S-Space College of Education (사범대학) Center for Educational Research (교육종합연구원) 교육연구와 실천 Journal of the College of Education (師大論叢) vol.64/65 (2002)
남명(南冥) 조식(曺植, 1501~1572) 의 도덕 · 윤리에 관한 연구 : '경의(敬義)’ 사상(思想)을 중심으로
A Study on Nammyeong’s Moral Principles: Focusing on the Principles of "Kyeong" and "Eui"
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 사범대학
- 사대논총, Vol.64, pp. 63-85
- For the modem society, this paper attempts to identify the meanings, of ’kyeong (敬: respectfulness and self-restraint)’ and 'eui (義: righteousness)', two core moral principles of ’Nammyeong’ Jo Sik (1501-1572). The paper first discusses how Nammyeong developed his moral and ethical principles of 'kyeong' and 'eui'. Then the nature of these two principles are discussed in detail, followed by their implications for the modem society. The principle 'eui’ (義: righteousness) meant the judgement of reality based on moral principles. When young, Nammyeong emphasized 'eui’ (righteousness) only. However, if the external moral judgement is emphasized without reflecting upon one's inner side, one is apt to judge others with moral principles only. Later Nammyeong realized indelge himself inte and repented his previous emphasis on 'eui' only. He thus paid attention to the cultivation of ’kyeong' (respectfulness), the cultivation of inner self. To Nammyeong, cultivating 'kyeong' (敬: respectfulness and self-restraint) meant keeping his mind harmonious with the sage's minds of the past through an in-depth understanding of their words and deeds. Such a mind then would have 'clarity’ which could enable one to judge things accurately and rightly. Based on this kind of inner cultivation, 'eui' would have a new meaning that the clear mind becomes the foundation of all the behavioral judgements, instead of blind application and enforcement of moral principles. In this sense, Nammyeong defined ’kyeong' as "making the inner mind clear and clean," and 'eui ’ as "judging the outside of mind." In practice, Nammyeong's 'kyeong’ enabled him to establish a strong moral character and an ego that could thoroughly monitor his inner side. Through 'kyeong,' which meant the agreement of his mind with sages' teachings, Nammyeong made efforts to build a strong moral mind that could overcome temporal and spatial limitations and exert limitless moral influences. The moral principle 'kyeong’, however, did not aim at expanding mind only; Nammyeong also tried to throughly identify and eradicate the individualistic greed of his inner self. Nammyeong's 'eui' on the other hand, was reality-oriented and enabled him to criticize the political and societal immorality. Never in his life did Nammyeong seek a position in the government; he devoted his life to educate students. However, he never withheld his concern with the political and societal situations of his time. Thoroughly armed with the moral principle of ’kyeong’, every one of his words and deeds became a direction pointer for the public opinions of the scholarly community of his time. Nammyeong's 'kyeong' and 'eui ’ meant the establishment of a strong moral character and the participation in reality based on such a moral foundation. These two concepts teach us that in this modern society, which weakens individuals' power by destroying the communal unity, we should raise our awareness of morality, restore the communal unity, and check the governmental and societal immorality.