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xin heart mind

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I was looking into the term xin today, it’s certainly a very comprehensive word, a modern Chinese-English dictionary (Chen, 2001) translates xin as: heart; mind; feeling; intention; centre.

Xin was further described in an article as "the root of physical and mental life. It is the seat of all emotions, and embodies the inherent goodness of human nature and wisdom. Xin helps to guide the individual’s way of life and attitude, and can lead one to deep contentment."
 
http://www.academicjournals.org/article/article1379496939_Li%20et%20al.pdf

So though xin seems to be associated with heart and mind, it’s not heart and our Western notion of mind, but mind that exists in the heart?

 

How do people cultivate xin?

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it's just a word to describe anything mental and emotional, and has a very personal implication to it. In anatomy, the word xin is used for the heart, but Chinese words have very broad meanings, and can be used in different ways. Here are a few common ways of using the word xin. 

 

1. 心静 - xin (heart/mind) jing (calm, still).

this is used to refer to a person who is calm in a particular situation

 

2. 心里想 - xin (heart/mind) li (in/inside) xiang (think). 

this broadly means "what's on my mind"

 

3. 心话 - xin (heart/mind) hua (speech)

this term means: a type of speech is like personal talk, something you'd share with someone with an open heart to a close friend or family member.

 

4. 开心 kai (open) xin (heart/mind)

this term means: happy. although the literal translation would mean: open heart, you can see that the way westerners use the term "open heart" and the way that Chinese people use it are somewhat different. either way, when someone is happy, their chi becomes very yang and ni hua ching says that the chi flows to the brain when you are happy. 

 

In terms of cultivating it, you see plenty of public methods, such as meditation, qigong, yoga. although chi flowing to the head during happiness sounds like a good thing, i would say that to properly cultivate it, the result should be the first example that i used, which is 心静 (xin jing). the point is not to just raise chi up to the head as the end-all-be-all goal, but to have the freedom to do whatever with it. in order to achieve that, you need to reach a subtler vibration, which is broader and covers everything. a good analogy is like that of a rock, which is dense, heavy, and only stuck to the earth, in comparison to the sky, which is formless and encompasses everything, it is the true center. i can't cover everything, because 1 - there are many ways to express what i wrote, and 2 - i myself have a long way to go. but i hope what i shared gives some clear insight

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Thankyou 子泰, the association between happiness and chi flow especially is a truly valuable insight to me.


 

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I know you're looking for a special Daoist idea of 心 xin, but out of interest:

in general use in modern Chinese, it's not much different to the modern English word.

 

The below definitions come from English Google but can be applied pretty much the same in Chinese.

 

 

a hollow muscular organ that pumps the blood through the circulatory system by rhythmic contraction and dilation.

 

the region of the chest above the heart.

"holding hand on heart for the Pledge of Allegiance"

 

the heart regarded as the centre of a person's thoughts and emotions, especially love or compassion.

"hardening his heart, he ignored her entreaties"

 

one's mood or feeling.

"they had a change of heart"

 

the central or innermost part of something.

"right in the heart of the city"

 

the vital part or essence.

"the heart of the matter"

    

 

 

Some examples from linedict, where xin and heart/mind are used in the same way:

 

眼不见,为静。 

Out of sight, out of mind.    lit. Eyes don't see, heart/mind is quiet.

 

我最终还是伤了她的。 

I ended up breaking her heart.

 

我总怀着一颗感恩的。 

I have always had a grateful heart.

 

他把这些全部暗记在了。 

He has learned all this by heart.

 

那声尖叫穿透了我的。 

The loud scream pierced into my heart.

 

他把胜利的一刻铭记于。 

This winning moment was embedded in his mind.

 

你给的建议,我会牢记在。 

The advice you give me, I will take to heart.

 

他的真黑! 

He's so wicked!   lit. His heart is so black!

 

 

I suppose one meaning not strictly included in English is that of intent.

 

你安的什么? 

What are you plotting?

