Sahng-jeh-nim (上帝 “Supreme Ruling God”)

 Sahng-jeh-nim, Who Rules the Universe

All the great religions worship the same supreme spiritual being: Sahng-jeh-nim, the Ruling God. He governs the universe harmoniously through His command of its supreme order, known in the East as li (理 “principle”). The religions and philosophies of the world recognize Sahng-jeh-nim by many names. Since ancient times, the East has known the Supreme Being who commands li as Sahng-jeh (上帝), sahng (上) meaning “supreme” and jeh (帝) meaning “ruling god.” (Korean adds the honorific nim.) Christianity worships Sahng-jeh-nim as God the Father and as God on the White Throne. Buddhism knows Him as Maitreya Buddha, the Lord of Tushita Heaven. Daoism and Confucianism name Him as Sahng-jeh or Ohk-hwahng Sahng-jeh (“Jade Emperor of Heaven”).

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Sahng-jeh-nim dispatched messengers from His place in heaven to the earth, bearing His word. “I sent Confucius, Buddha, and Jesus to earth for the purpose of My work” (Dojeon 2:43:5). Jesus taught throughout his life that God―the Father who sits on the great white throne―had sent him to the world. Shakyamuni Buddha proclaimed that Maitreya Buddha, who is the Lord of Tushita Heaven, would come to the world and save humanity. In I Ching (Book of Changes), Confucius affirmed that the principle of the universe would be fulfilled in the northeast, the direction of Gahn (5).

A time came when the age of old heaven, earth, and civilization was ending and gae-byuk was approaching. Heaven and earth, humanity, and spirits had fallen into a malaise from which they could find no deliverance. Amid this turmoil, an assembly of buddhas, the spirits of sages, and bodhisattvas appeared in heaven before Sahng-jeh-nim and entreated Him to save humanity and spirits from the upheaval of gae-byuk (Dojeon 2:27:3). It was in answer to their pleas that Sahng-jeh-nim resolved to personally incarnate into this world.

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 Why Sahng-jeh-nim Incarnated in the Eastern Land of Joseon

Korea had always been destined as the place of incarnation for Sahng-jeh-nim, the Ruling God of the universe. Jeung San Do’s Supreme Dao Master Ahn Oon-sahn revealed that Korea is the globe’s most auspicious site, where the earth’s life energy most strongly concentrates. According to the principle of earth (which is related to feng shui), the Korean Peninsula is guarded by five oceans and six continents. The Japanese archipelago comprises the “Inner Blue Dragon” (內靑龍); the Americas comprise the “Outer Blue Dragon” (外靑龍); the landmass from China to Singapore forms the “Inner White Tiger” (內白虎); Africa and parts of Eurasia form the “Outer White Tiger” (外白虎); Australia is the “Table Mountain” (案山). These major landmasses consolidate the terrestrial energies in the Korean Peninsula, making Korea the cardinal site of the globe.



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The people of the Eastern land of Joseon (the former name of Korea) have always embraced a tradition of Spirit Teaching (神敎 Shin-gyo), worshiping Sahng-jeh-nim, the spirits in heaven and earth, and their ancestors through memorial rites. Since the birth of civilization, the Korean people have faithfully preserved the original practices of the culture of Spirit Teaching―the root culture.

Moreover, Monk Jin-pyo (ad 734~?), resolving to spread Maitreya Buddha’s great dao, fervently prayed that the Savior Buddha, the Heavenly Lord Maitreya, would descend to the Eastern land of Korea. Jin-pyo laid the foundation of belief in the Lord of Tushita Heaven in Korea, beginning at the Maitreya Shrine of Geum-sahn Temple. For this reason, Sahng-jeh-nim said, “I have an affinity with this Eastern land” (Dojeon 2:73:6).

For centuries, the Korean people had suffered from torment and upheaval, and in the nineteenth century, this turmoil intensified. Rampant government corruption and oppression drove destitute and starving commoners into revolt. A series of invasions and interventions accelerated Korea’s domestic disintegration as Eastern and Western powers vied to dominate the country. Agonizing in a cauldron of despair, all Koreans fervently wished for the arrival of a divine being to create a new order.

