Original Article

Jin-gyeong and Sin-ingan: The Prophecy of the Later World in The Canonical Scripture of Daesoon Jinrihoe

David W. KIM 1 , * https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7317-8617
Author Information & Copyright
1Australian National University, Australia
*Corresponding Author : david.kim@anu.edu.au

David W. KIM (PhD, Sydney) is an Associate Professor of Asian History at the College of General Education, Kookmin University, Seoul and an Honorary Lecturer at the School of History, Australian National University, Canberra. He is a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society, UK and is the Editor of Studies in Modern East Asian Religion and Culture (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, UK). Kim’s publications include Sacred Sites and Sacred Stories Across Cultures: Transmission of Oral Tradition, Myth, and Religiosity (2021), The Words of Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas: The Genesis of a Wisdom Tradition (2021), Daesoon Jinrihoe in Modern Korea: The Emergence, Transformation, and Transmission of a New Religion (2020), New Religious Movements in Modern Asian History: Sociocultural Alternatives (2020), Colonial Transformation and Asian Religions in Modern History (2018).

ⓒ Copyright 2021 The Daesoon Academy of Sciences. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: Dec 31, 2020; Revised: Aug 31, 2021; Accepted: Sep 20, 2021

Published Online: Sep 30, 2021


The core tenets of Daesoon Jinrihoe in Jeungsanism are encapsulated in the teachings of Eumyang-hapdeok (陰陽合德, Virtuous Concordance of Yin and Yang), Shinin-johwa (神人調化, Harmonious Union between Divine Beings and Human Beings), Haewonsangsaeng (解冤相生, Resolution of Grievances for Mutual Beneficence) and Dotongjingyeong (道通眞境, Perfected Unification with Dao). Among them, the first three teachings eventually turn towards the prophetic thought of Dotong-jingyeong, which is the process of man becoming a divine figure. While these principles are considered crucial advice for overcoming an unstable life, there are many curious questions that help for better comprehension. What is the reality of Jin-gyeong (眞境) for their followers? How can one reach the ultimate stage under this belief system? Is this ideological concept different from similar perspectives of other major religions? How is this concept related to the idea of Jisang-cheonguk (地上天國, earthly paradise)? This paper analyses these issues of Jin-gyeong from the historical and social narratives of Haengnok (行錄, Acts), Gongsa (公事, Reordering Works), Gyoun (敎運, Progress of the Order), Gyobeop (敎法, Dharma), Gwonji (權智, Authority and Foreknowledge) and Yesi (豫示, Prophetic Elucidations) in The canonical scripture of Jeon-gyeong and also from the ontological approaches of East Asian faiths in order to identify alternative notions of Daesoon cosmology. The paper, based on the sayings of Kang Jeungsan, particularly his philosophy of the Later World, argues the insight that the Jin-gyeong world can be interpreted as created through the Cheonji-gongsa (天地公事, Reordering Works of Heaven and Earth) project in terms of Gaebyeok (開闢, Great Opening) and the earthly paradise as open only for those who achieve the condition of Sin-ingan (新人間, literally means ‘new humans’ but symbolizing ‘being a human-god’) by the personal cultivation of Dotong (道通, the unity with Dao).

Keywords: jin-gyeong; daesoon; Jeon-gyeong; gaebyeok; Reordering Works of Heaven and Earth


Every religion has creative revelation, doctrine and method of achievement. For the blueprint of a utopian society, Neo-Confucianism generally focuses on Daedongsahoe (大同社會), a society with no private property, no family relationships, and no certain authorities. Mahayana Buddhism describes the popular worlds of Geungnak (極 樂, the Pure Land), Yeolban (涅槃, Nirvāṇa), Seongbul (成佛, buddhahood), and Yonghwasegye (龍華世界, Tuṣita Heaven) as places people desire or expect to go after death. The teachings of Christianity, likewise, provide the opportunity to go to heaven through believing in Jesus, the Son of God, after death, or at his second coming (再 臨, Jaerim). The concepts of fairylands (仙境, Seon-gyeong, ‘realm of immortals’), Sinseonhapdo (神仙合道, the united world of deities), Cheoninhabil (天人合一, the harmonious ideology of heaven and human, Yoo 1998, 465-477), Dongcheonbokji (洞天福地, the land of deities surrounded by ideal mountains and rivers), and Sogukgwamin (小國寡民, a small popularity in a small nation representing Lao’s philosophy of antiwar, peace, humble life, and submissive to nature) are applied in Taoism (Lee GW 1998, 31-32; Kim HC 1998, 60-82). In Islam, the term, ‘Jannah جَنّة’ is used to explain the most beautiful world, unlike this materialistic world. To be a person of Jannah, individual Muslims are encouraged to perform two activities; keeping the faith and practicing it in life (Kim JD 2016, 253-284). Further, the Korean new religious movements of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries not only challenged the fundamental mentality of these traditional religions as well as shamanism and folk religions but also introduced a new aspect of utopian space which attracted the minds of ordinary people who were experiencing socio-political insecurity in the colonial era. The vision of an alternative space was commonly found in the notion of a ‘present heaven’ that could be unveiled at the present time, rather than a place in the future. This ideological approach convinced many people who desperately searched for new religio-philosophical confidence.

