Cheong (청 淸) means “pure” and su (수 水) means water. Cheongsu (청수 淸水) is translated as “pure water” or “holy water.” An ancient tradition of the Korean people, cheongsu is pure water, representing life and purity, offered to the spirits during prayers, meditations, and rituals.

Cheongsu symbolizes the source of all existence — symbolizes life itself. Offering a bowl of the pure water when paying a homage to both Sangjenim and Taemonim with prayer is the basic as well as the daily practice of ritual. This ritual has been the traditional culture of worship since thousands of years before, and Jeung San Do is transmitting the thousands of years old tradition. After the ritual of offering a bowl of pure water, the followers of Jeung San Do recite the Taeeulju Mantra.

▍ The Ancient Act of Worship

The tradition of cheongsu dates from ancient times, when the purest of well water was collected at the break of dawn. Older Koreans may recall their grandmothers or even their mothers praying before a bowl of clean water placed atop an earthenware vessel (typically containing household staples such as kimchi or bean paste) in the yard.

This seemingly simple ritual represents the ancient act of worship that has endured in Korea for thousands of years, a rite that is a par of Singyo. Singyo is the study of offering a pure water to Samsin Sangjenim.

In Jeung San Do, a vital element of our practice is the offering of cheongsu in tandem with the chanting of the Taeulju mantra. Sangjenim once revealed to His beloved child-disciple Gim Ho-yeon that “This is cheongsu, through which the qi of heaven and earth is received” (Dojeon 3:93:9).

The faithful offering of cheongsu aids a practitioner in receiving heaven and earth’s boundless qi of life. When the Taeeulju Mantra is chanted in concert with the offering
of cheongsu— and done so with utmost sincerity — one’s mind, so terribly soiled and splintered by the worldly circumstances of life, becomes cleansed and collected. As our souls hence become purified and resplendent, we ourselves become worthy of the gift of Sangjenim and Taemonim’s bestowal of sustenance and blessings and Their sacred qi. While it is true that many religions conduct rites embracing the sacredness of water, the offering of cheongsu is a partic spirits and cosmic principles.

from Gaebyeok Magazine Vol 2 August 2011 59p 

▍ Method

To whom should cheongsu be offered?

A: Cheongsu is offered foremost to the Parents of Heaven and Earth — Sangjenim and Taemonim. It is also offered to the high spirits of the Government of Creation-Transformation (the government of spirits in heaven). On a personal level, it is offered to our ancestral spirits.

How is cheongsu offered?

A: Ideally, a cheongsu offering should entail pure water raised from a well at early dawn. For modern city dwellers, however, purified tap water and bottled water suffice. Notably, the offerer must always wash their hands before the offering of cheongsu.

What is an appropriate vessel for cheongsu?

A: Cheongsu should not be offered using ordinary household containers. It must instead be offered in a clean and dedicated bowl, one made of ceramics, brass, or earthenware. Your cheongsu bowl must be cleaned every day prior to the offering. The cleanliness of your cheongsu bowl and the area in which you conduct the cheongsu offering reflect, in a sense, your devotion to the practice.

Where should cheongsu be offered?

A: Cheongsu should be offered before Sangjenim’s portrait. If Sangjenim’s portrait is unavailable, offer your cheongsu toward the direction south. However, if your present living situation makes this impossible, then select a clean space distant from the door and distant from wherever your feet are oriented when you are lying down. Never casually stretch your legs in the direction of your cheongsu bowl.

How often should cheongsu be offered per day?

A: As often as you wish. In terms of basic practice, cheongsu (between your return home and sleep). Your day should begin and end with the offering of cheongsu, prayer, and mantra meditation.

Can cheongsu be offered on another’s behalf?

A: Just as one’s life cannot be lived by another, the offering of cheongsu is a unique and sacred practice that cannot be delegated to, or assumed by, another. Each family member should have their own dedicated cheongsu bowl and offer cheongsu individually. If you are going to travel, take your cheongsu bowl or an alternate bowl with you. A faithful regimen of offering cheongsu is a testament that your practice is one that is truly filled with sincerity, awakenedness, and faithfulness.

Why is cheongsu considered the water of sustenance and blessings?

A: Sustenance and blessings encompass all that are necessary not only to sustain our life, but also to enrich it. Sangjenim said, “cheongsu contains sustenance and blessings,” and hence after an offering of cheongsu and Taeeulju Mantra meditation, the water should be consumed. This water has a salutary effect upon our spiritual state and invigorates our physical and mental health.

If you make the faithful offering of cheongsu and Taeeulju Mantra meditation a vital element of your daily life, you will defeat diseases and attain magnificent qi that will bring harmony and prosperity to your life.

from Gaebyeok Magazine Vol 2 August 2011 60~62p