Advertisement

Zhu Xi and Korean Philosophy

  • Don BakerEmail author
Chapter
  • 33 Downloads
Part of the Dao Companions to Chinese Philosophy book series (DCCP, volume 13)

Abstract

The Korean literate elite during the Chosŏn dynasty were staunch supporters of Confucianism, particularly Zhu Xi’s Neo-Confucianism. However, they also modified Zhu Zi’s ideas to better fit their concern for moral psychology and their greater sensitivity to human moral frailty. We can see those modifications in disputes between T’oegye Yi Hwang (1501–1570), and Yulgok Yi I (1536–1584) over what role the Four Sprouts and the Seven Emotions should play in moral cultivation, and between Han Wŏnjin (1682–1751 and Yi Kan (1677–1727) over how much of a sanctuary from evil our human nature provided. We also see Korean Confucian creativity on display in the writings of Tasan Chŏng Yag-yong (1762–1836), who argued that we need to believe an anthropomorphic Lord on High is watching over us if we are to be inspired enough to exert the effort necessary to adhere to the high moral standards of Confucianism. The Korean search for an explanation of, and a solution to, the difficulties human beings encounter in trying to live consistently moral lives led them to use the building blocks provided by the philosophy of Zhu Xi to construct a thoroughly Koreanized version of Zhu Xi’s philosophy.

