ABSTRACT: Korea's JeungSanDo is a syncretistic religion in which elements of religious Taoism, Buddhism, Neo-Confucianism, Roman Catholicism, and Korean shamanism are combined with a unifying millenarian vision that was initially formulated in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the late Joseon Dynasty. JeungSanDo is based on the teachings of Gang Il-sun (1871–1909), who was/is regarded by his followers as the incarnation of SangJe (Shangti), the Ruler of the Universe in religious Taoism, as well as Maitreya, the Future Buddha of Buddhist eschatology. The religion of Gang Il-sun arose as a compensatory response to the defeat of the Donghak Revolution in 1894. The central belief of JeungSanDo is Hu-Cheon GaeByeok, the Great Opening of the Later Heaven, the new age of JeungSan Gang Il-Sun's millenarian vision. A glossary of Korean and Chinese terms follows the endnotes.
No religion is completely “new,” no religious message completely abolishes the past. Rather, there is a recasting, a renewal, a revalorization, an integration of the elements—the most essential elements—of an immemorial religious tradition.
—Mircea Eliade, Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy1