Our journey of understanding humanity’s past, our present, and our future begins with the precept of the cosmic year. Western philosophy and science have historically viewed time as merely linear, but Jeung San Do’s cosmology recognizes that time is actually cyclical and that the universe evolves in accordance with a cycle analogous to earth’s year: the cosmic year.
Each cosmic year encompasses 129,600 calendar years and contains four cosmic seasons: cosmic spring, cosmic summer, cosmic autumn, cosmic winter. The first two seasons of a cosmic year, cosmic spring and cosmic summer, combine to comprise the era of the Early Heaven. The cosmic year’s second two seasons, cosmic autumn and cosmic winter, comprise the Later Heaven.
The Early Heaven is an era marked by both the burgeoning of life and the suffering that has come to be so closely associated with living. The Early Heaven is the era during which life arises and proliferates, the time when heaven and earth give birth to and nurture humanity; this is the era in which the principle of sanggeuk (“mutual conflict” or “mutual restraint”) prevails in the world, and all existence evolves through division and competition, all life struggling in a ceaseless maelstrom of strife and war. This relentless conflict helps advance all things toward maturation.
The Later Heaven, in contrast, is the era during which all life finally attains maturation and then comes to rest. During the Later Heaven, all strife comes to an end as sanggeuk gives way to sangsaeng (“mutual lifebettering” or “mutual life-saving”). In this time of harmony: nature and civilization achieve unity; humans and spirits unite, inaugurating an era of humanity’s nobility in which all humans attain enlightenment; and the dominance of men gives way to an equality of yin and yang.
It was on the eve of the transition from the cosmic summer to the cosmic autumn (from the Early Heaven to the Later Heaven) that Sangjenim incarnated into this world to safely guide humanity and spirits away from the Early Heaven’s abyss of extinction, through the three-year transitional time of the Later Heaven Gaebyeok (aka the Autumn Gaebyeok), into the Later Heaven’s long-sought Paradise of Immortality.