(Translation) 李珥 答成浩原(壬申)

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李珥 答成浩原(壬申)1 答成浩原壬申



The theories of the sages and worthies are either horizontal or vertical, and each party has its point. If one tries to take the latter as the standard for the former or to make the former be coherent to the latter, then one of them will lose its proper meaning. The mind is single -- that which can either be called the human mind or the mind of the way. The feelings are single -- those which can either be referred to as the four inklings or the seven feelings (joy, anger, sadness, delight, like and dislike, and appetite). Speaking of them in some cases as the four inklings and in others as the seven feelings is because of the difference between speaking with exclusive reference to li and speaking of it as combined with qi. Thus, the human mind and the mind of the way cannot be combined, but rather are related to each other as end and beginning. The four inklings are not able to include the seven feelings, but the seven feelings include the four inklings. The mind of the way is subtle, and the human mind is perilous: Zhu Xi exhaustively explained it. The four inklings are not equal to the entirety of the seven feelings, when the seven feelings are not equal to the purity of the four inklings; that’s my humble opinion. Then, how is it that the human mind and the mind of the way are related to each other as end and beginning? Nowadays, people’s mind emerges directly from the correctness of the normative nature, but sometimes the former is not able to conform to the latter and follow it out, being interfused with private interests. Then, the mind starts as the mind of the way, but it ends as the human mind. Or sometimes, the mind emerges from the psychophysical constitution, but it does not diverge from correct li. Then, there is no departure from the mind of the way. Or sometimes, the mind diverges from correct li, but still knows what is wrong and takes control of it and hence does not follow the selfish desires. Then, the mind starts as the human mind, but it ends as the mind of the way. In general, the human mind and the mind of the way refer inclusively to both the feelings and the consciousness. They do not refer only to the feelings. The seven feelings are a comprehensive reference to the movement of the human mind as composed of these seven. The four inklings are a selective reference only to the good side of the seven feelings. Indeed, this is not like the explanation in which the human mind and the mind of the way contrast with each other. Moreover, feelings are a matter of the emergent emotion; the term does not include the discernment. Hence, this is different from the way the human mind and the mind of the way are related as the beginning and end. Then, how can one force the matter and make the human mind conform to the mind of the way? If one wants to explain things in terms of a two-sided contrast, he should follow the thesis of the human mind and the mind of the way. If one wants to explain only the good side, then he should follow the Four Inklings thesis. If he wants to explain both good and evil, then he should follow the Seven Feelings thesis. There’s no need to try to fit a square peg in a round hole and get everything confused. The four inklings and seven feelings are just like the original nature and the psychophysical nature.