 

 

edit:

 

The authors of the article in the OP are correct that  心  has an important place in Chinese language and culture; but they seem to believe that because English doesn't have a one-size-fits-all word exactly like 心, there is no similar use in English-speaking places, no similar idea of a heart-mind, or of the heart being related to feelings. Of course there is.

 

The examples above illustrate some ways in which we associate 'heart' with emotions, physical and mental feelings, memories, etc, and how the Chinese use 'heart' in the same way as we do in many cases, including when referring to the centre/core of things (e.g. city centre = 市中).

Edited by dustybeijing
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a.良心 (with a good xin) ‘conscience’

b.誠心 (honest xin) ‘sincerity’

c.愛心 (loving xin) ‘loving heart’

d.善心(mercy xin) ‘kindness’

e.私心(selfish xin) ‘selfish; selfishness’

f.邪心 (evil xin) ‘wicked; evil heart’

g.貪心 (avaricious xin) ‘greedy’

h.偏心 (slanting xin) ‘partial, unfair’

Based on the examples above, it is possible to say in Chinese ‘This person has a good/honest/loving/ mercy Heart’, or ‘This person has a selfish/evil/avaricious/slanting Heart’. Clearly, xin can contain ‘good thing’ and ‘bad things’, whereas in English “one can say that Li et al. 81 someone ‘has a good/kind/warm/ loving heart’ but not that he or she ‘has a bad/evil/vicious/hating heart’”

(Wierzbicka, 1992).

 

This is just not true.

 

b. heartfelt

c. warmhearted

d. kindhearted

f. blackhearted, coldhearted, heartless

 

Also,

brokenhearted, fainthearted, halfhearted, hardhearted, heavyhearted, lighthearted, softhearted, wholehearted, heartsick, disheartened

 

So... there are lots of words in English that use the word 'heart' in good and bad ways referring to people and their emotions or intentions. And phrases, too:

 

change of heart

know by heart

to know in sb.'s heart

bleeding heart

eat your heart out

cross my heart

after sb.'s own heart (You're a man after my own heart)

in my heart of hearts

pour sb.'s heart out

take heart

with all sb.'s heart

from the bottom of sb.'s heart

etc

 

So...yeah.. that article is basically rubbish. I would ignore it. Find an article to explain xin that isn't trying to simultaneously undermine the variety and depth of the English language.

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How do people cultivate xin?

 

 

By working hard on the five elements as each regulate the corresponding emotion. Refine them all (IMA, foundation training, meditation, tree work, Chinese herbs, tailored diet (TCM principles), etc.) and work on your weaknesses (you need a Ba Zi reading for this).

 

Hope this helps.

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This is just not true.

 

b. heartfelt

c. warmhearted

d. kindhearted

f. blackhearted, coldhearted, heartless

 

Also,

brokenhearted, fainthearted, halfhearted, hardhearted, heavyhearted, lighthearted, softhearted, wholehearted, heartsick, disheartened

 

So... there are lots of words in English that use the word 'heart' in good and bad ways referring to people and their emotions or intentions. And phrases, too:

 

change of heart

know by heart

to know in sb.'s heart

bleeding heart

eat your heart out

cross my heart

after sb.'s own heart (You're a man after my own heart)

in my heart of hearts

pour sb.'s heart out

take heart

with all sb.'s heart

from the bottom of sb.'s heart

etc

 

So...yeah.. that article is basically rubbish. I would ignore it. Find an article to explain xin that isn't trying to simultaneously undermine the variety and depth of the English language.

Thanks dustybeijing, I wasn't particularly attached to that article anyway, I'm really just trying to understand the idea of heart/mind, and in what way mind is envisioned as being of the heart.

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Yeah..I got a bit carried away. Sorry.

 

I'd be interested to know thoughts on the difference between the heart-mind  心 xin  and the spirit/mind/psyche  神 shen

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I was looking into the term xin today, it’s certainly a very comprehensive word, a modern Chinese-English dictionary (Chen, 2001) translates xin as: heart; mind; feeling; intention; centre.

