Essentials on Expelling Ignorance(擊蒙要訣)
A handbook of Confucian moral precepts developed for elementary students who have just begun learning.
This book was written by Yi I in 1577 to be used as an elementary education textbook for the promotion of Confucian virtues and cultivation of knowledge among young people. The book was published many times until the early modern period, just like the Chinese classic for elementary learning, “Sohak” (小學, lit. “Lesser Learning”).
“Gyeongmongyogyeol” (擊蒙要訣, Essentials on Expelling Ignorance) consists of the preface written by the author and the main text, which is divided into ten chapters to teach elementary learners how to lead a fulfilling life as summed up in the preface, encouraging them to set goals, act scrupulously, serve their parents faithfully, and get on well with other people. Characteristically, the end of the book contains illustrations of the procedures for various family rites, including funeral and memorial rites, as well as the author’s own theory of propriety.
Whereas the “Sohak” reflected Chinese sensibilities and academic traditions, “Gyeongmongyoyeol” reconstructed the contents from the Korean point of view to fit Korean sensibilities and academic traditions, displaying the author’s philosophical independence.