李珥 答成浩原(壬申)2 之性。則不兼氣質而爲言也。氣質之性。則却兼本然之性。故四端不能兼七情。七情則兼四端。朱子所謂發於理發於氣者。只是大綱說。豈料後人之分開太甚乎。學者活看可也。且退溪先生旣以善歸之四端。而又曰。七者之情。亦無有不善。若然則四端之外。亦有善情也。此情從何而發哉。孟子擧其大槪。故只言惻隱羞惡恭敬是非。而其他善情之爲四端。則學者當反三而知之。人情安有不本於仁義禮智而爲善情者乎。此一段當深究精思 善情旣有四端。而又於四端之外有善情。則是人心有二本也。其可乎。大抵未發則性也。已發則情也。發而計較商量則意也。心爲性情意之主。故未發已發及其計較。皆可謂之心也。發者氣也。所以發者理也。其發直出於正理而氣不用事則道心也。七情之善一邊也。發之之際。氣已用事則人心也。七情之合善惡也。知其氣之用事。精察而趨乎正理。則人心聽命於道心也。不能精察而惟其所向。則情勝慾熾。而人心愈危。道心愈微矣。精察與否。皆是意之所爲。故自修莫先於誠意。今若曰四端理發而氣隨之。七情氣發而理乘之。則是理氣二物。或先或後。相對爲兩岐。各自出來矣。人心豈非二本乎。情雖萬般。夫孰非發於理乎。惟其氣或揜而用事。或不揜而聽命於理。故有善惡之異。以此體認。庶幾見之 The original nature refers to that which does not include the psychophysical endowment. The psychophysical nature, however, does include the original nature. Thus, the four inklings cannot include the seven feelings, but the seven feelings include the four inklings. What Zhu Xi referred to, i.e. the [four inklings are] aroused in li and the [seven feelings are] aroused in qi, is nothing but a general statement. How can later scholars separate them in such a severe manner? It is appropriate for scholars to read it flexibly. Moreover, Master Toegye, having already taken goodness and run it back to the four inklings, then goes on to say that the seven feelings likewise are without evil. In that case, there would likewise be good feelings apart from the Four Beginnings. According to what do those feelings arise then? Mencius was presenting a general outline. Therefore, he only mentioned commiseration, shame and dislike, modest complaisance, and approving and disapproving. And the other good feelings are also referred to as the four inklings. Scholars, hence, should learn three (out of one) and become fully aware thereof. How can there be any human feelings that are good but are not based on humanity, righteousness, propriety, and wisdom? (…) If, apart from the four inklings, there are other good feelings, then that would amount to man’s mind having two roots. Could that be true? In general, what is not aroused refers to the nature and, after it is aroused, it is feelings. When it is aroused and engages in discernment and consideration, it is consciousness. The mind is the master of the nature, feelings, and consciousness. Therefore, the conditions of discerning and considering what is not yet aroused and already aroused can all be referred to as mind. That which arouses (feelings) is qi. That whereby qi does the arousing is li. The cases of the arousal [of the feelings] emerging directly from correct li with no inference from qi are the mind of the way, which is a good aspect of the seven feelings. In cases where at the moment of arousal qi has already interfered are the human mind, which is the combination of good and evil in the seven feelings. In cases where one recognizes the interference of qi, exercises careful discernment, and follow correct li, then the human mind can listen to the mandate from the mind of the way. When one is not able to exercise careful discernment and consider one’s direction, then your feelings are to be replete with flaming desires and the human mind is all the more perilous and the mind of the way all the more subtle [and hard to realize]. The exercise of careful discernment is entirely a matter of the consciousness. Therefore, in cultivating oneself nothing has priority over making the consciousness sincere. Nowadays, if one says that in the case of the four inklings li arises and qi follows it, while in the case of the seven feelings qi arises and li mounts on it, then li and qi are as two things, one of which is anterior, one posterior, and they stand in contrast as two branches each with its own distinct emergence. How does this not amount to there being two foundations of man’s mind? As for the feelings, although there are myriad ramifications, which of these is not the arousal of li? It’s just that some are disrupted by qi and interfered with, while others are not disrupted and submit to li.
李珥 答成浩原(壬申)3 矣。別紙之說。大槪得之。但所謂四七發於性。人心道心發於心者。似有心性二岐之病。性則心中之理也。心則盛貯性之器也。安有發於性發於心之別乎。人心道心皆發於性。而爲氣所揜者爲人心。不爲氣所揜者爲道心。



Therefore, there are the differences between good and evil. If one can come to a personal realization of the matter in these terms, he will be close to a perfect understanding. As for the explanations you presented in the appendix, in general you had it right. But what you said about the four inklings and seven feelings being the arousal of the nature, while the mind seems to regard the issue of the mind and the nature as two [distinct] branches. The nature is the li within the mind. The mind is the vessel filled with and holding the nature. How could there be a distinction between the arousal of the nature and the arousal of the heart? The human mind and the mind of the way are both aroused by means of the nature. Those that are disrupted by qi are the human mind and those that are not disrupted by qi are the mind of the way.

(based on Michael Kalton’s translation)

李珥 答成浩原(壬申)4



李珥 答成浩原(壬申)5





李珥 答成浩原(壬申)6

氏之以作用爲性而猖狂自恣是也。徒知分之殊而不知理之一。則荀,揚以性爲惡。或以爲善惡混者。是也。昨書以爲未發之時。亦有不善之萌者。更思之。尤見其大錯。吾兄之不識大本。病根正在於此。未發者。性之本然也。太極之妙也。中也。大本也。於此亦有不善之萌。則是聖人獨有大本。而常人無大本也。孟子性善之說。爲駕虛之高談。而人不可以爲堯舜矣。子思何不曰君子之喜怒哀樂之未發謂之中。而乃泛言喜怒哀樂之未發謂之中耶。千萬不是。切宜速改。 右議論閒有先賢所未發者。不遇吾兄。未易辨論至此。於此相合。則無所不合矣。今世之所謂學者。豈無聰明才辯之人哉。可語此事者。殊不多見。見此論而不怪笑者。亦鮮矣。


Discussion Questions

Further Readings


  • The Four-Seven Debate: An Annotated Translation of the Most Famous Controversy in Korean Neo-Confucian Thought. Edited and translated by Michael C. Kalton, with Oaksook C. Kim, Sung Bae Park, Youngchan Ro, Tu Wei-ming, and Samuel Yamashita. Albany: SUNY Press, 1994.

