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정희수 칼럼

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  Dr. Joseph Chung - Column
 정희수 칼럼



The same senior person continued:  “It is true that these legacies do have shortcomings. According to Daoism(道敎), the nature is governed by Do or force. Now there are two Dos: the positive and the negative. The relation between the positive and the negative is not that of confrontation but that of harmony. According to Daoism one should not try to prevent the normal course of the Do. However this Daoist perception is about the nature; the original Daoist did not apply it to human beings. When it is applied to human beings, the kind of positive-negative harmony is not possible. Surely there are positive and negative elements in human society: honesty and dishonesty, peace and war, stability and instability, light and dark, men and women, social justice and injustice” explained the professor at the seminar.

But, in human society, the relationship between these two Dos is not one of harmony but more often one of confrontation. This is so because human beings are all sinners. Suppose that we apply Daoism to human society with no intervention; suppose that we let the society to continue its natural course; and suppose that the ordinary people accept the society as it is. What will surely happen is this; the power, the wealth will be concentrated in the hands of the few and the society will be corrupted. This is what is happening in Asia, now”, declared the senior person.

“ Sir, how about Buddhism?”, asked one of the students.
“ I think that Buddhism in Korea has surely contributed to the culture, arts, architecture and the philosophy in Korea. The Korean Buddhism is the Seon (善) Buddhism which is quite different from Buddhism practiced India and Southeast Asia.

In the Seon Buddhism, one does not seek for Hirvana resulting from good conducts in life but try to become oneself a Buddha through meditation. The outcome of this approach makes us passive, introvert and disinterested in social sins such as social injustice, destruction of the environment, violation of human rights”. One of the middle aged men offered an interpretation.

A lady on her part commented on Confucianism (劉敎): “ I like to say something about the Confucianism. You see, Confucianism is essentially a body of principles of human relations. Human relations treated in Confucianism are king-subject relation, parents-children relation, husband-wife relation, elder sibling - younger sibling relation and between-friend relation. The amazing thing is that the Confucianism does not deal the relation between neighbors. This is a good contrast to Christianity”.
“Now the Confucian relation should be governed by two principles: Hyo (孝) and Inn(仁). The Hyo is the filial piety and requires that a person of lower social rank (or family rank) obey a person of higher rank; this is the principle of obedience On the other hand, the Inn requires that a person of higher rank look after a person of lower rank; this is the principle of benevolence and compassion”, observed an elder of a church.
“I think that the lady has pointed out well the heart of Confucianism. What Confucius preached was the balance between Hyo and Inn; he was preaching the virtue of order and stability of the society; this is possible only if there is a proper equilibrium between the two principles. So, a good king can require his subjects to obey his royal wish, but he must develop, on his part, the economy to feed his people, to house them and provide clothing for them” added Kim.
“But the aristocrats (Yangban class) during the Chosen dynasty stressed the Hyo and ignore the Inn; this led to the concentration of power and wealth in their hands; the outcome was the corruption of the leaders. This tradition of corruption still prevails; it is even worse than it was during the Chosen dynasty. The skewed Confucian relation in favor of the persons of higher rank and ensuing corruption is found in every corner of the Korean society including even universities and churches, let alone the business world”, continued Kim.

Kim had to accept the fact that the spiritual and cultural legacy he had received in Korea was not all positive. But he read somewhere that such legacy made possible the “Miracle of River Han”. He read that this miracle was made possible by the leadership of President Park Chung Hee, but the devotion, the suffering and the hard work of millions of workers and the ordinary people were the key.
<to be continued>