 

Xin was further described in an article as "the root of physical and mental life. It is the seat of all emotions, and embodies the inherent goodness of human nature and wisdom. Xin helps to guide the individual’s way of life and attitude, and can lead one to deep contentment."

 

http://www.academicjournals.org/article/article1379496939_Li%20et%20al.pdf

 

So though xin seems to be associated with heart and mind, it’s not heart and our Western notion of mind, but mind that exists in the heart?

 

How do people cultivate xin?

Cultivating the heart center is my major practice, and it has developed as I have developed more sensitivity to the heart center. Here I mean the energetic plexus, that although is all that nice stuff mentioned in the quote, is covered with a thick jungle of knots. It is the heart center that much of the habits of ego are somehow lodged. I have found that by paying attention to the emotional and energetic shifts of the heart center you can gain a much better understanding of your ego, and release some of that deeply buried "blockages". As your thoughts wander here and there, there is always an emotional communication from the heart center, generally in a form of negative feelings, such as lack, fear, greed, self-preservation. Most of our thoughts are ego-centric. Even if you switch to love, awe, appreciation, compassion, trust, etc, the knots will still remain because weve spent our entire lives unconsciously creating the knots and they are strong. This is why mindfulness of heart center is an invaluable practise.

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In qigong, we can work on dissolving blockages, which are found throughout the body, yet are often created by the mind and emotions though attachments. It is said that the organs, when they are not individually health, and when they are not in harmonious balance with each other, will send us signals.

 

In inner alchemy it is recommended to place the tongue on the roof of the mouth, and to keep the mouth closed breathing through the nose so gently only the mind can perceive it (not the ears). It is believed that the spirit of the heart can leak out through the breath and speaking, and yet we wish for the heart to be operating in a refined balance with all the other organs, as a cycling process. This is related to the balancing of the five elements mentioned by Gerard.

 

As the pressure of the internal emotions builds, we are often driven to do something about them. We talk about them to our friends to relieve the pressure. As they waft up into our minds we think about them, burning shen into thought-forms, which is another way of burning up our energy to relieve the pressure, even as any concept we attach to become the attachments we hold inside of us that create more potential blockages.

 

Yet when we are able to return within, and to answer the pressures by dissolving the blockages with pure yet gentle intention, stillness, peace.... room is created for proper cycling and refining. The emotions settle into the stillness and no longer vacillate, having times when they are strong and "happy" even though something else is weak and "unhappy"... instead they are all calm and settled, peaceful, accepting and allowing the guidance of the other bodily systems to help them operate as a community of one rather than attempting to fixate upon themselves.

 

Then the shen is able to be integrated and does not feel pushed up to escape out of the mouth, eyes, ears, etc. As it is not pushing up the mind is able to also find peace and calm, able to be open and receptive without constant cycles of thought.

 

So the idea here is that the spirit, the shen of the organs, as they tell us things about our internal imbalances, are the source of the thinking mind that does not stop.

 

There is a system called Non-Violent Communication, that attempts to help people connect to their needs, separating their needs from their wants, and separating their feelings from their interpretation of their feelings. It is fascinating to me how difficult it can be for us at first to step away from our tendency to intellectualize our feelings in some way. Why is it so hard to simply tune into our feeling of being sad, or happy, and leave it at that? When we do this, we find that just knowing the feeling is really enough. The feeling of being sad is enough to help us change our environment. We don't need to analyze it at all, we just need to accept it and change. The more NVC students are able to identify their needs and feelings without needing to intellectualize them, the simpler communicating and relating with others becomes, as there is no longer so much noise getting in the way.

 

So this perhaps can show how easily the heart (emotions) and mind (thoughts) can be organized as one system.

 

I wrote on a similar theme here.

 

Gerard's recommendation of knowing one's BaZi chart is important, as this can allow one to see what energetic 5-phase energies were in operation at the Year, Month, Day, and Hour one was born. It is important to note that there are many many different interpretations of BaZi these days, and I've even found that the calculations need a little adjustment at times to take account for the shifting amount of yin and yang in each day, and for the weather. The energetic balances at the time of one's birth can show if one's environment might be assisting to bias one toward certain phases and neglecting other phases. These overly emphasized or overly neglected biases could indicate difficulty in balancing these types of transformations in one's work on refining cyclical balances.

