King Sejong practiced faithfully the Confucian policies that had been established with the foundation of the new Joseon dynasty. He was a typical Confucian king who repressed Buddhism, which had been the state religion in the preceding Goryeo dynasty. When he expressed support for a Buddhist event of repairing the sarigak at Heungcheonsa temple in the capital in the 17th year of his reign (1435), however, King Sejong came into conflict with his Confucian subjects. The opposition assumed various aspects in the process until the conflict came to an end, and the will of King Sejong was accomplished in the 24th year of his reign (1442). Previous studies have interpreted the Buddhismfriendly events of the Confucian King Sejong from the viewpoints of social, national, and religious necessity as well as of functionalism, usefulness, and practicability. This paper, however, pays attention to the reasoning structure of King Sejong. It aims to show that while Confucian subjects argued on the basis of Zhu Xi’s theory of heterodoxy, King Sejong employed zhongyong (doctrine of the mean) in the conflicts with his subjects on Buddhist events. In addition, this paper examines the relationship between Zhu Xi’s theory of heterodoxy and the theory of zhongyong, and gives ideological meaning to the arguments between King Sejong and his subjects.
Jachi tonggam hunui 自治通鑑訓義(Explanations on the Comprehensive Mirror for Aid in Government).
Jinsilu 近思錄 (Reflections on Things at Hand).
Sejong sillok 世宗實錄 (Annals of King Sejong).
Sishu daquan 四書大全(Great Collection of the Four Books).
Zhongyong 中庸(Doctrine of the Mean).
Zhongyong huowen 中庸或問(Questions and Answers on the Doctrine of the Mean).
Zhongyong zhangju 中庸章句(Commentaries on the Doctrine of the Mean).
Zhongyong zhangju daquan 中庸章句大全(Collection of Commentaries on the Doctrine of the Mean).
Zhongyong zhangju xu 中庸章句序(Preface to Commentaries on the Doctrine of the Mean).
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