For all of these reasons, Sahng-jeh-nim chose Korea as the place to begin His work of creating a new heaven and earth for a new humanity. He entrusted His divine authority to the spirits of the heavenly government, then descended to the earth escorted by the spirit of the Jesuit priest Matteo Ricci (1552~1610). Sahng-jeh-nim recognized Matteo Ricci as the greatest contributor to civilization in the Early Heaven because he had come to the East and offered many ideas for building heaven on earth, and after his death, he learned the ways of civilization in heaven and led the effort of developing modern civilization in the West (Dojeon 2:26:3~8). Sahng-jeh-nim descended to the canopy tower in the nation of great law in the West, and then sojourned as a spirit at the Maitreya Buddha statue of Geum-sahn Temple for thirty years before incarnating as a mortal.

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 Sahng-jeh-nim’s Childhood

In 1871, Sahng-jeh-nim incarnated in Gaeng-mahng Village (客望里), “Expecting Guest Village,” Go-bu County, Jul-la Province. He began mortal life as a member of the Gahng family, Gahng being the oldest surname in history. His given name was Il-soon, but He later adopted the honorific name Jeung-san, which signifies “completion” or “maturation.” He also bears the ageless title of Sahng-jeh-nim, (Sahng-jeh meaning “Emperor Above” or “Highest God,” and the suffix nim expressing reverence). Thus, Jeung-san was the name of the mortal man, and Jeung-san Sahng-jeh-nim signifies the Ruling God on earth.

From childhood, Jeung-san Sahng-jeh-nim displayed exceptional brilliance unmatched in the history of the East and West. At age six (1876), as Sahng-jeh-nim watched a performance of traditional music and dance, poong-mool, He suddenly heard the harmonious sound of heaven and earth―the sound of yool-lyuh, which is the source of heaven and earth’s life and order. Also at age six, Sahng-jeh-nim learned the principle of heaven and earth. Sahng-jeh-nim’s father, the Sacred Father, invited a teacher to teach the young child The Thousand Characters Text. Sahng-jeh-nim “opened the book and recited the words heaven (天) and earth (地) so loudly it shook the house. He then closed the book and left the room without saying anything else” (Dojeon 1:15:7). After the teacher tried to persuade the child Sahng-jeh-nim to continue the study, He said, “From the word heaven I learned the nature of heaven. From the word earth I learned the nature of earth. What more is there to know?” (Dojeon 1:15:8). At age seven, Sahng-jeh-nim greatly surprised the people around Him by writing a magnificent poem:

 Gaining Ultimate Enlightenment to Save Humanity

After three years of travel, Sahng-jeh-nim returned home at age thirty (1900). By 1901, He had concluded that “the world could not be saved by any known means” (Dojeon 2:1:2), and later He proclaimed, “I use ways that are outside the mainstream and unknown to the people” (Dojeon 4:9:4). In search of enlightenment, Sahng-jeh-nim meditated for fourteen days on Shee-ru mountain, then He went to Mo-ahk Mountain, known as the “mother mountain,” in Jul-la province, and there meditated in Dae-wun Temple’s Seven Stars Shrine for twenty-one days. During Sahng-jeh-nim’s meditation, Head Monk Bahk Geum-gohk (1854~1946) attended on Him, believing that “a divine spirit [had] come down to this world” (Dojeon 2:3:4). According to the monk’s later testimony, Sahng-jeh-nim would “repeatedly write on and then burn sheets of paper,” and he also saw Sahng-jeh-nim “jump over a persimmon tree that was five times His height” (Dojeon 2:5:2,4). Head Monk Bahk testified that at the end of Sahng-jeh-nim’s meditation, “[He] did not eat or drink anything for seven days. He meditated with one mind without moving once from where He sat” (Dojeon 2:10:1).

Finally, on July 7, 1901, His twenty-first day of meditation, Sahng-jeh-nim gave Geum-gohk an order:

遠步恐地坼 大呼恐天驚

Thinking of making a long jump, I fear the earth will collapse.

Thinking of shouting loudly, I fear heaven will be alarmed.

