1. Objectives This research aims to study the general overview of the theories on the covetous desire and the relevant theories on cultivation mentioned in Donguisusebowon (東醫壽世保元): Theories on Nature and Conduct (性命論).
2. Methods The theories concerning the covetous desire introduced in Dong-Mu's manuscripts, including Gyukchigo 格致藁), Yougocho (遺稿抄), Dongmuyougo (東武遺稿) and Jaejungsinpyun (濟衆新編), were comprehensively reviewed. Furthermore, the significance of the theories on the covetous desire and the relevant theories on self-cultivation were studied within the context of Donguisusebowon(東醫壽世保元): Theories on Nature and Conduct (性命論).
3. Results and Conclusions 1) Among the four covetous desires (selfishness (私心), indiscretion (放心), indolence(逸心), acquisitiveness (慾心)), selfishness and acquisitiveness are the interpersonal components that deal with the relationship between individuals, whereas indiscretion and indolence are the intra-personal or self-concerned components that deal with the internal desires within the individual.
2) In the early concepts on the quaternity explaining the perspective on the human being as introduced in Dongmu's earlier manuscripts, the four covetous desires are thought of as the most important etiological components, that are also intimately related to the theories of self-cultivation.
3) Among the concepts introduced in Donguisusebowon (東醫壽世保元): Theories on Nature and Conduct (性命論), viciousness (邪心) and negligence (怠心) are primary, intra-personal (self-concerned) desires that are henceforth matched to indiscretion and indolence, respectively, while selfishness (arrogance, assertiveness, indiscrimination and exaggeration (驕矜伐夸)) and acquisitiveness (violation, extravagance, slothfulness and stealthiness(奪侈懶竊)) are secondary, interpersonal desires.
4) ‘Preserving the mind (存其心)’ and ‘rectifying the body (修其身)’ are methods of overcoming viciousness (indiscretion) and negligence (indolence), the intrapersonal desires, while ‘nurturing the nature (養其性)’ and ‘propping the course (立其命)’ are methods of eliminating selfishness and acquisitiveness, the interpersonal desires, which ultimately each leads to the completion of Nature (性) and Conduct/Course (命).