Edited by Daeluin
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Thanks dustybeijing, I wasn't particularly attached to that article anyway, I'm really just trying to understand the idea of heart/mind, and in what way mind is envisioned as being of the heart.

 

It's just a part of something bigger...you need to realise about it through practice, we can discuss it for the next 20 years and still you won't be able to understand.

 

In essence, Heart, the greater yang (fire, the sun), the commander, fed by the Liver, lesser yang (wood, the trees), the general (puts into practice the rules set by the commander) in turn fed by the Kidney, greater yin (water, the 'ocean'), and so on. You can see the role of the heart/mind in that regard. It rules above like the sun does.

 

The spirit is the underlying core behind the Heart + Lver + Kidney + Lung + Spleen. You are a collection of the five elements in the physical plane (Yang); on the other hand, in the Yin (spirit world) you are pure spirit, obviously, which has a totally different consciousness that the one you are experiencing here and now. It's pure it vibrates at a very, very high level and is very wise (but wisdom also comes with life experience and your evolution as a 'soul') but also very attached to the 'pleasures' (sensory attachment) that yang gives.

 

Then we have the Tao, Nirvana, when the spirit reaches that level, oh boy! One needs to experience it to first hand, a totally different ball game, for sure. I look forward one day to getting to it, as we all do, don't we? :)

 

 

Note: One can see now why Taoism was developed and refined in the mountains and seekers lived in the natural world. In order to refine well the 5 elements, trascend the ordinary, merge with the spirit world, and ultimately return to the state of Tao. Society is a hindrance during the entire process, too many distractions, too many blockages that are very difficult to dissolve if one lives having to cope with a job, familty to look after, etc. You can live in society and be a Taoist but realistically your level will be low to medium, never expect to reach greatness while working 9-5, unfortunately.

Edited by Gerard
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If I may add, I think "xin" is what we call mind. So, initially when starting the practice a person does not have an access to his/her xing and works with a xin. Xing, in its turn, is a true nature of the heart.

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Nice to know! In Ukraininan and Russian "heart" also represents emotions, feelings and so on, seems same to English and Chinese.

 

When I calm down my heart in meditation I feel some kind of internal happiness. But i disappears soon after I finish the practice :(

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Cultivating the heart center is my major practice, and it has developed as I have developed more sensitivity to the heart center. Here I mean the energetic plexus, that although is all that nice stuff mentioned in the quote, is covered with a thick jungle of knots. It is the heart center that much of the habits of ego are somehow lodged. I have found that by paying attention to the emotional and energetic shifts of the heart center you can gain a much better understanding of your ego, and release some of that deeply buried "blockages". As your thoughts wander here and there, there is always an emotional communication from the heart center, generally in a form of negative feelings, such as lack, fear, greed, self-preservation. Most of our thoughts are ego-centric. Even if you switch to love, awe, appreciation, compassion, trust, etc, the knots will still remain because weve spent our entire lives unconsciously creating the knots and they are strong. This is why mindfulness of heart center is an invaluable practise.

 

Yes, I have found exactly the same in the heart area, for me it's been a place to become aware of and address ego issues.

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By the way guys do you feel heart being in the left as it being taught in anatomy or is it closer to the middle of the body?

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By the way guys do you feel heart being in the left as it being taught in anatomy or is it closer to the middle of the body?

 

I can only tell for myself - I feel it right in the middle - especially when it hurts - if I am sad, or did something wrong.

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By the way guys do you feel heart being in the left as it being taught in anatomy or is it closer to the middle of the body?

 

Here is a google search:

It might be a shocker for some of you, but hearts isn't really located on the left side of your chest. It lies between the right and left lungs, in the middle of the chest and slightly towards the left of the breastbone. The heart is enclosed in the pericardium which is a double layer.