(Dojeon 1:15:9)

From His early childhood, Sahng-jeh-nim showed wisdom, energy, and spirit so boundless they shook heaven and earth. Throughout His life, the word of His divine nature spread throughout Korea, and countless people desired to meet Him.

When Sahng-jeh-nim was fourteen (1884), Gim Hyung-yul (1862~1932), who had been seeking dao for many years and had heard of Sahng-jeh-nim’s divine nature, resolved to meet this young man, and so he traveled toward Go-bu County. At sunset, he arrived at Bool-chool Hermitage (佛出庵), “Buddha Appearing Hermitage,” built on a site where two stones in the shape of Maitreya Buddhas had risen from the earth. An owl cried as Hyung-yul stepped through the gate. In the yard of this hermitage, he unexpectedly met Sahng-jeh-nim and then witnessed Him floating in the air. This incident convinced him that the young Sahng-jeh-nim was indeed a divine person (Dojeon 1:17:1~8). Hyung-yul eventually achieved the honor of becoming Sahng-jeh-nim’s head disciple.

 Sahng-jeh-nim’s Hardships and Early Travels

Throughout His early life, Sahng-jeh-nim lived in extreme poverty and hardship. At age fifteen (1885), He toiled as a farmhand and as a woodcutter. By embracing both the joys and sorrows of human life, Sahng-jeh-nim sought the wisdom to redeem humanity from the agony in which people lived.

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At age twenty-four (1894), Sahng-jeh-nim witnessed firsthand the Eastern Learning1 Revolution, experiencing the dreadful miseries of the common people. He went to the battlegrounds, following the Eastern Learning Army led by General Jun Bohng-joon, and warned people not to march in the uprising, since it would soon be defeated. He witnessed the Sino-Japanese War and surveyed world affairs, finding Himself immersed in misery and conflict. That year, distressed that the state of the world was worsening every day, Sahng-jeh-nim resolved to deliver the world from suffering.

At age twenty-seven (1897), Sahng-jeh-nim immersed Himself in deep contemplation and read many ancient Eastern and Western books of wisdom that would help Him accomplish His resolution to save the world (Dojeon 1:29:1). That autumn, He set out on a journey of three years (1897~1900) to further experience the world and humanity. Leaving His home, Sahng-jeh-nim headed for Taejeon (太田). On His way, He visited Hyahng-juk Mountain and met philosopher Gim Il-bu (1826~1898), the author of Jung-yuk (“Right Change”), who had been sent to the world to reveal the principles of the Autumn Gae-byuk. They spoke about how things would unfold in heaven and earth in the process of the Later Heaven Gae-byuk (1:29:10). Afterward, Sahng-jeh-nim resumed His journey to Taejeon, the future capital of the new humanity and civilization, as determined by His later work of renewal.

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 Gaining Ultimate Enlightenment to Save Humanity

After three years of travel, Sahng-jeh-nim returned home at age thirty (1900). By 1901, He had concluded that “the world could not be saved by any known means” (Dojeon 2:1:2), and later He proclaimed, “I use ways that are outside the mainstream and unknown to the people” (Dojeon 4:9:4). In search of enlightenment, Sahng-jeh-nim meditated for fourteen days on Shee-ru mountain, then He went to Mo-ahk Mountain, known as the “mother mountain,” in Jul-la province, and there meditated in Dae-wun Temple’s Seven Stars Shrine for twenty-one days. During Sahng-jeh-nim’s meditation, Head Monk Bahk Geum-gohk (1854~1946) attended on Him, believing that “a divine spirit [had] come down to this world” (Dojeon 2:3:4). According to the monk’s later testimony, Sahng-jeh-nim would “repeatedly write on and then burn sheets of paper,” and he also saw Sahng-jeh-nim “jump over a persimmon tree that was five times His height” (Dojeon 2:5:2,4). Head Monk Bahk testified that at the end of Sahng-jeh-nim’s meditation, “[He] did not eat or drink anything for seven days. He meditated with one mind without moving once from where He sat” (Dojeon 2:10:1).

