The Korean Neo-Confucianism of Yi Toegye and Yi Yulgok (Part 80)

The whole dilemma for Kobong was to interpret Mencius and Cheng-Chu doctrines in the spirit of the Doctrine of the Mean. He wished to convince Toegye that the Four Beginnings can be understood as moral roots of the Seven Emotions. If any of the Seven is harmonised, it is certainly a good, moral feelings. This striking feature of Kobong’s thought can be explained in the following manner: the emotion of “love” (one of the Seven Emotions), if properly harmonised, is identical to “the mind-and-heart of commiseration,” “the beginning of benevolence,” which is one of the Four Beginnings. At the same time, the “the mind-and-heart of commiseration” is equivalent to the moral root of love. Although Kobong did not argue exactly in this way, it is obvious that he did decide to go beyond Cheng I’s and Chu Hsi’s views that commiseration is an innate seed of the virtue of benevolence inherent in what Mencius calls the “original goodness of human nature” and that love is a common mental feeling that cannot be a virtuous root of morality in the Mencian sense. Undoubtedly, the fundamental implication of Kobong’s Four-Seven thesis is a significant moral issue for Kobong, who emphasises emotional integration in the practice of self-cultivation.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

London United Korean Fan Club

London United Japanese Fan Club