 

https://www.google.ca/search?q=location+of+heart&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&gws_rd=cr&ei=qCJQWNPtA43mjwPq86S4DA

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Here is a google search:

It might be a shocker for some of you, but hearts isn't really located on the left side of your chest. It lies between the right and left lungs, in the middle of the chest and slightly towards the left of the breastbone. The heart is enclosed in the pericardium which is a double layer.

 

https://www.google.ca/search?q=location+of+heart&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&gws_rd=cr&ei=qCJQWNPtA43mjwPq86S4DA

 

Cool. Thank you!

 

It is exactly how I feel in practice.

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On 11/12/2016 at 6:05 PM, Kara_mia said:

If I may add, I think "xin" is what we call mind. So, initially when starting the practice a person does not have an access to his/her xing and works with a xin. Xing, in its turn, is a true nature of the heart.

 

Just re-reading this thread today, and I found Kara_mia's comment to be potentially enlightening, and something I wasn't able to grasp when it was made. Xing when the heart returns to its true nature, xin when it is confused and made sick by the part of the mind that interferes with the true nature of the heart. 

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In a similar vein, cultivate the heart but remove the thoughts that interfere?

 

修 心 靜 意 But when you cultivate your heart/mind and still your thoughts,

道 乃 可 得 Dao can then be attained.

From the Neiye (trans. Linnel)

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Xin is indeed a hard concept to understand ... and I am still working on it.

 

I dislike using the word mind because for a westerners it evokes a sense of understanding and knowledge that does not account well for all notions of understanding and awareness, which I feel Xin is expressing. I have provisionally accepted heart-mind, as many others have done, because it is a device that for a westerners can be a subtle reminders of the greater sense of meaning we try to understand.

 

But all of the definitions above, while certainly valid in their various contexts, still do not seem adequate. Most of these are referring to conditions of the heart. Condition of the heart certainly has a place in these discussions, but still something feels missing. I think it may be conveying a sense of process that is missing.

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1 hour ago, OldDog said:

Xin is indeed a hard concept to understand ... and I am still working on it.

 

Agreed. I imagine understanding 'xin' is key. 

 

1 hour ago, OldDog said:

I dislike using the word mind because for a westerners it evokes a sense of understanding and knowledge that does not account well for all notions of understanding and awareness, which I feel Xin is expressing. I have provisionally accepted heart-mind, as many others have done, because it is a device that for a westerners can be a subtle reminders of the greater sense of meaning we try to understand.

 

The West is starting to refer to the 'heart-brain', eg here, maybe it's the same search, just a couple of millenia later? 

 

1 hour ago, OldDog said:

But all of the definitions above, while certainly valid in their various contexts, still do not seem adequate. Most of these are referring to conditions of the heart. Condition of the heart certainly has a place in these discussions, but still something feels missing. I think it may be conveying a sense of process that is missing.

 

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My understanding of the process is that the mind interferes with the xin, and for the xin to revert back to its original nature the mind and the xin need to be untangled. Perhaps the heart has its own consciousness, which is drowned out by our dominant head consciousness, and the work is to give back a sort of autonomy to the heart.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Bindi said:

Perhaps the heart has its own consciousness, which is drowned out by our dominant head consciousness ...

 

Yes, this is the direction I am leaning ... due, in no small part, to the link you provided on the Chinese model of cognition. While i don't always agree with some of the author's conclusions, these discussion have helped me to explore the potential for different meaning in key concepts, as I seek a better understanding.

 

I have always been uneasy with a mind centered notion of awareness. After all, most meditative traditions teach some form of letting mental activity go ... quieting the mind. But if that is accomplished then what is there left to attain awareness. The heart may qualify, but then what is the heart ... what role does it have in cognition. And are there other bodily aspects to cognition ... awareness. This is what I think the Neiye teaches ... a set of physical practices that are simple and direct without a lot of ornamentation to detract from the real goal.

 

Just an opinion.

 

 

 

Edited by OldDog
Manually correcting the autocorrection
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