Heart / Mind
The heart, a vital organ of life, underpins one’s emotions, awareness, and value judgments. Different from the ears, eyes, nose, and mouth, which sense the outer world in a passive way, the heart is capable of thinking and performing intellectual and moral evaluations on the basis of analyzing and sorting out what these organs have sensed. Mencius believed that the heart consists of four aspects: compassion, deference, sense of shame or detestation, and conscience. Preserving and expanding one’s good heart is the central aim in practicing moral teachings. According to Daoism, a serene and uncluttered heart is the highest state for a human being, much like a peaceful pool of still water. Such calmness is the way in which the heart can capture the essence of all things in the world.
The sensory organs like ears and eyes cannot think. Therefore, they tend to be overwhelmed by the representation of external objects, and be led astray by those objects when coming into contact with them. The heart, however, is an organ capable of thinking. Thinking yields insight, while lack of it will get one nowhere. (Mencius)
Heart is the dominant organ of one’s body. (Classified Conversations of Master Zhu Xi)