Xunzi 21 – Translated by R. Eno (3rd century BC Confucian Text)
What is the organ by means of which we can know the Dao? I answer, the 心 (heart-mind)! And what does the mind employ in order to know? I answer emptiness, oneness, and tranquility.
The mind never for an instant fails to store up things, and yet it possesses a certain quality of emptiness. The mind never for an instant fails to be filled with a plenitude, and yet it possesses a certain quality of oneness. The mind never for an instant ceases its constant movement, and yet it possesses a certain tranquility.
With birth, people come into consciousness. Possessing consciousness they come to have memory (same character for will power). Memory is the storehouse o the mind. And yet we say the mind retains an emptiness. Not allowing that which is stored up in the mind to interfere with the the mind newly receives – that is what we call “emptiness.”
With the birth of the mind, there is awareness. Being aware, the mind encounters multiplicity. By multiplicity I mean the mind being at once aware of different things. to be at once aware of different things is a plurality of awareness. And yet we say the mind retains a unity, a oneness. Not to allow one perceived thing to interfere with the perception of another thing – that is what we call “oneness.”
When the mind sleep it dreams. When at leisure, it constantly steals off its own track, and when sent on a mission it sets to making plans. Hence it is never without some form of movement. And yet we say the mind retains a tranquility.
Never to allow dreams or the play of the awakened mind to interfere with awareness- that is what we call “tranquility.”….
The human mind (心 – heart-mind) is like a pan of fresh water. If you place such a pan down and do not disturb it, dregs of sand will sink to the bottom and the water above will be clear and bright. You can look in the water and make out the hairs in your beard and eyebrows, the lines on your face. But should the slightest breeze pass over it, the sand below will be disturbed and the clarity of the water above will be destroyed. You wont be able to make out even large forms with accuracy. The mind is like this. If you shape it according to the natural grain of the world, nurture it with clarity, and do not let things unbalance it, then the mind will be able to discern the line between what is and what is not, what is good and what is bad.
It will be able to resolve all issues of doubt.
But the smallest thing exerts an attraction upon it, then it will be drawn off center by outside forces. once the mind is unbalanced within, then it will be unable to make out even the grosses features of natural grain of the world.
Here’s a video of Michael leading a short workshop at the Cardiovascular Research Foundation’s Women’s Heart Health Initiative in 2018.