Secondary scholarship



(sample) : Jaeyoon Song

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Student 1 : Yishu Ma

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Translation: The words of the sages, some are horizontal and some are vertical. Each of them has pointed objects. If you intend to use the vertical to regulate the horizontal, use to horizontal to suit the vertical, then you might lose the purport of the sages' words. The minds are one but we call it the mind of the Way and the mind of humans, it is the difference of the mind, the life, the physical existence, and the qi. The emotions are one, but some are called the four sprouts and some are called the seven emotions. This is talking about the differences of the principle and the qi specifically. Because of this, the human mind and the mind of the Way, they cannot combine with each other but can be the other's beginning and ending. The four sprouts cannot encompass the seven emotions, but the seven emotions can encompass the four sprouts. The mind of the Way is subtle. The human mind is perilous. That's what the teachings of Master Zhu are all about. The four sprouts are not as full as the seven emotions. The seven emotions are not as pure as the four sprouts. This is my humble opinion.

Student 2 : Samuel Sai Hay Chan 陳世熙 진세희

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The heart of human and that of the Way are both the beginning and ending form of each other. How is this so? Let’s say the heart of present people begins from the mandate of nature. But if such a heart is not followed wholly and swayed by self-motivations, then it is a heart that begins as a heart of the Way but ends as a heart of human. Or that the heart begins from qi but is driven by the right principle, then it is a heart of the Way. Or that the heart is driven by the right principle and knows its autonomy but does not follow its desires, then it is a heart that begins as a heart of human and ends as a heart of the Way. Therefore, when talking about the heart of human and that of the Way, one should include their emotions and will, but not only their emotions. The Seven Emotions are generally referred to as the movement of the heart of Human.

Student 3 : Younès M'Ghari

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Regarding these 7 here, as for the 4 inklings, I chose to discuss the [one] good aspect among the 7 sentiments. It is really not a conflict between the human mind and the mind of the way. And the sentiments are aroused that way. If they are not thought over, then it is neither the human mind and the mind of the way encompassing one another from the end to the beginning. They are so strong but would be ruled by each other? If you wish to discuss the two aspects, you should follow the sayings on the human mind and the mind of the way. If you wish to discuss the [one] good aspect, you should follow the sayings on the 4 inklings. If you wish to discuss the good and the bad simultaneously, then you should follow the sayings on the 7 sentiments. You should not come with a chisel1 and present your arguments one after another. The 4 inklings and 7 sentiments are just like the innate nature and the nature of the temperament. The innate nature does not encompass the temperament and so you should not mention it. The nature of the temperament is, on the contrary, encompassing the innate nature. Consequently, if the 4 inklings cannot encompass the 7 sentiments, then the 7 sentiments can encompass the 4 inklings.

1 將枘就鑿: intending to do things hastily, without good care

Student 4 : King Kwong Wong

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朱子所謂發於理發於氣者。只是大綱說。豈料後人之分開太甚乎。學者活看可也。且退溪先生旣以善歸之四端。而又曰。七者之情。亦無有不善。若然則四端之外。亦有善情也。此情從何而發哉。孟子擧其大槪。故只言惻隱羞惡恭敬是非。而其他善情之爲四端。則學者當反三而知之。人情安有不本於仁義禮智而爲善情者乎。此一段當深究精思 善情旣有四端。而又於四端之外有善情。則是人心有二本也。其可乎。 That which Master Zhu called aroused from the Principle and aroused from the Material Force are just general outlines. How did he expect later people divide them too much? It is appropriate that scholars actively read them. Moreover, Mister T'oegye (Toegye) reduces goodness to the Four Beginnings. And yet he also says that among the Seven Sentiments there is none not good. If so, then outside of the Four Beginnings there also exist good sentiments. From where are these sentiments aroused? Mencius raises the general ideas, thus he only speaks of being compassionate, being ashamed of evil deeds, being reverent, and being able to discern right and wrong. As to other good sentiments out of the Four Beginnings, then scholars should apply the general principles and know them. How are human sentiments not based on Benevolence, Righteousness, Propriety, and Intelligence and not be good sentiments? This phrase should be deeply investigated and finely thought out. As to good sentiments, they have the Four Beginnings, and yet out of the Four Beginning, there also exist good sentiments. Then it means that the Human Mind has two foundations. Can it be so?

