A Theory of Harmonizing Mind and Body
On the whole, men are deemed precious but on an assumption that they abide by “the three fundamental
principles and the five moral disciplines in human relations (三綱五倫)” in Confucianism. Therefore, when people live in the world, they should first of all cultivate their mind and body, second, arrange their house, and third,
protect their nation.
Accordingly, men are obliged to protect their life by harmonizing mind and body together, as a house should be maintained by the efforts of parents and a wife and children, a nation should be preserved with the cooperation among the people. But, alas, our nation has suffered a miserable plight, most of all because of the lack of
cooperation among the people.
The cause of this disease called discord is arrogance. Lots of evil deeds are derived from arrogance. The
arrogant people are jealous of others who are superior to them, disdain those who are weaker than them, and struggle with others in order not to succumb to them. So, how can we cooperate together?
Only humility can rectify arrogance. How is it possible that people – as long as they are not animals – are in
discord when they lower themselves with a sense of humility and respect others and when they accept rebukes and are reluctant to scold others, and when they disclaim their own merits in favor of others?
In old times, a king called his royal children before his death and warned them, “When you still fail to cooperate after I die, you will be defeated by others, on the contrary when you join hands together, no one will beat you.”
As I take a view of the mountains and rivers of my homeland, I cannot endure watching the resentful deaths of my compatriots and hearing the sound the ancestors’ white bones being broken.
Wake up, my compatriots in Primorsky Krai. Haven’t you heard the news of the homeland yet? Have you forgotten that your family and relatives are living in Korea and your ancestors and graves still exist in the mountains and rivers of your mother country? It is the law of nature that, when roots are dried up, the branches and the leaves will be dehydrated, too. Likewise, as our compatriots sharing the same blood with our ancestors have already been humiliated, what should I do in the future? My compatriots, let’s break the two-letter words “bul-hwa” (不和, discord) and instead strongly abide by another two-letter words “gyeol-hap” (結合, cooperation) when we teach our children, so that young people will be fully determined to accomplish their mission with death-defying spirits.
Then, after we regain our sovereignty, we will gather together with our wives, children and relatives at a hall of independence, holding our national flag high, and shout together, “Hoorah! Korea has regained independence!” so that the six continents would shudder at the same time.
This article, which called for the necessity of recovering the nation’s sovereignty by harmonizing mind and body,
was written by Ahn and released at The Haejo Shinmun on March 21, 1908. It was translated in Korean by Yi Eun-sang.