The Korean Neo-Confucianism of Yi Toegye and Yi Yulgok (Part 45)

On the whole, however, Mencius did not clarify what he meant by mind-and-heart (sim), human nature (song), and feelings (chong); more to the point, he did not explain how they relate to one another. For example, the following passage illustrates this ambiguity:

As far as human “feelings” (chong) are concerned, people are capable of becoming good. This is what I mean by (saying that human nature is) good. If one becomes evil (pulson; literally no goodness), it is one’s fault. All human beings have the mind-and-heart (sim) of commiseration, the mind-and-heart of shame and dislike, the mind-and-heart of respect and reverence, and the mind-and-heart of moral discernment of right and wrong. The mind-and-heart of commiseration pertains to benevolence….Benevolence, righteousness, propriety, and wisdom are not welded into us from the outside; rather, they are within us originally (in our nature).

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