Eastern Learning

Romanized from Korean as Donghak. A popular Korean spiritual movement founded in the mid-nineteenth century by Choe Su-un (aka Choe Jae-u). Its meditation was based on the Sicheonjuju Mantra, which Choe Su-un composed in 1860, when Sangjenim bestowed upon him a heavenly mandate and spiritual inspiration, enabling him to attain enlightenment.

Eastern Learning proclaimed the coming of the Later Heaven Gaebyeok and that this gaebyeok would be marked by a mysterious disease and disasters. Espousing the precepts of the Later Heaven Gaebyeok and of upholding the nation to bring comfort to the people, Eastern Learning advocated strengthening the nation, ridding the government of corruption, and improving the lives of the populace. The government felt threatened by the ideals of the movement and the extent of its popularity, and thus Choe Su-un was arrested in 1863 and executed the following year in Daegu. Thirty years later, in 1894, the movement led a major uprising, known as the ‘Eastern Learning Revolution.’

See also “Choe Su-un.”