총 32페이지

10페이지 본문시작

Story of yeonggi
Written by Park Sung-youn
Illustrated by Kim Jinny
Yi Ji-ham, better known by his penname, Tojeong was the au-
thor of “Tojeong Bigyeol,” and an eccentric figure who left a
mysterious mark on Korean history. He was a Joseon
Dynasty(1392-1910) confucian scholar who deliberately earned
a meager but honest living believing “The more wealth you
have, the more calamity it brings upon you.” Having a strong
desire for learning, Tojeong began devoting himself to his stud-
ies at an early age. However, despite the fact that he possessed
extraordinary talent in a variety of scholastic areas, including as-
tronomy, geography, rhythmics, arithmetic, medicine and div-
Hwa-am Seowon, a memorial hall for Tojeong, Yi Ji-ham
ination, Tojeong never boasted about his great learning and
profound knowledge, nor coveted a high government position.
Tojeong was born on Sept. 20 (by the lunar calendar) in
1517 during the reign of King Jungjong as a sixth-generation
descendent of Mokeun (pen name) Yi Saek, who was held in
After a while, he told the servants, “There are many people in
high esteem as a scholar during the late Goryeo Dynasty(918-
our country who have nothing to eat, yet others who are too
1392). He had three elder brothers, Ji-young, Ji-beon and Ji-
extravagant in their eating and drinking. The fact that they like
mu. After the loss of his parents early in his childhood, Tojeong
to eat while sitting comfortably is also a problem.” After point-
was taught by his second brother, Ji-beon. According to histo-
ing out the vanity of offering people such elaborate meals, he
ry, Ji-beon, who was very intelligent and possessed a marked
ordered the servants to bring him only a bowl of boiled rice and
individuality, exerted great influence on Tojeong’s character.
grains and a bowl of vegetable soup. This story is told even to-
After getting married, Tojeong built a 3-meter high clay
day as an example of someone who practice what he preached.
hut on the bank of the Han River and lived there. At night, he
Upon taking office as the Governor of Pocheon, Tojeong
slept in the hut and during the day, he went up on the roof and
set up the first government-run employment office in Korean
spent time looking at the boats plying the waters of the river or
history called “Geol-in-cheong” (Government Office for
reading “Juyeok.” People commonly called the house
Beggars). The office was in charge of helping beggars find
“Tojeong,” which means an “earthen dugout,” and he took it
jobs. Setting up “Geolincheong,” the equivalent of today’s so-
as his penname.
cial-welfare organizations, was a controversial move at the
It was in the spring of 1573, during the reign of King
time. The following year, Tojeong made another recommenda-
Seonjo when Tojeong was 56 years old, that he began his ca-
tion for the welfare of the common people. But after the royal
reer as a government official. His first position was as the
court rejected his recommendation, he resigned his post.
Governor of Pocheon County, Gyeonggi Province. There is a
Tojeong was not only a benevolent man and a free spirit
The Author of “Tojeong Bigyeol”
well-known story about Tojeong’s first day as Governor of
but was also known to have divination skills. Along with the
Pocheon. On that day, Tojeong went to the Pocheon County
Buddhist monk Seo-san-dae-sa, Confucian scholar, Yi Yul-gok
Tojeong, Yi Ji-ham
Office on foot, wearing ragged clothes and straw shoes. It was
and Admiral Yi Sun-sin, he is known as one of the few people
not what the people had come to expect from such a high gov-
who predicted the outbreak of “Im-jin-we-ran,” the Japanese
ernment official. In the evening, a male servant brought
invasion of Korea in 1592. Historic records have it that
At the beginning of the new year, it is customary in Korea to have one’s fortune told. Many fortunetellers base their predic-
Tojeong a table with a feast fit for a king. However, Tojeong
Tojeong could tell a person’s fortune just by the shape of his
gazed at the table with a blank look and said, “There’s nothing
face and the sound of his voice. Much of his knowledge on
tions on a time-honored Korean divination text titled “Tojeong Bigyeol”(To-jeong’s Secrets). Written by a scholar named Yi
to eat.” Thinking that Tojeong didn’t like the dishes on the
divination he compiled to make the book, “Tojeong Bigyeol.”
Ji-ham (1517~1578) during the reign of King Seonjo in the mid-Joseon Dynasty, the Tojeong Bigyeol is a kind of a guidebook
table, servants reset the table and offered others. Still, Tojeong
Even today, many fortunetellers refer to this ancient text to tell
on one’s destiny. The book is, for the most part, based on “Sangsuhak” (Study of Images and Numbers) with the adoption of
continued to reject the food, saying “There’s nothing to eat.”
people’s fortunes.
some elements from “Juyeok” (I Ching or Book of Changes).
19
january 2007
Gyeonggi The Heart of Korea

10페이지 본문끝



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