Finally, on July 7, 1901, His twenty-first day of meditation, Sahng-jeh-nim gave Geum-gohk an order:

“Go over the mountain to Geum-sahn Temple and stay inside the Maitreya Shrine.” As the monk left Dae-wun Temple, he saw a brilliant pillar of fire descending from the sky to the roof of the Seven Stars Shrine. While he was inside the Maitreya Shrine, heaven and earth suddenly shook so hard that it seemed as if the statue and shrine would collapse. (Dojeon 2:10:5~7)

This shaking of heaven and earth marked the moment that Sahng-jeh-nim attained ultimate enlightenment by opening the great gate of the spirit world. His enlightenment was fundamentally different from the enlightenment of past sages, who attained enlightenment only after excruciating meditation and fervent prayers. By opening the way of spirits, He opened a path for humans and spirits to unite as one. With this enlightenment, Sahng-jeh-nim resumed His boundless authority over the three realms of heaven, earth, and humanity, which He had exercised in heaven before assuming His human body.

 Boundless Power of Creative Change

Beginning in 1901, at age thirty-one, Sahng-jeh-nim once again wielded heaven and earth’s boundless power of creative change. Clad in His divine nature, Sahng-jeh-nim walked through storms without suffering a single drop of rain. He commanded wind, snow, frost, clouds, and lightning. Several times, He even demonstrated to His disciples and to the multitudes His power to stop the rising of the sun, explaining, “The sun and moon are at My command.... I am heaven, earth, sun, and moon” (Dojeon 4:60:11,14).

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Sahng-jeh-nim performed countless miracles. He summoned the spirits of mountains and gave them commands (Dojeon 4:71:11). When traveling, He called upon the spirits governing the roads and gave them royal decrees (Dojeon 2:61:4). Carrying little Ho-yun (Gim Jung-sook, 1897~1992), He even went to the Dragon Castle under the sea and there conducted a work of renewal for the Autumn Gae-byuk (Dojeon 5:47:4~7). He healed incurable diseases and raised the dead―often with only His voice or a flick of His finger. One day, Sahng-jeh-nim met a young woman who cried out in despair that her child was about to die from a liver disease. Sahng-jeh-nim said to a disciple, “Ask the woman if there is a small hermitage on the mountain behind her house.” Then He said, “Tell her if she goes up to the hermitage early in the morning and strikes the temple bell three times on three consecutive mornings, the child will be healed” (Dojeon 2:112:8~9). With these words, Sahng-jeh-nim saved the child’s life.

Wherever Sahng-jeh-nim went, He wielded His power of creative change to resolve the suffering of the unlearned, the diseased, and the oppressed. They cried out joyfully that the Lord of Heaven had come to earth. His disciples and people who witnessed His work believed Him to be Maitreya Buddha, the Jade Emperor of Heaven, or God.

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 Sahng-jeh-nim’s Nine-Year Work of Renewing Heaven and Earth

Sahng-jeh-nim declared, “Starting from Me, all things are renewed” (Dojeon 1:32:3), and He undertook His unprecedented work of renewing heaven and earth: Chun-jee-gohng-sa (天地公事). Chun-jee-gohng-sa was a new program of cosmic proportions, performed with the spirits of heaven and earth to correct the order of the universe and human history. The ultimate purpose of Chung-jee-gohng-sa is to give humanity the means for safe passage through the cataclysmic time of the Autumn Gae-byuk and enable us to reach the world of immortality in the Later Heaven’s era of unity. Chung-jee-gohng-sa will end the order of mutual conflict that had created so much bitterness and grief in the Early Heaven and open the order of mutual life-giving, which will enable harmonious existence in the new world and new civilization.

Since the Early Heaven Gae-byuk, all lives have been constrained by the destiny of mutual conflict. Jeung-san Sahng-jeh-nim relieves the bitterness and grief resulting from this and leads humanity to a new life in the Later Heaven’s world of immortality. For this purpose, He performed the nine-year work of renewing heaven and earth during His human life in the Eastern land of Korea. This work corrected the order of heaven and earth and harmonized human affairs with the way of spirits. He used the precepts of returning to the origin, resolution of bitterness and grief, mutual life-giving, and offering gratitude and repayment to end the Early Heaven’s destiny of mutual conflict and open the Later Heaven’s destiny of mutual life-giving. (Dojeon 5:1:1~6)