References4

  1. Ahn, Juhn. 2009. “This Way of Ours: Buddhist Memorial Temples and the Search for Values During the Late Koryŏ Dynasty.” The Journal of the Korean Association of Buddhist Studies (Han’guk pulgyohak 韓國佛敎學) 54: 35–83. (A study of the shift from Buddhist ancestor memorial halls to Confucian ancestor shrines.)Google Scholar
  2. Baker, Don. 2001. “Danger Within: Guilt and Moral Frailty in Korean Religion.” Acta Koreana 4: 1–25. (An overview of the role of concern over moral frailty in all of Korea’s religions and traditional philosophies.)Google Scholar
  3. ———. 2015. “Pushing the Confucian Envelope: Tasan Chŏng Yagyong as a Man of, and not of, His Times.” Acta Koreana 18.1: 145–62 (An analysis of how much Tasan strayed from Neo-Confucian orthodoxy.)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bol, Peter K. 2008. Neo-Confucianism in History. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. (A survey of the impact Neo-Confucianism had on Chinese society.)Google Scholar
  5. Chŏng, Che-du 鄭齊斗. 1989. The Collected Works of Hagok Chŏng Che-du (Hagokchip 霞谷集). Seoul: Minmun’go. (A collection of the writings of Korea’s greatest advocate of Wang Yangming’s ideas.)Google Scholar
  6. Chŏng, To-jŏn 鄭道傳. 2015. “An Array of Critiques of Buddhism (Pulssi chappyŏn 佛氏雜辨).” Korea’s Great Buddhist–Confucian Debate, translated by A. Charles Muller. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 54–81. (This works includes translations of two early Chosŏn anti-Buddhist Confucian tracts along with one defence of Buddhism, accompanied by the original literary Chinese versions.)Google Scholar
  7. Chŏng, Yag-yong 丁若鏞. 1992. The Complete Works of Yŭyudang Chŏng Yag-yong (Yŏyudang chŏnsŏ 與猶堂全書). Seoul: Yŏgang Ch’ulp’ansa. (A massive collection of commentaries on all the major Confucian classics, plus essays, letters, and book-length texts on government administration by one of the most creative Confucian philosophers in all Korean history.)Google Scholar
  8. Chung, Edward Y.J. 2016. A Korean Confucian Way of Life and Thought: The Chasŏngnok (Record of Self-Reflection) of Yi Hwang (T’oegye). Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press. (A translation of an important record of philosophical reflections of one of Korea’s greatest Confucian philosophers.)Google Scholar
  9. Chung, In-chae 鄭仁在. 1996. “Chŏng Chedu (Hagok): The Father of the Yang-ming School in Korea.” In Haechang Choung and Han Hyong-jo, eds., Confucian Philosophy in Korea. Sŏngnam-si, Kyŏnggi-do: Academy of Korean Studies. (A study of Korea’s leading follower of Wang Yangming.)Google Scholar
  10. Deuchler, Martina. 1992. The Confucian Transformation of Korea: A Study of Society and Ideology. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. (A study more historical than philosophical of how the change from Buddhism to Neo-Confucianism as Korea’s dominant ideology changed family life and rituals on the peninsula.)Google Scholar
  11. Do, Hyeon-chul 都賢喆. 2017. “Analysis of Recently Discovered Late-Koryŏ Civil Service Examination Answer Sheets.” Korean Studies 41: 152–72. (A study of civil service examination essays before Korea absorded Neo-Confucianism.)Google Scholar
  12. Duncan, John B. 1994. “Confucianism in the late Koryŏ and Early Chosŏn.” Korean Studies 18: 76–102. (An analysis of various strands in Confucianism on the Korean peninsula just before and during the early stages of the adoption of Neo-Confucianism.)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. ———. 2000. The Origins of the Chosŏn Dynasty. Seattle: University of Washington Press. (A study of the ideological and social characteristics of the ruling classes in Koryŏ and early Chosŏn)Google Scholar
  14. Haboush, JaHyun Kim. 1999. “Despoilers of the Way—Insulters of the Sages: Controversies over the Classics in Seventeenth-century Korea.” In JaHyun Kim Haboush and Martina Deuchler, eds., Culture and the State in Late Chosŏn Korea. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. (An edited volume surveying religious and philosophical life in the second half of the Chosŏn dynasty)Google Scholar
  15. ———. 2005. “Contesting Chinese Time, Nationalizing Temporal Space: Temporal Inscription in Late Chosŏn Korea.” In Lynn A. Struve, ed., Time, Temporality, and Imperial Transition. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press. (A study of how the Manchu conquest of the Ming changed the way Koreans thought about China, and about time.)Google Scholar
