Does the heart reflect the mind or the…

Does the heart reflect the mind or the mind the heart? In the first place, it should be known that the mind is the surface of the heart, and the heart is the depth of the mind. Therefore, mind and heart are one and the same thing. If you call it a mirror then the mind is the surface of the mirror and the heart its depth. In the same mirror, all is reflected. ‘Mirror’ is a very good word, because it applies to both the mind and the heart. If the reflection comes from the surface of the heart, it touches the surface. If it comes from the depth of the heart, it reaches the depth. Just like the voice of the insincere person: it comes from the surface and it reaches the ears. The voice of the sincere person comes from the depth and goes to the depth. What comes from the depth enters the depth, and what comes from the surface, remains on the surface.

I am grateful to Martin Cortazzi for pointing…

I am grateful to Martin Cortazzi for pointing out that a unitive

presentation of heart- mind has a long history. He tells me that

heart-mind corresponds to ‘xin’ in Chinese, (sometimes transcribed as

‘hsin’). (Peter Harvey also points out that ‘citta’ in Sanskrit, as

used in Indian Buddhism, has the same meaning)

Hansen (1989 p. 97) explains that ‘We use ‘heart-mind’ to translate

xin. This is because the philosophical psychology of ancient China did

not use a cognitive/affective contrast in their talk of well-honed

human performance…’

He also points out (1992 p. 20) that ‘The common translation of xin

as heart-mind reflects the blending of belief and desire (thought and

feeling, ideas and emotions) into a single complex dispositional


Tu ( 1985 p. 32) provides further evidence in saying:

…the Confucian hsin [xin] must be glossed as ‘heart-mind’ because it

involves both cognitive and affective dimensions of human relations.

This ‘fruitful ambiguity’ is perhaps the result of a deliberate

refusal rather than an unintended failure to make a sharp distinction

between conscience and consciousness. To Yang-Ming [Wang Yang-Ming,

neo-Confucian philosopher 1477-1529] consciousness as cognition and

conscience as affection are not two separable functions of the mind.

Rather, they are integral aspects of a dynamic process whereby man

becomes aware of himself as a moral being. Indeed, the source of

morality depends on their inseparability in a pre-reflective faculty.