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Korea's Great Buddhist-Confucian DebateThe Treatises of Chong Tojon (Sambong) and Hamho Tuktong (Kihwa)$
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Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780824853808

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824853808.001.0001

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On Mind, Material Force, and Principle (Simgiri p’yŏn)

On Mind, Material Force, and Principle (Simgiri p’yŏn)

by Chŏng Tojŏn (Sambong)

(p.45) On Mind, Material Force, and Principle (Simgiri p’yŏn)
Korea's Great Buddhist-Confucian Debate
A. Charles Muller
University of Hawai'i Press

An annotated translation of the second of Chŏng Tojŏn's three major treatises that criticized Chan/Sŏn Buddhist doctrine and practice. In this short but focused essay, Chŏng articulates one of the most basic and powerful arguments against the Buddhist doctrines popular in the Song and Koryŏ, attempting to show that the Buddhist doctrine is nihilistic, shallow, and incoherent. He does this by focusing on three concepts that are common to both traditions: "mind" (K. sim 心‎), "material force" (K. ki 氣‎), and "principle" (K. yi 理‎). In Neo-Confucianism, these three concepts are precisely defined in their place in their metaphysics and cosmology. In the Buddhist texts from which Chŏng cites, their definitions appear unstable and shallow, not reflecting proper distinction between fundamental and superficial (essence-function), and thus lead the practitioner into a hopelessly valueless system.

Keywords:   sim, xin, ki, qi, yi, li, , , , Chŏng Tojŏn, Zhu Xi, Cheng Hao

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