Among these new religions was Donghak (東學, ‘Eastern Learning’), founded by Suwun Choe Je-u (水雲 崔濟愚, 1824-1864) in 1860, which arose as a reaction to Seohak (西學, ‘Western Learning’). It originated as a reform movement and revival of Confucian teachings, but gradually taught the theory of returning to the ‘Way of Heaven (天道).’ Believers venerated Cheon (天, Heaven) as the ultimate principle of good and justice, referring it with the honorific term Haneolnim (하늘님), or ‘Divine Master.’ The term Haneol (하늘) does not only mean heaven but also indicates the whole universe. The founder argued the Innaecheon (人乃天, human is God) and thought that heaven is within one’s own mind [=Sicheonju (侍天主, God exists in human body)] and that one can attain it by improving one’s nature (Young 2014). They did not have to wait until death for heaven. Daejonggyo (大倧敎) follows a shamanistic tradition related to the ancient history of Korea. The adherents sustain that Daejonggyo is a ‘religion of the God-Human Being’ (檀君天祖神, Dan-gun Hanbaegeom) (An BR 2006, 173-178).1 As the subject of worship is the same with Donghak, Haneol (‘Heavenly God’), or Haneolnim (‘Heavenly King’), they keep the thought that when human beings are born, they naturally possess the heavenly character of Haneol (Won WJ 2001, 31-50). However, since they lose it as they live on earth, they need to recover their divine character in order to return to Haneol (Kang DK and Ko BC 2002, 171-196). The two methods of Sambeop-suhaeng (三法修行, Three Principles of Cultivation) and Doksongsuhaeng (讀誦修行, Reading Cultivation) are designed to help them. They believe that if people complete Seongtong-gongwan (性通功完), they can sit next to God, and above the position of saints (An BR 2006, 190-194). They then revert themselves into the form of a divine figure and unite with their God (Lee CH 2017, 7-37).2

Daejonggyo supports the view that if any devotee satisfactorily performs the cultivation of Sambeop-suhaeng, they will eventually reach Cheongung (天宮, the heavenly palace) which is taught as being both in the future heaven and on the present earth. Daejonggyo divides the concept of the heavenly palace into three dimensions: heaven, earth, and human (Lee CH 2017, 7-22). The earthly palace indicates Mount Baekdu (near the border with China), while the body of a human is the human palace, and the head bone of humans is recognized as the heavenly palace (Lee CH 2017, 23-37). This doctrine teaches that if one transforms their body and world into the heavenly palace, s/he would eternally enjoy it after death (Lee CH 2018, 101-122).

Similarly, Won Buddhism (圓佛敎) teaches that the human mind is none other than that of heaven; hence, if one’s mind is concentrated and completely devoid of selfishness, its virtues will become as one with the virtues of heaven and earth (Park KS 2010, 1-41). Therefore, they consider that the mind of each person possesses an element that can move the will of heaven. They incorporate several different schools of Buddhist thought into their doctrine and daily practice, such as practicing meditation (samādhi), studying scriptures (prajñā), and applying various precepts (śīla) (Chung BK 1988, 425-448). Pak Chungbin (朴重彬, 1891–1943, aka Sotaesan) introduced the concept of ‘the Fourfold Grace,’ in which the Grace of Heaven and Earth includes the nature of air, ground, sun, moon, wind, clouds, rain, dew, and so on. The members are instructed to pray to heaven and earth with single-mindedness and utmost sincerity, for their attitude may inspire the will of heaven. Given this similarity, how is Daesoon Jinrihoe unique in comparison with the current heavenly descriptions of other Korean NRMs? How do they perceive the concept of a utopian society? Why, when, and how was it (re-) created? What does their canon, The Canonical Scripture (典經, Jeon-gyeong) imply in regards to this?

Concept of Gaebyeok (Great Opening)

Daesoon Jinrihoe proposes ‘the Jin-gyeong (眞境) world’ as the best world. It is interpreted as Jisang-cheonguk (地上天國, the early paradise) instead of a space after death. They, like other Korean new religions, adopted the concept of Gaebyeok (開闢, Great Opening) thought in which the universe is divided into two forms of Seoncheon (先天, Former World, or ‘an apriority’) and Hucheon (後天, Later World, or ‘a posterior’) (Ro KM. 2009, 83-114). According to Hyang-Ok Jeong (2016, 151-177), the mystical term, the abbreviation of ‘Cheongae Jibyeok (天開地闢),’ was initially recorded in Chinese literature, such as in Sima Qian (司馬遷)’s Shiji (史記, Records of the Grand Historian, BC 91) and Houhanshu (後漢書, 5th Century Book of the Later Han). For Korea, Iryeon (一然, 1206-1289), a monk of the late Goryeo dynasty (918-1392) used it in the book of Samgukyusa (三國遺事) in 1281 (Ha JY 2006, 371). The root of Gaebyeok thought is asserted as an ascetic practice in ancient and medieval times (Jeong HO 2016, 151-177).

In the modern era, Suwun Choe Je-u adopted the term in the book of Yongdamyusa (龍潭遺詞) in which the word has two meanings, ‘the first opening of the past’ and ‘Gaebyeok Again: the opening of the future’ (Jeong HO 2016, 156-157). Pak Chungbin taught about Jeongsin Gaebyeok (精神開闢, ‘Great Opening of spirit’) through which people experience unity with truth. On the other hand, Daesoon publicized the Haewon-sangsaeng Gaebyeok (解寃相生開闢) (Jeong HO 2016, 153). This unique promotion was performed during Kang Jeungsan’s (姜甑山 Kang Il-sun, 1871-1909) nine-year campaign, called “Cheonji-gongsa (天地公事, Reordering Works of Heaven and Earth )” which was an operation said to advocate harmony between the human world and divine world: “Presiding over the Three Realms with great power, I will recalibrate the Degree Number of the Former World and open the destined pathway to limitless divine immortality in the Later World to establish a paradise (Reordering Works 1: 2).”3 Kang emphasized the Cheonji-gongsa in the processes of Haewon (解 冤, Resolution of Grievances), Sangsaeng (相生, Mutual Beneficence), and Johwa (造 化, harmony), in order to establish the earthly paradise (Yang MM 2009, 230-236). The details of Cheonji-gongsa are seen in the claim that he re-organized the principle of the universe which was previously chaotic. Their God revenged deeds for positive coexistence and established a harmonious government to peacefully rule the reformed universe (Ko NS 1998, 645-647).4