  16. Han, Young-woo 韓永愚. 1985. “Kija Worship in the Koryŏ and Early Yi Dynasties: A Cultural Symbol in the Relationship Between Korea and China.” In Wm. Theodore de Bary and JaHyun Kim Haboush, eds., The Rise of Neo-Confucianism in Korea. New York: Columbia University Press. (This book surveys the emergence of a Korean Neo-Confucianism in the first half of the Chosŏn dynasty.)Google Scholar
  17. Hong, Wŏn-sik 洪元植. 2008. “Introduction: Xinjing fuzhu and Korean Confucianism (Ch’ongnon: Simgyŏng puju wa Chosŏn yuhak).” In HWANG Wŏn-sik, ed., Xinjing fuzhu and Korean Confucianism (Simgyŏng puju wa Chosŏn yuhak). Seoul: Yemun sŏwŏn. (A study of the influence the Classic of the Mind-and-Heart had on Korean Confucianism.)Google Scholar
  18. Ivanhoe, Philip J. 2016 “The Horak Debate.” In Philip J. Ivanhoe, ed., Three Streams: Confucian Reflections on Learning and the Moral Heart-Mind in China, Korea, and Japan. New York: Oxford University Press. (A study of the eighteenth-century debate over whether human nature and animal nature are the same.)Google Scholar
  19. Johnston, Ian and Wang Ping, trans,. and annot. 2012. Daxue and Zhongyong: Bilingual Edition. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press. (A useful translation of the Daxue and Zhongyong accompanied by the commentaries of Zheng Xuan, Kong Yingda, and Zhu Xi.)Google Scholar
  20. Kalton, Michael C. 1985. “The Writings of Kwŏn Kŭn: The Context and Shape of Early Yi Dynasty Neo-Confucianism.” In Wm. Theodore de Bary and JaHyun Kim Haboush, eds., The Rise of Neo-Confucianism in Korea. New York: Columbia University Press. (A study of the core philosophical assumptions of one of Korea’s first Neo-Confucians.)Google Scholar
  21. ———. 1987. “Early Yi Dynasty Neo-Confucianism: An Integrated Vision.” In Laurel Kendall and Griffin Dix, eds., Religion and Ritual in Korean Society. Berkeley: Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California. (A study of the religiosity of Kwŏn Kŭn, an early Korean Neo-Confucian.)Google Scholar
  22. ———. 1988. To Become a Sage: The Ten Diagrams on Sage Learning. New York: Columbia University Press. (An annotated translation of one of Yi Hwang’s most important works.)Google Scholar
  23. ———. 1994. The Four–Seven Debate: An Annotated Translation of the Most Famous Controversy in Korean Neo-Confucian Thought. Albany: State University of New York Press. (An authoritative translation of the key letters that were exchanged in the early stages of the Four–Seven Debate.)Google Scholar
  24. Kang, Jinseok. 2015. “Yi T’oegye’s Reverent Seriousness (Kyŏng) and Philosophical Therapy” Dao 14: 107–28. (A study of the role reverent seriousness (mindfulness) plays in Yi Hwang’s philosophy.)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kim, Richard. 2017. “Human Nature and Animal Nature: The Horak Debate and Its Philosophical Significance.” In Youngsun Back and Philip J. Ivanhoe, eds., Traditional Korean Philosophy: Problems and Debates. New York: Rowman and Littlefield. (A study of the debate over whether human nature and animal nature were the same and how that relates to the different roles of li and qi.)Google Scholar
  26. Kim, Hyoung-chan 金炯瓚. 2007. “Toegye’s Philosophy as Practical Ethics: A System of Learning, Cultivation, and Practice for Being Human.” Korea Journal 47.3: 160–85. (An argument that concern for moral practice led T’oegye to differ from Zhu Xi on certain key issues.)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kim, Kyung-ho 金慶浩. 2011. “A Study of Excavated Bamboo and Wooden-strip Analects: The Spread of Confucianism and Chinese Script.” Sungkyun Journal of East Asian Studies 11.1: 59–88. (A study of the earliest evidence for Confucianism in Korea.)Google Scholar
  28. Kim, Pu-sik 金富軾. 2012. The Silla Annals of the Samguk Sagi 三國史記, 新羅本紀, translated by Edward J. Shultz and Hugh H.W. Kang with Daniel C. Kane. Sŏngnam. Korea: Academy of Korean Studies. (A useful translation of the earliest extant history of Korea’s ancient Silla Kingdom.)Google Scholar
  29. Kim, Yung Sik 金永植. 2017. “Another Look at Yi Hwang’s Views about Li and Qi: A Case of Time Lag in the Transmission of Chinese Originals to Korea.” In Youngsun Back and Philip J. Ivanhoe, eds., Traditional Korean Philosophy: Problems and Debates. New York: Rowman and Littlefield. (An argument that the Four–Seven Debate originally arose because Koreans did not yet fully understand what Zhu Xi was saying.)Google Scholar