My work is the gae-byuk of heaven and earth. It is the work of renewing heaven and earth. (Dojeon 5:3:2)

As part of Chung-jee-gohng-sa, Sahng-jeh-nim undertook the uniting of all cultures by extracting the essence of each culture. Using His authority as the Ruling God of the universe, He replaced the heads of religions with the historical figures within each culture who had contributed most significantly to civilization. Sahng-jeh-nim appointed Chey Su-oon, to whom He personally granted enlightenment, as the head of Immortalism. He appointed the Great Monk Jin-mook, who had attained enlightenment greater than that of Shakyamuni Buddha, as the head of Buddhism. He appointed Zhu Xi, who was revered as the ‘second Confucius,’ as the head of Confucianism. He appointed Matteo Ricci, the Jesuit priest who had worked tirelessly to build heaven on earth, as the head of the Dao of the West. Only Sahng-jeh-nim, as the Ruling God of the universe, could effect these changes using the might of creative change.

For nine years, Sahng-jeh-nim performed His great work of renewal. Eventually, He announced that His work on earth was complete and that He needed to ascend to heaven to continue Chung-jee-gohng-sa. On June 24, 1909, at age thirty-nine, Sahng-jeh-nim shed His human body and returned to His heavenly throne in the Jade City.


Tae-mo-nim (太母 “Great Mother”)

 The Successor of Dao Lineage and Authority

Before His ascension, Sahng-jeh-nim undertook the selection of a successor who would receive His authority and continue the sowing of His great dao to ensure that it took firm root. Sahng-jeh-nim established the following of His dao, and after seven years of conducting His work of renewal, He designated a female successor: Tae-mo-nim.

 The Mother of All Life

Tae-mo-nim was born on March 26, 1880, in Dahm-yahng County, Jul-la Province. Her family name was Go and Her given name was Pahl-lyeh, but Sahng-jeh-nim called Her Su-bu (首婦), which signifies “the mother of all humans and spirits in heaven and earth,” “the mother who is the head of all,” and “the woman who is the consort of God.” Jeung San Do practitioners add the honorific nim to this title, calling Her Su-bu-nim. Most often, She is addressed by the title Tae-mo-nim (太母), meaning “Great Mother.”

Sahng-jeh-nim conferred His dao lineage and authority upon a woman, not upon a man, because He had decreed a new destiny of equality between men and women. Civilization oppresses yin and reveres yang, leading to great bitterness and grief as women live in servitude and persecution. But women will be freed from this oppression, and their bitterness and grief will be completely resolved to usher in a new era of equal yin and yang. Such harmony of yin and yang will be the underlying order of the Later Heaven, and Tae-mo-nim is the fountainhead who will open this new world of equality.

 Tae-mo-nim’s Work of Renewing Heaven and Earth

On September 20, 1911, about two years after the ascension of Sahng-jeh-nim, Tae-mo-nim attained ultimate enlightenment and thus received Sahng-jeh-nim’s spiritual authority. She gathered Sahng-jeh-nim’s disciples, established Her order, and began to dictate the destiny of human affairs as She carried out Sahng-jeh-nim’s work. Like Sahng-jeh-nim, Tae-mo-nim exercised boundless power, conducted numerous miracles, cured diseases, and revived the dead. Beginning in 1926, Tae-mo-nim, God the Mother, conducted Her ten-year work of renewing heaven and earth, which was one year longer than Sahng-jeh-nim’s work of renewal. Her work began with the Seven Stars Program, which would bring forward the young people who would fulfill Sahng-jeh-nim’s great dao.

Tae-mo-nim’s work of renewal ensured that Sahng-jeh-nim’s great dao was firmly rooted in history. As a female spiritual leader in Korea’s male-centered Confucian society, Tae-mo-nim faced continuous opposition; but She persevered with an iron will against all obstacles, succeeding in establishing an organized movement to disseminate Sahng-jeh-nim’s great dao. After fulfilling Her role as dao successor, Tae-mo-nim―the Mother of the New Humanity―ascended to heaven on October 6, 1935, to rejoin Sahng-jeh-nim.

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