Student 5 : 신동조

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Mostly, nature is something that is not aroused yet; sentiment already aroused; will aroused, consider, and conjecture. Lastly, mind is the master of nature, sentiment, and will. Therefore, mind became everything that is aroused, not aroused yet, and consider. Things that arouse is material force; things that are aroused is reason. If those aroused come directly from the correct reason, and material force is not functional, then this is the Mind of the Way. The Seven Sentiments is part of Goodness. So when it is about to arouse, and material force is already functional, then it is the Mind of Man. The Seven Sentiments is also what Goodness and Evil are combined. If we know the functionality of material force and closely investigate and follow the correct reason, then the Mind of Man will follow the order come from the Mind of the Way. If we don't closely investigate and let our nature run its course, then our sentiment would overwhelm and our desire blaze. Hence, the Mind of Man falls at risk and the Mind of the Way becomes trifling. It is all what will does whether or not we closely investigate. Therefore, there is nothing more important than sincerity of will to cultivate. Now if...

Student 6 : Stacey Lui

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The Seven Emotions manifests in Material Force (ki) and Principle (li) is mounted on it. Thus Principle and Material Force are two entities. One precedes and one comes after. They face one another as two branches and each has emerged individually. How is it that the human mind has two origins? Even if emotions are multiple vessels, what does not manifest from Principle? It is only that some Material Force is covered and intercepted. Some are not covered and heed orders orders from Principle. The difference there is in good and evil is thereby this embodiment [庶幾見之矣]. What is said in the appendix has been obtained through a general understanding. However, that which is called the Four Beginnings manifests from Nature. That the human mind and moral mind manifest from the mind is like an error of having two branches of the natural mind. The Principle of the mind's core is nature. The vessel of [盛貯性] is the mind. How is there a difference in the manifestation from nature and the manifestation of the mind? The human mind and moral mind are all manifested from nature but that which Material Force covers is considered the human mind. That which is not covered by Material Force is considered the moral mind.

Student 7 : Russell Guilbault

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Diagram of Heart, Nature, and Sentiment

Master Cheng said: "Human life is endowed with material force. Principle has good and evil." This penetrates deeply into man(?). The Eight Characters unfold this place(??). What is called principle, is the principle which rides on qi and spreads(?). It does not refer to li zhi benran. benran zhi li is originally pure and good, and it rides on qi and spreads(?). It splits into ten thousand different parts. The endowed qi has good and evil; therefore principle also has good and evil. Of course li zhi benran is purely good, and nothing else. The limit(?) of riding on qi is that it is uneven.(?) The peaceful arrives at worthy things, and the foul arrives at lowly places. [Yet] there is nowhere that principle is not. So, when it is in the peaceful, principle is also peaceful. When it is in the foul, principle is also foul. It is like using the foul to ???, then ?? foul things ???. The root is one with principle; what spreads is the many parts.

Student 8 : Q

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This is neglecting the principle whose flows and goings manifest in actuality and seeking an innate principle alternately. This cannnot be. In this case, it will also not be possible to speak of the innateness of the principle that is present both in what is good and what is evil. This concept of the unity of the principle and the heterogeneity of its diverse manifestations calls for an inquiry through experience, with utmost urgency. Vainly, many know only of the principle's unity and not the heterogeneity of its manifestations. Such is Mr. Buddha's claim of understanding human nature by observing its action and a self-indulgent and rabid madness. Similarly, many only know of the heterogeneity of diverse manifestations but not the unity of the principle. Such is the case of Xun Kuang and 양 who speak of innate evilness as human nature and of a mixture of good and evil. So it is. In the last letter, you(?) stated that the seed of evil is also present at the time before the manifestation. Reconsider. It seems a greater error on the second look. This is owing to your lack of understanding of the innateness. Therein lies the root of this disease, your misunderstanding.

Student 9 : (Write your name)

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Student 10 : Yeonjae Ra

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千萬不是。切宜速改。 右議論閒有先賢所未發者。不遇吾兄。未易辨論至此。於此相合。則無所不合矣。今世之所謂學者。豈無聰明才辯之人哉。可語此事者。殊不多見。見此論而不怪笑者。亦鮮矣。

I think this statement is utterly unreasonable, so (you) should correct it as fast. The discuss argued on the right side(of the letter) has unrevealed thing by ancient sages. If we haven’t met you before, it would not be easy to give discriminating consideration to this. If to this matches each other, there is nothing could not be matched. Nowadays among so called scholars, how there is no one who are not be intelligent and talented? (However) those who can refer to this things, we could not discover them in many ways. Also, there would be rare person those who are not laughing weirdly at this discussion.

Student 11 : (Write your name)

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Student 12 : (Write your name)

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Student 13 : (Write your name)

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Student 14 : (Write your name)

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