230. Mind and Matter as Oneness with Dual Functions
1 The knowledge and experiences that the limitless human mind has accumulated allows us to name events, occurrences, structures, and other phenomena in life and in the universe that it recognizes.
2 What is the mind? It is said that the mind is not a physical organ nor is it a metaphysical faculty of senses, and that the events that are created by the mind come from living beings.
3 The mind cannot exist or function separately from living physical forms. Spirit and matter must coordinate with each other so that the body and the mind can be in harmony with each other, and the mind can develop consciousness. Hence, the definition of the mind is not derived exclusively from idealism or from materialism. Rather, mind and matter are of the same origin with dual functions.
4 The most exact words that describe the mind are found in an adage that was adhered to and passed down by Emperor Yao, Emperor Shun, and Emperor Yu. It appeared in the Book of Documents. This sixteen- word adage says that “Human hearts are unpredictable and are prone to do evil; the development of everything always begins from something small, thus the ruler of a country needs to be keen in senses and judgment, and always takes preventive measures; he should persistently explore the truths of all matters with an undivided mind and does not allow anything to interfere with his judgment; he needs to follow the law of nature and takes unbiased approach in running the country.”
5 The minds of saints and sages are superior to others because of their ability to focus. Everyone has the ability to focus without outside help. Recognizing how you can turn your thoughts into actions is recognizing the persistent effort of coordinating the interactions between mind and matter.
6 The human mind is materialistic and is filled with desires. The flesh is filled with acquired heavy yin etropons. The heart of Dao [the Dao mindset] is filled with yang etropons, which are emitted by the innate natural, pure, and lively spirit, and it is our conscience.
7 It is said that “the development of everything always begins from something small, [thus the ruler of a country needs to be keen in senses and judgment, and always takes preventive measures]” is referring to the buoyancy of the yang etropons, which is hard to maintain. Once the worldly human mind is stirred up with desires, that is, as the mind becomes vicious, the yang etropons become denatured and turn into heavy and murky yin qi. That is why “human hearts are unpredictable and are prone to do evil.”
8 Hence, the two mindsets influence each other. The Dao heart can dominate the human heart and vice versa, the human heart can influence the Dao heart. The Dao heart is spirit, the human heart is flesh. The conflict between the two has never ceased to exist. The conflict between spirit and flesh is why we cannot keep the conscience and human desires balanced.
Red Heart Monthly, August 1, 1946