These principles were well understood by the common man and hence formed the founding stone for the spread and popularity of Neo-Confucian beliefs to Japan and Korea. Spread of Neo-Confucian principles to Korea The credit of introducing Neo-Confucian philosophy to Korea goes to An Hyang who was deeply influenced by the writings of Zhu Xi. After reading the Complete Works of Zhu Xi, An Hyang made a copy of this work and brought it to Koryo in the year 1286. He made significant contributions to developing and spreading the principles of Neo-Confucian through promoting public awareness on Confucian ideas and Zhu Xi’s teachings.
The Chinese classics formed the base for further work in this direction. Subsequently, Neo-Confucianism gained rapid popularity and acceptance in the political regime of Korea and formed a significant part of the academic curriculum in major institutions. The contributions of An Hyang were further shaped by Chong Tojon, a leading political figure who was responsible for transforming the social and political institutions of the new dynasty. He developed the ideas held by Neo-Confucian thinkers to provide new perspectives to the philosophy of material force, mind-and-heart and principle.
His work Mind, Material Force and Principle exposed Chong’s views on these dimensions. “In the first two parts of this work, mind (for Buddhism) and material force (for Daoism) criticize each other, leading to the crucial third part, where principle, representing Nature and Principle Neo-Confucianism, exposes (in Chong’s view) the falseness in the underlying assumptions of both Buddhism and Daoism and presents Neo-Confucian principle as the only way that comprehends both mind and material force” (de Bary 559). Yi Saek, another leading Neo-Confucianists promoted the Confucian philosophy through academic institutions and debates that helped in sharing the perceptions and feelings of scholars after classes.
This practice helped in the propagation of Neo-Confucianist principles in Korea. The Korean history and culture was widely shaped by Buddhist beliefs and Daoism philosophies till the emergence of Confucianist school of thought. The dominance of Confucian beliefs and ideals is reflected in the Historical Record of the Three Kingdoms, an official historical compilation of Korean history and heritage (de Bary 561). Neo-Confucianism and influence on political culture in Korea Kwon Kun, one of the spiritual founders of Choson Korea outlined the basic principles of Neo-Confucianism in his treaties and commentaries (de Bary 563).
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