The Daesoon philosophy was developed as Segye-Gaebyeok (世界開闢, Re-creation of the World), a transformational period. The creation of the earthly paradise brings a division between honest and dishonest people (Kim BR 2009, 286-288; Lee GW 2010; Jang JJ 2011). It is a moment where one understands justice and injustice. Like the time of harvest, honest people receive happiness and prosperity with a long life, while dishonest people collapse without a future (DIRC 1994; Kim HG 2004; Baker 2008).5Lee GW (1998, 2012a) interprets the condition of the Former World (先天, Seoncheon) and the Later World (後天, Hucheon) in the perspective that the scope of the Former World is small and simple, but the formation of the Later World is big and complicated, and as such, they have to use various Daos (principles of the universe) to prevent conflicts and disorder.6 According to Daesoon, the Later World Gaebyeok (後 天開闢) was presumed to begin in 1901 when their God launched the work of Cheonjigongsa (天地公事). It was then completed in 1909 (before his mystical death), but not everyone was able to live there yet, for human beings were also required to transform themselves first (Jeong DJ 1998, 14-19; Ro KM 2009, 92-93).

To do this, Daesoon Jinrihoe mentions the condition of Ingangaejo (人間改造, Renovation of human beings) where people cultivate themselves through the training process of Sudo (修道, Cultivation) (Sin CK 2009, 305). The training of the heart is a significant part of Ingangaejo (Ryoo JK 2009, 114-156).7 The Progress of the Order (1:34) supports the view of internal training: “I (Sangje) will enlighten anyone’s mind, in accordance with his or her own cultivation.” The Gaebyeok of mind, like the single-mindedness of Won Buddhism, is seen as a necessary effort people should enact for self-cultivation, as they believe that when the mind and thought of humans are joined together, there is much energy raised. They indicate that the transformation of human beings is possible through the personal achievement of the Dotong stage (道通, the unity with Dao).

Method of ‘Dotong’

The method of Dotong (道通, the unity with Dao) is introduced in the context of reading the Sutra of the Seven Stars (七星經) and Great Learning (大學) as well as memorising spells (呪文讀誦) and the preface to The Commentaries on the Book of Documents (書傳序文, Sin CK 2009, 167-169): “Go back home and use the fan as you recite the Sutra of the Seven Stars up to the part where the stars Mugok and Pagun are written and then recite The Great Learning as well. Then you will be well-versed in Dao” (Authority and Foreknowledge 1). In this regard, the single-mindedness of ‘Dotong (道通, the unity with Dao)’ is understood as the condition of harmony between heaven, humans, and earth. The human who reaches this stage can realize the principles of the universe with their highest personality (Yang MM 2009, 27-28).8

Furthermore, Nam-Sik Ko refers to Dotong in that human beings train their mind in relationship with Sangje, Daedumok (great head of each religious God), and deities. The various kinds of deities appear to them as the result of the effort they put into Dotong (Ko NS 1998, 640-648).9 He also describes that Dotong has different grades, as not everybody is at the same level. Each person who reaches the stage of unity with Dao can gain distinctive abilities through their achievement (Kim D 2014, 277-278).10 The Dotong man (道通人, 도통인, the human united with Dao), reflected in the teaching of Sinin-johwa (神人調化), can communicate with the will of the deities, and achieve their personal desire, or wish (Park SS 2009, 550-554). The Dotong man understands the primary principle of the change in the universe. He/she can also live the perfect life of morality as a sage. The practical process of Sudo (修道, spiritual cultivation) transforms human beings into the condition of Dotong (道通, the unity with Dao) (Park SS 2009, 555-557). The key point of Sudo, as mentioned, is control of the mind:

心也者鬼神之樞機也門戶也道路也 開閉樞機出入門戶往來道路神 或有善或有惡 善者師之惡者改之 吾心之樞機門戶道路大於天地

The mind is a pivot, gate, and gateway for gods; They, who turn the pivot, open, and close the gate, and go back and forth through the gateway, can be either good or evil. Instruct that which is good and rectify that which is evil. The pivot, gate, and gateway of my mind is more enormous than Heaven and Earth (Acts 3: 44).

Daesoon’s mind is described as ‘one mind,’ ‘divine mind,’ and ‘undoubtful faith’ (Jo TR 2009, 269-278). The methods devotees adopt to become the Dotong man are the individual and group activities of Suryeon (修鍊, spiritual training), Gido (祈 禱, prayer), and Gongbu (工夫, holy works). While the Daejonggyo’s of Sambeopsuhaeng and Doksong-suhaeng are more individual, Daesoon contains a communal concept of individuality in relation to ‘the unity of minds.’ This means that followers regularly practice together, but the result is based on personal achievement. Among them, Suryeon is the internal action of cleaning one’s heart and character. The ritual takes place anywhere that is clean and quiet. In particular, the training rooms of the Yeoju Headquarters, Hoegwans (會館, fellowship buildings), and Podeoksos (布德 所, propagation centres), as well as follower’s home, are recommended (DIRC 2010). When a person begins Suryeon, s/he memorises a jumun (呪文, spell) at a certain time and then repeats the Kidoju (祈禱呪, Gido incantation) or the Taeeulju (太乙呪, Taeeul mantra) (Kim BR 2009, 88-90). They should repeat the spells with hypogastric breathing. During this time, their mind needs to be focused on worshipping their god, Kang Jeungsan (Jang JJ 2011; Daesoon Jinrihoe 2006, 251-261). The steady position of the wave of the mind without a high and low pitch is called Beopjwa (法坐). The followers accept that Beopjwa is the condition where soul and spirit are united (Cha SK 2011a, 156-67).11

