The Korean Neo-Confucianism of Yi Toegye and Yi Yulgok (Part 116)

The Oneness of Human Nature

The topic of the Four-Seven relationship in terms of original human nature and physical human nature was one of the major issues in the Toegye-Kobong debate. Obviously Ugye and Yulgok debated this issue, and the latter presented more original insights into those sophisticated ideas that were interpreted by both of his predecessors.

In response to Ugye’s challenge, Yulgok began his first letter saying:
“Original human nature is spoken of without including physical endowment, whereas physical human nature includes the original human nature. Similarly, the Four BEginnings cannot include the Seven Emotions; rather, the latter includes the former.” In the Cheng-Chu context, Yulgok means that the original human nature is the pure, unmanifested nature referring to i only, and the physical human nature is always spoken of in terms of i and ki together; therefore, the latter must include the former. Like Kobong, he argues that both the Four and the Seven belong to the physical human nature. Accordingly, the Four are aroused “when is is in control and ki does not disturb it”; the Seven are aroused and give rise to both good and evil “when ki has already distributed i.”

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

London United Korean Fan Club

London United Japanese Fan Club