Gyeongwa Eom Myeong-seop was a Confucian scholar that tried to preserve the traditional values of Korea against the Western culture that rushed into the country at the beginning of the 20th century. He started to study the Confucian scriptures under many masters as a child and further advanced in his study under Geumjae, a pupil of Ganjae, after Korea took back its independence.
Facing the rapidly changing years from modern to contemporary times, he strived to revive the traditional values in a crisis of rupture by inheriting the heritage of moral philosophy in the spirit of "believing devotedly and enjoying learning" and guiding younger students in the spirit of "guarding morality at the risk of life." He tried to find answers in himself by reflecting on himself, was always alert to himself, and formed a foundation with the Confucian spirits of "trustworthy words and committed actions" and "acting based on accurate knowledge," ultimately wishing to reach the academic status of unity of words and actions.
In Korea, Neo-Confucianism continued through Toigye, Yulgok, Wooam, and Ganjae, whose studies were passed down to Geumjae Choi Byeong-shim. Gyeongwa understood the ideologies of Ganjae well and developed them based on his understanding, reflecting them in his education. He explained Seongsashimje(性師心弟:The human nature is the teacher, and the mind is the pupil) of Ganjae with Seongcheonshimji(性天心地:The human nature is the Heaven, and the mind is the Earth). He provided education in the belief that anyone could make a determination and become a saint.
In the dismal situations of his times, he took a stronger position as a moral philosopher rather than an inquirer into the philosophical concepts of Neo-Confucianism, by cultivating the body and mind mainly through the scriptures and practicing the morality of sages. It seems like a natural conclusion for him as he was living in an era of violent upheaval when the traditions collapsed and the values were changing rapidly. A period sense of duty is to recognize one's situations of his or her times and decide his or her scholarly duties accordingly. It is inevitably accompanied by self-reflection. It is only natural that people should first reflect on themselves before taking on the tasks of the times. The most basic attitude and obligation of scholars ask them to seek everything in themselves, find answers, and work hard to practice them since the logic of all things is inherent in them.
Gyeongwa's life was as intense as the changes during the period of violent upheaval. He practiced himself a sense of duty as a moral philosopher in spite of confusing values and social changes, and his spirit sets a good example of placing greater importance on practice than knowledge.