Gido (祈禱, prayer) is not related to Suryeon, but also part of Sudo (Sin 2009, 305). As the Daesoon religion considers the action of Gido to be the method by which gods and human beings can communicate, they focus on listening to the voice of their God Sangje (DIRC 1994). The short-term Gido is calling the names of their gods. As they call the divine names, the practitioners pursue the ultimate wisdom and achieve the completion of the self (Daesoon Bulletin 4 1986, 2, 14). Gido is divided into daily prayer (平日祈禱) and weekly prayer (主日祈禱), which is done every five days (Cha SK 2011a; Kang DK 2013; Kim DK 2020).12Gongbu (工夫, holy works) is a special ritual activity that takes place every day at the Yeoju Headquarters Temple Complex. During the Gongbu time, a team of thirty-six participants take turns in chanting their incantations (jumun 呪文) in specially designed rooms. As the spiritual cultivation is performed to open up the coming ‘Earthly Paradise (後天世界),’ the Gongbu team recite certain incantations in a specified way for twenty-four hours without a break (Jang JJ 2011; Yoon JK 1996, 107-125).13 The public Gongbu is divided into the Sihak Gongbu (侍學工夫) and the Sibeop Gongbu (侍法工夫), which are different ways to chant incantations (Daesoon Bulletin 4 1986). As a result of achieving such processes of Sudo (修道, spiritual cultivation), they sustain transformation into the ultimate stage of Sin-ingan (新人間, literally means ‘new humans’ but symbolizing ‘being a human-god’), like Daejonggyo’s condition of Seongtong-gongwan (Jeong 1998, 14-19).14 They get this supernatural ability according to their canon in that they not only master astrology and geomancy, but also are highly proficient in human affairs (Lee GW 2012a, 138-143): “Since old times, there have been those who have mastered astrology and those who have mastered geomancy. However, no one who has mastered human affairs, but one shall appear” (Dharma 3: 31).

Process of Sin-ingan (Human-God)

Kang Jeungsan taught that the status of ‘Dotong (道通, the unity with Dao)’ equalises with the presence of ‘Jin-gyeong (眞境).’ The stage of Sin-ingan (新人間, human-god) is seen as a unity period with Dao in the earthly paradise, Jin-gyeong (Lee GW 1998). Here, Daejonggyo teaches that humans previously had the figure of ‘God-Human Beings (檀君天祖神),’ but the Daesoon human never had such a divine character. The process of becoming Sin-ingan is well depicted in the illustration of Simudo (尋牛圖, Ox-seeking Pictures) (Kim D 2020). The painting series symbolizes one’s journey towards spiritual enlightenment using the metaphor of a boy finding a white ox, but the number of pictures, in a notion of receptive syncretism, has been reduced to six, instead of the ten pictures of Buddhism or the eight pictures of Daoism (Kang DK 2013, 145-175). The boy is seen as the disciple and the ox is the animal associated with December (the twelfth month of the lunar calendar) in the Chinese zodiac (Baker 2008). The number twelve is suggestive of Dao itself as it includes a full cycle of creation and transformation in nature (Mun 1997). In other words, the white ox connotes the Daesoon Truth (Dao) which their God unfolded into this world (Hwang JY 2009, 88-90).15

The first painting (called, Simsim-youo, 深深有悟, deep contemplation leading to awakening) shows a boy (= a disciple) who is in a deep state of contemplation under a pine tree where he asks philosophical questions such as ‘What is life?’, ‘Where did I come from? ‘, and ‘After death, where do I go? (Kim NW et al 2007; AADJ 2016) ‘ The boy, who grew weary of the ways of secular life, has come to the point of seeking the reason for human existence (DIRC, 1994; Kim YJ and Yun JK 2015, 53-82).16 The second painting (Bongdeuk-singyo, 奉得神敎, finding and following heavenly teachings) reflects the stage where, in accordance with his destiny (or karmic affinity), the boy is introduced to the Daesoon Truth of Kang Jeungsan. As the boy points his finger in a direction, the path he shall undergo has been determined. The boy of Bongdeuk-singyo discovers footprints left behind by the white ox (Kim Tack 2006). These prints imply the guidance of divine beings who lead devotees to Dao (Daesoon Jinrihoe 2006, 251-261). The stepping-stones in the creek represent the support of ancestors who have accumulated virtuous deeds in heaven for ages as well as the care given by spiritual mentors who lead devotees along the right path in their cultivation process (Baker 2008). Even though the boy has not fully acknowledged these benefits received from others and has not yet grasped the truth, he feels inspired to progress in his search (Cha SK 2011a, 156-67).17

