Author Topic: All is One Heart? Blofeld's notes on the translation of the chinese "hsin"  (Read 1516 times)


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From the Translators Notes in The Zen Teachings of Huang Po:

Huang Po’s Use of the Term “The One Mind”
The text indicates that Huang Po was not entirely satisfied with his choice of the word “Mind” to symbolize the inexpressible Reality beyond the reach of conceptual thought, for he more than once explains that the One Mind is not really MIND at all. But he had to use some term or other, and “Mind” had not often been used by his predecessors. As Mind conveys intangibility, it no doubt seemed to him a good choice, especially as the use of this term helps to make it clear that the part of a man usually regarded as an individual entity inhabiting his body is, in fact, not his property at all, but common to him and to everybody and everything else. (It must be remembered that, in Chinese, “hsin” means not only “mind,” but “heart” and, in some senses at least, “spirit” or “soul” - in short, the so-called REAL man, the inhabitant of the body-house.) If we prefer to substitute the word “Absolute,” which Huang Po occasionally uses himself, we must take care not to read into the text any preconceived notions as to the nature of the Absolute. And, of course, “the One Mind” is no less misleading, unless we abandon all preconceived ideas, as Huang Po intended.
     In an earlier translation of the first part of this book, I ventured to substitute “Universal Mind” for “the One Mind,” hoping that the meaning would be clearer. However, various critics objected to this, and I have come to see that my term is liable to a different misunderstanding; it is therefore no improvement on “the One Mind,” which at least has the merit of being a literal translation.

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Offline Shi Hong Yang

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This is why the critics howled.  This is the entire understanding of mine/spirit in chinese medicine and culturally in China.

The predominant model of the mind and/or spirit is mostly derived from the Five Element school of thought. The five aspects of the mind are Wood - Hun, Fire - Shen, Earth - Yi, Metal - Po, Water - Zhi. Collectively these comprise the Shen. This term includes the Fire Element Shen. Below are a very simplified definition of each aspect.

That which makes humans more than an object in motion.
•Shen - Mind
Waking consciousness, waking thought, the Shen resides in the Heart
•Hun - Ethereal soul
Somewhat like western notion of spirit, resides in the Liver.
•Po - Corporeal soul
Soul of the body, provides physiology, resides in the Lungs
•Yi - Intellect
Scholarly memory, resides in the Spleen
•Zhi - Will
Urge to exist, urge to do, willpower, resides in the Kidneys.
Notice that the five aspects are distributed throughout the body. There is no distinction between mind and body; they’re one entity. The ethereal affects the substantial and the substantial affects the ethereal. They’re both Qi which is manifesting as one person.

Chinese Buddhism is the oldest form of Buddhism in the USA, in 2013 it is 161 years old.  The first Buddhist temples were built in California in 1952 & 1854. Second oldest is Korean in 1900 and Japanese in 1902 both in Hawaii.


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