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 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
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.