The boy catches a glimpse of the white ox, but only its hindquarters. This means that in the stage of Myeoni-suji (勉而修之, practising Dao diligently and overcoming hardships), he carries out what he has learned as theory and puts personal knowledge into practice (Mun 1997). However, he has yet to awaken to Dao. Furthermore, he faces lightning, rainstorms, and a steep cliff. This, according to Daesoon, is when devotees encounter environmental problems and difficulties and try to overcome them (Kim T 2011, 251-283; Hwang JY 2009, 88-90). Although the boy knows well that there will be many obstacles ahead of him, such as bumpy roads, steep cliffs, and bad weather, he still refuses to be deterred (DIRC 1994). This stage is where Dotong devotees push themselves forward diligently towards spiritual enlightenment and overcome hardships inevitably encountered during their cultivation (Kang DK, 145-175).18 The boy finally encounters the white ox and pats it affectionately. The boy has safely crossed the steep valley and the sky has cleared up (Cha SK 2013, 99-156). This Seongji-useong condition (誠之又誠, keep devoting oneself incessantly to Dao) is the time to build a friendship with the white ox, an act which signifies the stage where devotees discard the thoughts and behaviors acquired from the former world (Baker 2008). At this stage, the boy exerts himself in inspired efforts to fully internalize Daesoon teachings in order to advance to the stage of complete unification and identification with Dao (Hwang JY 2009, 88-90; Daesoon Jinrihoe 2006, 251-261).19

Figure 1. The Picture for Dotong-jingyeong
Download Original Figure

The boy then rides the white ox and quietly plays his flute in the scene of Dotongjingyeong (道通眞境, perfected unification with Dao). Riding on the back of the white ox reflects that he has become one with the ox (Kim SN 2013, 28-40). In the Korean religion, he (as a devotee) has reached the state of the ‘self as Dao and Dao as self.’ The boy has finally unified himself with the Dao of the Daesoon God (AADDJ 2016). He has achieved the perfect condition of a quiet mind (安心) and a quiet body (安身). The Dotong-jingyeong season in this painting reminds viewers that his cultivation has come to full fruition as a reward for his dedicated efforts (DIRC, 1994). As the final stage of Doji-tongmyeong (道之通明, the later world of earthly paradise), the boy who is united with the white ox has turned into an Earthly-Immortal. The world has changed into a place where heavenly female fairies are playing music, the herbs of eternal youth are blooming, and cranes are flying around the meadow (Kim YG and Yun JK 2015, 53-82). This part of the Simudo series implies the stage where Dotong men are transformed into earthly immortals while the world has become an earthly paradise (Ro KM 2009; Kang DK 2013).20

Morphology of Jin-gyeong

Daesoon Jin-gyeong (大巡眞境, Daesoon earthly paradise) denotes a world where human beings and all creatures can enjoy the condition of permanent happiness, while the narrative of heavenly life is dull in the teachings of Donghak, Daejonggyo, and Won Buddhism. Conflicts, irregular environments, and illegal actions are all recovered to the stage of an ideal formation (Park SS 1998). The worlds of heaven, humans, and earth function well according to the foundation of Dao, depicted in the teaching of Eumyanghapdeok (陰陽合德) (Choi DH 1998, 45-57). The term Jin-gyeong (眞境) is thought to be uniquely created by Jo Jeongsan (趙鼎山, 1895~1958), the second leader of Daesoon Jinrihoe among sects of the Jeungsan movements (Kim BR 2009). However, there are hypotheses of the actual identity. Sin, Chul Kyun (2009) attempts to view the process of Jin-gyeong as the age of respecting human beings firstly comes. The speedy age of the universe is the second stage in the peaceful formation of the Western world. The scholar (Sin) then sees human beings live a long life without diseases by medical success. The age of paradise will come with a high level of technology in civilized life as well as in the natural environment. The condition of paradise will be developed by means of LLET (Life-Longing Engineering Technology).21 The ultimate Jin-gyeong will be completed by the reconciliation of religions and the unification of ideologies. Kwang Soo Park (2009) also approaches the concept of Jin-gyeong from the perspective of time and space, in that the world of Jin-gyeong can be brought in accordance with the universal time frame of the righteous Yin and the righteous Yang. The space of Jin-gyeong (眞境) is divided into nine heavens but they will be located in the human world (Kim JT 1998, 680-695). The harmony between material civilization and mental civilisation is also mentioned by Park. Further, he points out the significant relationship between Kang Jeungsan and human beings in the notion that Sangje (‘Supreme God of the Ninth Heaven’) is the master planner of human salvation (Park KS 2009 205-220).

If then, how does The canonical scripture of Jin-gyeong draw the picture of Jingyeong (眞境)? The image overall depicts as the pattern of a natural universe, a high and opulent lifestyle of the material world, the residence of Sin-ingan (新人間, human-god), the unity of all ideologies, moral society, and divine civilization (Lee GW 2013, 173-176). The general meaning of ‘Jin-gyeong’ is a clean and beautiful land where deities dwell, and the ideological world represents the perfect place where there is no necessity for correcting or fixing the environment. Further, the ‘Gyeong 境’ of Jingyeong demonstrates a world where Sin-ingan and deities co-exist (Lee GW 1998, 62-68). In the Daesoon Jinrihoe context, Sangje often has a negative view of traditional Eastern things, while the Western civilization of technology is positively considered (Choi DH 1998, 79). His saying that Western civilization resembled the Later World also support this depiction of perfect heaven: “Sangje said he was right, adding that ‘Their machines have been modeled after those in Heaven.’”22 In terms of weather, Jin-gyeong is neither hot nor cold but always has the mild temperature of a warm climate. The soil of the land is fertile, not barren. The land keeps green regardless of the season of the year. The easy daily life is narrated in the following metaphorical statement (Yang MM 2009, 32-34):

In the upcoming good world, it shall be possible to cook rice without making a fire and to farm without touching the soil. And a light tower shall be set up at every Dao empoweree’s house, brightening the whole village like sunlight. Today’s electric lamps are just prototypes. Doorknobs and clothes racks shall be made of gold and golden shoes shall be worn (Reordering Works 1: 31).

