Journal directory listing - Volume 31-41 (1986-1996) - Volume 31 (1986)

The Governing Thoughts of T'oegye Author: Tien Po-Yuan


T'oegye, a great Confucian scholar of Lee Dynasty (李 朝) in Korea, read a great number of classic books and biographies. He was also versed in various books about human nature and rationality. His learning was derived from Ju Shi (朱熹) of Sung Dynasty (宋朝 ) in China. It adopts comprehension of rationality as the fundamental while applying it to governing the world; therefore, his learning is filled with ideas to better the world.
The governing thoughts of T'oegye were typical Confucian thoughts. They originated in the mental way of comprehension in Confucius and Mencius and abode by Ju Tze's teaching which was left to posterity. In politics, they emphasized the governing of the country by means of virtue, and regarded filial piety, brotherhood, mercy as the funda-mental of virtue governing. The realization of a moral rule depends on the king and his statesmen. If there are wise king and good statesmen, the whole country will be well ruled. If the king is unwise and the statesmen, flattering, the whole country will become chaotic. The king is closely related to a rule by means of virtue. In order to cultivate the virtue of the king, T'oegye wrote to the king, discussing the theory of being a king and this is the so called "Wu Chen Liou Tiau Su" (戊辰六條疏) praised by the historians. In the meantime, he submitted "Sen Shue She Tou" ( 聖學十圖) and explained it personally to the king. T'oegye's concern for the king and the country can be seen very clearly from all this. The cultivation of people is considered by T'oegye his own responsibility. "The Private School Taur Shan" ( 陶山書堂 ) was built by him as a place for education, and more than three hundred and ten. people politically important had been educated here. He contributed a lot to education and developed interest in learning.
T'oegye dedicated his whole life to the study of the theory of rationality, and he meant to follow the career of the saints and wise kings. Inspite of his poor health which kept him away from the political responsibility, he worried for the king and the country and paid attention to the rough living conditions of the people. "His learning can correct the errors of the world; his words can help better the world." Who can say it is unsuitable to call him a scholar of thorough knowledge ( 通儒 )?

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