VOLUME 7 ISSUE 2 FALL 2021

S p i r i t ua l i t y S t u d i e s 7 - 2 Fa l l 2 0 2 1 4 1 Seongmin Hong in tranquility refers to the way of realizing equilibrium, which is the return to one’s essential state. Thus, Zhu Xi devoted himself to nourishing in the unaroused state. In this sense, Yeoheon’s reverence in tranquility after retirement was also intended to return to this essential human state. More importantly, however, returning to the essential state has deeper metaphysical implications. According to Neo-Con- fucian metaphysics, equilibrium does not refer only to the state of human nature but is regarded as equivalent to the great foundation of the world. Zhongyong says, “ What Heaven imparts to man is called human nature ” (Chan 1969, 98), this implies that Heaven’s mandate is equally inherent in the human mind. Therefore, Mou Zongsan (1974, 26) pointed out: “ The Way of Heaven [Note: Zh. Tiandao ] is so elevated that it has a transcendent implication. However, when Heaven enters the human body and becomes immanent in it, it becomes human nature. At this point the Way of Heaven is immanent. The Way of Heaven, therefore, is transcendent on the one hand, and imma- nent on the other .” Neo-Confucianists believed that transcen- dence could be obtained from the human inner mind, not from something beyond the world. When realizing equilibri- um, one can become the subject of the universe, and further achieve the unity of the Self and the universe. At this stage, the universe can be completed while Heaven and human interact without any ontological gap between them. In this sense, in Confucianism, quiet-sitting meditation (Zh. Jingzuo ) was regarded as an important method of cultivation. Because it is a mysterious experience of becoming one with the entire universe [5]. In the phase two, he emphasizes that it is necessitated to peruse the classics of sages relentlessly, since reading of the classics is not only the most important way in investigations of things but also a spiritual exercise in Confucian tradition (Ching 2003, 91). He thought reading the classics was an im- portant discipline for self-transformation. Zhu Xi’s thoughts on reading the classics confirm these thoughts. Zhu Xi (1986, 161) refers to the need for reading as follows. Reading the classics is secondary. The truth of life is all in ourselves. The reason we should read the classics is that we have not experienced much of the world, but the sages experienced many things, wrote them in books, and showed them to us. As we read the classics now, we should only know those many truths. And when we understand them all, they are all our own, not added suddenly from outside. According to Zhu Xi, the study of the sage’s classics is not an end. The truth is already in us, but the classics contain only the experiences of sages who have realized the truth. Thus, it is essential to discover and realize the truth in ourselves by means of the many experiences of the sages in the scrip- tures. In short, it can be said that the purpose of reading is not to acquire knowledge, but to understand human nature and enhance spirituality. In this respect, Jang said that he appreciated the meaning of the classics, thereby cultivated human nature. How, then, can we have an experience and recurrence of the experiences of sages as our own, thereby realizing the ulti- mate truth we are originally endowed with? In other words, how should the sage’s classics be perused not only for the expansion of knowledge, but also for spiritual discipline and the realization of ultimate truth? For this, a reader should not understand experiences of the sage either in the literal way but re-enact them in the reader’s existential situation. When sage’s experience is vividly transferred to the reader’s experi - ence, the truth is connected within the reader’s spirituality. To achieve this end, it is necessary for the reader to practice and experience the teaching of sage directly. That is, it is to real- ize it deeply through one’s own experiences and self-reflec - tion, and to internalize into one’s own existential experience. In this sense, much of the experience during life helps us to understand the profound meaning contained in the classics. An old man who has experienced numerous experiences over a long period of his life will be able to better understand the truth. Yeoheon re-explored the meaning of the classics that he recited in the past as he grew older because the accumulation of time and experience would allow them to understand the meaning of the classics more brightly and to internalize the truth contained in the classics more deeply. The important thing in the reading of the classics is to deep- en and realize the true meaning of classics within oneself and make it an asset of one’s spirituality and faith. Then, let’s look at the state reached as a result of the cul - tivation corresponding to the phase three. According to Yeoheon, one someday reaches an ultimate stage where one understands the nature of the universe in the process of continuing to cultivate. Zhu Xi called it the stage of a wide and far-reaching penetration (Zh. huoranguantong ). At this stage, total substance and great functioning of the mind is completed, and the qualities of all things, whether internal or external, the refined or the coarse things, will all be appre -

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