The environment of Jin-gyeong is described as a world free from fire, floods, or destructive winds. In scripture this appears as “… The three disasters which resulted from water, fire, and wind shall disappear from the world” (Prophetic Elucidations 81). Social policy is controlled by Sin-ingan (新人間, human-god) rather than by divine sages (Jeong DJ 1998, 16-17; Lee GW 2012b, 177-203).23 This term is also interpreted as the Hucheon-Seongyeong (後天仙境, the Later World’s paradisiacal land of immortals) which has all the necessary components of the utopian world in the present era with the harmony of God, humans, and earth. Further, world religions will be cooperative (Jo TR 1998, 290-291). The current languages of all human beings (of which there are 2,796) will be unified to bring peace among diverse ethnic groups. There is no certain information about what it is exactly, but this Korean new religion mentions a new unified language that one does not need to study in order to speak (Jo TR 1998, 288-289).24 There will be political stability as global politicians develop noble personalities. They will keep moral principles, catholicity, and integrity. Even the economic balance is also included in the concept of the Daesoon scripture (Jo TR 1998, 295-296). The Korean peninsula is presumed to be the center of this new universe (Sin CK 2009, 188-190). For this reason, the Daesoon God has departed to the West to bring subordinated gods to make Korea the most superior nation in the world (Kim JT 1998, 683-686).25 The Geumgang Mountain in Korea (currently located in North Korea) is pointed to as the center of the Later World (Prophetic Elucidations 45).26 Another story of 3000 nations around Korea is also applied in the canon: “The solutions of saving three-thousand nations belong to South Joseon (Korea)…”27

How long will the Jin-gyeong world last? Daesoon indicates a time of 50,000 years.28 They also teach that the Jin-gyeong world offers the best condition for all animals and plants.29 However, there will be no creatures that are harmful for human beings (tigers, leopards, coyotes, wolves, mosquitoes, lice, fleas, and bedbugs).30 The condition of Sin-ingan (新人間, human-god) will be like a young statue and live forever without worry about food and dress (Lee GW 1998, 714-720).31 As Sin-ingans are treated equally regardless of social level, education, authority, and wealth (Yang 1998, 240-242), they will not only be respected with honor and glory32 but also gain more energy.33 Women, who personally cultivate themselves to be Sin-ingan, recover the same rights as males. The Dharma of The Canonical Scripture predicts that the Jin-gyeong era will be the time Yin is revealed, for women is the symbol of Yin (Park KS 2009, 216-217): “a woman’s accomplishments shall also be acknowledged depending on her cultivation. Because of this, the custom of the predominance of men over women … shall be abolished” (Dharma 1: 68).

Remarriage is continuously permitted if young widow remarries a young widower and if an old widow meets to an old widower.34 The population of Sin-ingan (新人 間) (or of the Later World) is said to be 12,000 which is the metaphorical expression of a small number of people. Daesoon promotes the abstract view that the earthly paradise will be achieved by 12,000 Dotonggunja (道通君子, sages empowered by the Dao) who completed the sacred meditation of Dotong. Among them, this new religion argues that there will be more women than men (Park KS 2009, 213-214).35 The issue of minority rights is solved in the era in that the weak, sick, humble, and foolish people of society will gain their rights with fair treatment in terms of human value and dignity.36Jin-gyeong is presented as having two social classes, even though the identity and character of them (possibly Dotonggunja and commoners) are still controversial.37 The multi-ethnic formation of the Former World is transformed into a one-family society, reducing great conflicts from different thoughts and backgrounds.38 For example, there is no legal force or punishment, and physical freedom is granted from disease, aching, death, and burial (Yang MM 2009, 27-28). The Later World is also seen to be a space where people still farm for a living, but they do not need to sow seeds annually. The land works automatically, including harvesting itself: “once seeds are sown, every year new buds will come out from the same roots and be harvested. The land shall be fertile even without being nourished.”39 The ability to travel in space is also given to the Daesoon Sin-ingan (新人間, human-god), even though the condition is limited by each individual.40

The thought of Hucheon (後天, the Later World) contains the concept of universal circulation in which the entry of the era is explained in the term ‘Wonsi-banbon’ (原 始返本, everything will seek the beginning and return to the original root) (Lee GW 2010). In this regard, Daejin Jeong argues that there was no division between the material world and the mental world in the era of pre-depravity (Ryoo JK 2009, 140-142). The teaching of Dotong-jingyeong is not dependent on circulation theories in India and China but interrelated with the denominational teaching of Wonsi-banbon, which encourages one to seek the return of the genesis of oneness without the divisions of ideology and philosophy (Park MS 1985; Chung KH 2001).41 For this, the three characteristics of Jisang-sinseon (地上神仙, earthly immortality) are maintained in the meaning of Muwiihwa (無爲而化, the way of changing without need for action) in which one can achieve his/her goals without the normally necessary strengths (Ro KM 2009, 107-109). The first characteristic is that Sin-ingan (新人間, human-god), as described, is able to live an eternal life without any sickness and diseases. Life in the Later World is unlimited as it is given a physical and medical blessing. The second characteristic is that they have complete wisdom in life. The wisdom allows them to master change and the principles of the universe for the past, present, and future.42 The third characteristic is to have supernatural abilities by which Sin-ingan can use infinite power or authority for the harmonious work of the universe (Lee JW 2011; Cha SK 2011).43 Thus, the teaching of Jisang-sinseon connotes the concept that human beings become god-like, not in heaven but on earth.


