The "two wheels on the chariot" of the Neo-Confucian approach to spiritual cultivation are Learning (Study) and Practice.


Learning includes but goes well beyond studying books, for Confucians always have viewed "true learning" as essentially a matter of character formation.  T'oegye devotes three chapters of the Ten Diagrams. Chapters Three, Four, and Five, to this important topic. The third and fourth chapters review two of the most important references for understanding Learning, the Elementary Learning and the classic Great Learning. The fifth chapter takes up the systematic question of how to go about study and relate it to practical self-cultivation. The Commentary on Chapter Five includes the following topics:


         On the Essence of Learning                                

         How to Read a Book                                        

         On Neo‑Confucians and Worldly Confucians            

         Learning and the Political World                           

         On Private Academies in Korea.                           



                  Practice interfaces with Learning and extends into considerations of spiritual discipline as it applies to both meditative cultivation and to one's conduct throughout daily life. T'oegye devotes a further three chapters to this topic: Chapters Eight, Nine, and Ten. Chapter Ten takes us through the course of a well-lived day. Chapters Eight and Nine describe the essential discipline of the life of the mind-and-heart. The Commentary on Chapter Eight includes the following topics:


         The Human Mind and the Mind of the Tao             

         The Essence of Cultivating the Mind‑and‑Heart.


The Commentary on Chapter Nine includes:


         The Centrality of Mind and Its Cultivation             

         Mindfulness through Propriety: Beginning from

            the External                                              

         Mindfulness as Recollection and Self‑Possession       

         Mindfulness as Reverence.


   For the psychological theory that constitutes the essential framework for this understanding of how to go about spiritual cultivation, see Chapter Six.