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The Korean Neo-Confucianism Part 185

The Korean Neo-Confucianism Part 185

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, most reformers in Ching China, Choson Korea, and Tokugawa Japan criticised especially the orthodox Chu Hsi tradition as an abstract or impractical learning that maintained its traditional and nonreformist affinities. The Korean Practical Learning (Sirhak) scholars, such as Yi Ik (Songho, 1681-1763), Park Chenga (Chochong, 1750-1805), and Chong Yagyong […]

The Korean Neo-Confucianism of Yi Toegye and Yi Yulgok (Part 184)

The Korean Neo-Confucianism of Yi Toegye and Yi Yulgok (Part 184)

Yulgok’s political career reveals his vigorous commitment to addressing urgent national needs. As his official positions in various areas demonstrate, the scope of his sirhak is remarkable, covering many areas from ethics to historical research, law, popular education, social structures, military strategies, and politics. In 1569 Yulgok, an influential junior statement man, submitted to the […]

The Korean Neo-Confucianism of Yi Toegye and Yi Yulgok (Part 183)

The Korean Neo-Confucianism of Yi Toegye and Yi Yulgok (Part 183)

In most cases, Yulgok refers to sirhak not as a theory of practical learning, but as a tangible process of functional and fruitful ethic-political actions. It is a method to obtain what he calls practical result and practical achievement. But all of these cannot be chivied unless they are accompanied by “established resolve” and “sincere […]

The Korean Neo-Confucianism of Yi Toegye and Yi Yulgok (Part 182)

The Korean Neo-Confucianism of Yi Toegye and Yi Yulgok (Part 182)

Yulgok says in the Hakkyo mobom, a treatise on the education of youth, that “the empty words of bad scholars has no practicality.” For learning, then, one must work hard on actions; otherwise, “our learning is nothing but a vulgar affair.” For Yulgok, Confucian learning is not a “nominal” process; students must concentrate on the […]

The Korean Neo-Confucianism of Yi Toegye and Yi Yulgok (Part 181)

The Korean Neo-Confucianism of Yi Toegye and Yi Yulgok (Part 181)

To explain his argument further, he uses a concrete example of mountain climbing: It is like mountain climbing. When one ascends the mountain, one can see a view which is not the same as hearing about it from others. Furthermore, when one reaches the peak, one commands the entire view, becoming completely liberated from a […]

The Korean Neo-Confucianism of Yi Toegye and Yi Yulgok (Part 180)

The Korean Neo-Confucianism of Yi Toegye and Yi Yulgok (Part 180)

A strikingly common feature of Yulgok’s major writings is the central theme of “practical learning” as a political ideal. the Songhak chipyo, which was written shortly after his Four-Seven debate with Ugye, is a good example that illustrates his political view that sincerity and sirhak are the ultimate means to sagehood through establishing and enlarging […]

The Korean Neo-Confucianism of Yi Toegye and Yi Yulgok (Part 179)

The Korean Neo-Confucianism of Yi Toegye and Yi Yulgok (Part 179)

By practical learning Chu Hsi meant that when one studies principles (i), one should do it with respect to concrete phenomena and their implications for daily matters. He rejected the mere practice of self-cultivation that ignores the objective investigation of principles, as well as any rational learning that does not apply concrete principles to self-cultivation […]

The Korean Neo-Confucianism of Yi Toegye and Yi Yulgok (Part 178)

The Korean Neo-Confucianism of Yi Toegye and Yi Yulgok (Part 178)

The Chinese and Japanese Neo-Confucian notions of practical learning have been articulated elsewhere with more expertise than is necessary here. What we need to clarify, however, is its subtle meanings and implications. Etymologically speaking, sil mean “seed” and “fruition,” signifying the idea of a concrete phenomenon with respect to actual existence, concrete knowledge, and fruitful […]

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