  30. Kŭm, Chang-t’ae 琴章泰. 1982. “T’oegye’s Criticism of Wang Yangming’s Philosophy (T’oegye ŭi Yangmyŏnghak pip’an).” In A Reexamination of Korean Confucianism (Han’guk yugyo ŭi chaejomyŏng 韓國儒敎의再照明). Seoul: Chŏngmangsa. (An analysis of the reasons T’oegye gave for rejecting Wang Yangming’s philosophy.)Google Scholar
  31. Kwak, Shin-Hwan 郭信煥. 1996. “Sŏng Siyŏl (Uam): The Philosophy of Righteousness in the Age of Resistance.” In Haechang Choung and Han Hyong-jo, eds., Confucian Philosophy in Korea. Sŏngnam-si, Kyŏnggi-do: Academy of Korean Studies. (A study of one of the staunchest advotes of Yulgok Yi’s approach to Neo-Confucianism.)Google Scholar
  32. Kwŏn, Kŭn 權近. n.d. Diagrammatic Explanations for Entering the Path of Learning 入學圖說. Nineteenth century edition. Available at https://archive.org/details/iphaktosolchonhu008800, courtesy of the Asami Collection in the Korean Rare Book Collection in the C.V. Starr East Asian Library at the University of California at Berkeley. (Kwŏn Kŭn’s record of his attempt to explain Neo-Confucianism when it was new to Korea.)
  33. Lee, Peter H. 1996. Sourcebook of Korean Civilization, vol. 2 of From the Seventeenth Century to the Modern Period. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Pak, Che-ga朴齊家. 1974. “An argument for Learning from the North 北學辨.” The collected writings of Pak Che-ga, along with A Discussion of Learning from the North, Complete 蕤集:附北學義全. Seoul: T’amgudang. (A collection of writings by a member of what is sometimes called Korea’s “School of Practical Learning.”)Google Scholar
  35. Ralston, Michael K. 2001. “Ideas of Self and Self-Cultivation in Korean Neo-Confucianism.” Ph.D. Diss., University of British Columbia. (A study of Kwŏn Kŭn, T’oegye, and Yulgok.)Google Scholar
  36. Ro, Young-chan. 2017. “Yi Yulgok and His Contributions to Korean Confucianism: A Non-Dualistic Approach.” In Youngsun Back and Philip J. Ivanhoe., eds., Traditional Korean Philosophy: Problems and Debates. New York: Rowman and Littlefield. (An argument that Yulgok’s non-dualistic approach led him to disagree with T’oegye.)Google Scholar
  37. Shujing. 1865. In The Shoo King (or The Book of Historical Documents), vol. 3 of The Chinese Classics, trans. by James Legge. London: Trübner & Co.Google Scholar
  38. Tu, Wei-ming. 1982. “T’oegye’s Creative Interpretation of Chu Hsi’s Philosophy of Principle.” Korea Journal 22.2: 4–15. (An argument that T’oegye’s interpretation was faithful to Zhu Xi’s philosophy and elaborated on its implications rather than diverging from it.)Google Scholar
  39. Xu, Jing 徐兢. 2016. A Chinese Traveler in Medieval Korea: Xu Jing’s Illustrated Account of the Xuanhe Embassy to Koryŏ 高麗圖經, translated and annotated by Sem Vermeersch. Honolulu: University of Hawai’I Press. (A fascinating glimpse at how Korea looked through Chinese eyes 900 years ago).Google Scholar
  40. Yi, Hwang 李滉. 1985. “Critique of Wang Yangming’s Instructions for Practical Living (Chŏnsŭnok nonbyŏn 傳習錄論辯).” In “Preliminary Thoughts upon Reading Chen Xianzhang and Wang Yangming” (Paeksa Sigyo Chŏnsŭnok ch’ojŏn insŏ kihu 白沙詩教傳習錄抄傳因書其後). A Collection of the Writing of T’oegye Yi Hwang (T’oegyejip 退溪集). Seoul: Sŏnggyun’gwan University Press. The complete T’oegyejip is available on-line at http://db.itkc.or.kr. (An indispensable resource for anyone wanting to understand Korean Neo-Confucianism)
  41. Yi, I 李珥. 1958. Yulgok Chŏnsŏ 栗谷全書 (The Complete Works of Yulgok Yi I). Seoul: Sŏnggyun’gwan Taehakkyo Taedong Munhwa Yŏn’guwŏn. (An indispensable resource for anyone wanting to understand Korean Neo-Confucianism.)Google Scholar
  42. Yoo, Weon-ki 兪原基. 2017. “The Significance of the Concept of Mibal 未發 in the Horak Debate.” Acta Koreana 20.1: 53–71. (An analysis of the role differences in how the unactivated mind is understood shaped the debate over human nature and animal nature.)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Yun, Sa-soon 尹絲淳. 1990. Critical Issues in Neo-Confucian Thought: The Philosophy of T’oegye, translated by Michael C. Kalton. Seoul: Korea University Press. (An English translation of some of the most important articles on Yi Hwang by one of Korea’s leading Confucian philosophers in the second half of the twentieth century.)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Asian StudiesUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

Personalised recommendations