Study the Past

Ongōji Shin

‘Learn from the Past’

Ongōji Shin means to learn the old and know the new. That is, after the past traditions and history are understood, new knowledge must be acquired in order to become proper knowledge.

In his Analects in the Wei Zheng (爲政), Confucius said the following about the qualifications of a teacher: If you learn the old and know the new, you can become a teacher. [溫故而知新, 可以爲師矣.]

The ancient things that Confucius spoke of refer to various cultures and systems during the Zhou Dynasty, which was the Taiping Dynasty. He emphasized that in order to correct the chaotic world of the time, it is necessary to learn and imitate the culture and spirit of the great prehistoric era.

In this way, Ongōji Shin means that one must first fully master the traditions, history, and sciences of the past, and then learn new things on the basis of them. In particular, Confucius mentioned the role of imparting knowledge as an important virtue and attitude required of a true teacher.

The synonym for Ongōji Shin is “Dharma Innovation” (法古創新), which means to create something new by imitating the old law.

Source: Doosan Encyclopedia