The people of the Late Joseon dynasty were socio-politically interested in personal and community fate and sought visual and tangible hope for their future. The weak influence of traditional religions offered an opportunity for the leaders of native and foreign new religions, including Christianity, to succeed in Korea. The common theological foundation was found in the metaphysical theory of a new era from the moment of a turning point, called ‘Gaebyeok’ (開闢, Great Opening). The prophetic term, derived from ancient Chinese literature, was variously interpreted among new religions. In particular, Daesoon Jinrihoe of Jeungsanism applied it to the reordering works of their God Sangje. Kang Jeungsan was depicted as establishing the Jin-gyeong world (後天, the Later World). Unlike other ones, Daesoon Jinrihoe creatively carries on the philosophical thought that the earthly paradise is free, but limited people can experience the Hucheon world. Devotees are encouraged to possess the condition of Sin-ingan (新人間, human-god) through the practice of Sudo (修道, spiritual cultivation).

The training courses of Suryeon (修鍊, spiritual training), Gido (祈禱, prayer), and Gongbu (工夫, holy works) are useful methods through which genuine practitioners are said to ideally reach the stage of Dotong (道通, the unity with Dao). The prophecy of the Later World in The canonical scripture of Jin-gyeong draws a perfect picture that divinized people who overcame the fears of death, disease, poverty, calamity, and dispute, keep an unlimited relationship with their God of the ninth heaven (Sangje) (Smart 1987, 418-420). The so-called Injon era (人尊時代, the era in which human-gods are respected by deities) is elaborated on the perspective that other deities cooperate with the new role of Sin-ingans (human-gods): “Greater than the nobility of heaven and earth is that of human beings. Now is the era of human nobility” (Dharma 2: 56). The Jin-gyeong (眞境), reflected in terms of Wonsi (原始, the era of pre-depravity), has been defined as a space with western style high-tech and civilization where all ethnic groups, as well as animals, are harmonious and live in a warm-weather environment. Further, social policy and political issues maintain a peaceful condition lasting 50,000 years. Such a sanguine interpretation of Jin-gyeong that offers the most imaginative confidence among the Korean new religious movements of the ‘present heaven theology,’ was a key strategy of success and prosperity for the movement in contemporary society, even though the Koreanised standpoint could be a challenging obstacle for globalization unless reworded.

Conflict of Interest

David Kim has been on the Editorial Board of JDTREA since July 2021 but had no role in the decision to publish this article. No potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.


1 Here, the meaning of ‘Dan’ in old Korean implies bright land. ‘Gun’ means god and king, and ‘Hanbaegeom’ (God-Human-king) has a number of meanings such as king of heaven, the first king, the highest king, and the greatest king.

2 The condition of Sinin-habil (神人合一, the unity with God) allows them to enter the heavenly palace (天宮) for eternity.

3 Daesoon applies the term ‘Reordering Works’ in two different cases. The first one is as the name of a book (Gongsa, 公事, Reordering Works) in The canonical scripture of Jin-gyeong. The second case is in the works of their God Kang Jeungsan (天地公事, Cheonji-gongsa, , the Reordering Works of Heaven and Earth ).

4 “To save all the people in the world, I will resolve the grievances and grudges accumulated from time immemorial by recalibrating the Degree Number of Heaven and Earth, harmonizing divine beings, and establishing the paradise of the Later World which will be based on the principle of mutual beneficence (sangsaeng, 相生)” (Reordering Works 1: 3).

5 Such an ideological doctrine was established by the personal religious experience and efforts of the second leader, Jo Jeongsan in the 1920s-1940s.

6 Jin-gyeong reflects such a view of difference between them: “In the Former World, the frame was narrower and matters were easier. … In the Later World, the frame is broader and matters are more complicated. If all methods of Dao are not united and utilized, then efforts will be insufficient for bringing chaos back into balance” (Prophetic Elucidations 13).

7 Ryoo mentions that mind is the centre of human beings and the universe.

8 He/she is depicted as the one who completed the process of Ingangaejo (人間改造, Renovation of human beings).

9 “I will send the line of Dao-unification (Dotong, 道通, the unity with Dao) to the great head. He will instruct people in the ways of Dao-unification. When it is the right time, all the gods of Dao-unification from Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism shall gather, enabling people to achieve unification with Dao, according to their degree of individual cultivation” (Progress of the Order 1: 41).

10 The method of Dotong is open to everybody who is willing to pursue it. “Gong-Wu… asked Him (Sangje) to bring him into unity with Dao. Sangje chided him, One shall only achieve unity according to one’s own degree of cultivation.’” (Progress of the Order 1: 33).

11 It is the condition when one can concentrate without secular worries.

12 The daily prayer is performed four times for 20 minutes at AM, 1 PM, and 7 PM every day.

13 The Sihakwon building (侍學院) and the Sibeobwon building (侍法院), located near the Bonjeon building (本殿, the Yeongdae building), are where the Sihak Gongbu and the Sibeop Gongbu are conducted respectively.

14 “According to the extent of cultivation, capability, and magnanimity, everyone is escorted by a divine being assigned to aid them in their duties” (Dharma 2: 17).

15 The six paintings reflect a metaphoric representation of the whole process of spiritual cultivation to realize their Dao.

