^ , 천도교개관(영문)-천도교
* ^ Lee Chi-ran, p. 16
* ^ 韓國 近代宗敎의 三敎融合과 生命·靈性 -
원불교사상연구원 Archived December 25, 2014, at the Wayback
* ^ "Consulate General of the Republic of
Korea in Toronto".
Archived from the original on 2012-09-07. Retrieved 2012-06-23.
* ^ North Korea
This article incorporates text from
Korea Web Weekly. Used with
Korea Web Weekly is not an independent source of
information but is instead associated with various North Korea
* Lee Chi-ran. Chief Director, Haedong Younghan Academy. The
Emergence of National Religions in Korea.