16 The background setting in the painting of Simsim-yuo is the season of spring.

17 This painting is set in spring time.

18 The setting is in the season of summer.

19 The season has changed into autumn, which means that his diligence has started ripening into fruition.

20 In particular, the fictional teaching of Simudo (尋牛圖, Ox-seeking Pictures) applied at the Pocheon temple complex is unique. For the process of Bongdeuk-singyo (奉得神敎, finding and following Heavenly Teachings), they have another picture where a boy found the footsteps of the ox. There are two pictures for the meaning of Myeoni-suji (勉而修之, practising Dao diligently and overcoming hardships).

21 Sin proposes an innovative picture of future where the advanced development of medical science would take an important role for the paradise life of human.

22 Reordering Works 1: 35.

23 “In ancient times divine sages … could control and administer both government and matters of edification. However, … Now everything will seek the beginning and return to the original root. Master and king shall unite as one” (Dharma 3: 26). “In the Later World, through the art of creation, they shall be governed without force or punishment and according to laws and reason. People shall not be agonised by worldly desires or resentment” (Prophetic Elucidations 81).

24 “Sangje answered, ‘Since the East and the West will be unified, … ‘Languages shall likewise be unified in the future’” (Dharma 3: 40).

25 “He (Sangje) answered, ‘For enabling this country (Korea) to gain superiority in the world, the divine beings in the West must be called in.” (Prophetic Elucidations 45). “‘Master Jin-Muk … led the gods who preside over the enlightenment of Dao … to the West. … Now I will bring him back home (to Korea) so that he shall take part in establishing an earthly paradise’” (Authority and Foreknowledge 2: 37).

26 “Sangje, referring to a well at … the (Taein) county, said ‘This is a spring of milk. And as Dao shall dwell in the twelve thousand peaks of Geumgang Mountain (Korea), …’”

27 Prophetic Elucidations 14.

28 “‘Thus, I assigned it to you, and you settled it well,’ adding, ‘The decision of this Reordering Work shall last for Fifty Thousand Years’” (Reordering Works 2: 17).

29 “When He (Sangje) stepped back outdoors, many varieties of birds and species of animals gathered together quite suddenly at the valley around the temple. … Sangje … said to them: ‘Do you also wish for the resolution of grievances for the Later World?’ In reply, the animals bowed to Him as if they understood” (Acts 2: 15).

30 “Sangje said, ‘List all things (tigers, leopards, coyotes, wolves, mosquitoes, lice, fleas, and bedbugs) that harm human beings.’ … ‘I will get rid of all harmful things to human beings in the Later World.’” Reordering Works 3: 8.

31 “Sangje said, ‘In the Later World, all people shall acquire eternal youth and immortality. When they open a chest, clothing, and food shall be available’” (Prophetic Elucidations 80).

32 “Therefore, even though you are suffering now, try to endure all the hardships. When you teach all the people of the (Later) world, your wealth and prosperity shall grow to be incomparable” (Prophetic Elucidations 82).

33 “They asked Him (Sangje) in return, ‘Can old men not regain new vigor in the Later World?’ ‘What you are saying sounds plausible,’ Sangje responded’” (Reordering Works 2: 16).

34 “Therefore, in the upcoming Later World, … it is right to have a young widow remarried to a young widower and an old widow to an old widower by inviting the relatives and friends and holding a courteous public ceremony” (Reordering Works 2: 17).

35 “And as Dao shall dwell in the twelve thousand peaks of Geumgang Mountain, the same number of sages who were enlightened to Dao will be born into the world. Yet, in the Later world, women shall outnumber men among the sages” (Prophetic Elucidations 45).

36 “Sangje said to disciples, ‘In the Later World, the weak shall be given favor; the sick shall be given good health; the humble shall be given high status; the foolish shall be given wisdom. However, the strong, the rich, the noble, and the wise shall fall on their own’” (Dharma 2: 11).

37 “In the Later World, there shall be not many social classes but only two. Yet, dietary life shall be fair to everyone” (Dharma 2: 58).

38 “All ethnic groups in the world have established their indigenous cultures … , but when these cultures spread beyond internal usage, great conflicts occurred. Therefore, Sangje has now made the foundation of a civilization which will be achieved in the Later World by absorbing the essence of each culture” (Dharma 3: 23).

39 Dharma (3: 41).

40 “And Sangje said, ‘In the Later World, all people shall become one family. Through the art of creation, they shall be governed without force or punishment and according to laws and reason. … Also, free from disease, aching, death, and burial, … In addition, distinctions shall no longer exist between rich and poor. And people shall be able to travel anywhere freely and, moreover, ascend to and descend from Heaven due to its lowering’” (Prophetic Elucidations 81).

41 “(Sangje said), this era is the period of Wonsi-banbon. Because it is the time where the origin (of corruptions) is rightly fixed, …” The teaching is connected to the theory that the circulation of the universe is repeated.

42 “Their wisdom will be so thoroughly illuminated that they can completely know the past, present, and future and the worlds throughout the ten directions. … The Later World shall become an earthly paradise filled with auspiciousness” (Prophetic Elucidations 81).

43 “Now, as I (Sangje) thoroughly arranged the heaven-ordered predeterminations by revising the existing orders of heaven and earth, everything will be opened in a new way in their own times. Also, I (Sangje) will have divine beings come in and out of human apparatuses in order to change human beings of their physical constitution and personality, so that they can be used for their purpose. It is because even a frivolous stake can be useful when it is endowed with energy (Dharma 3: 4). The Academic Affair Department of Daesoon Jinrihoe, “Hwang Geuk Shin,” In Daesoon Jinrihoe Dictionary, accessed August 15, 2021, http://daesoon.org/about/dictionary.php?idx=397



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