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Understanding the Heart-Mind Within the Heart-Mind of the Nèiyè (Inward Training)


The Nèiyè 內業 (Inward Training) talks of “a heart-mind (xīn 心) within a heart-mind” that is somehow connected to or prior to language. In the context of the overall advice on looking “inward” or “internally” as part of the meditation and mysticism practice that the Nèiyè introduces, this talk of a heart-mind within a heart-mind arguably invites comparisons with a Cartesian “inner theater” conception of mentality. In this paper, I examine the “inner” talk of the Nèiyè in order to tease out its identifiable commitments in philosophical psychology. I consider the ways in which the “inner” talk of the text might be read as marking out one or more of three different inner/outer distinctions, and I argue that we can consistently read the Nèiyè without seeing it as marking any inner/outer distinction that is related to what is often referred to in English as “inner experience.”

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Correspondence to Steven Geisz.

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Geisz, S. Understanding the Heart-Mind Within the Heart-Mind of the Nèiyè (Inward Training). Dao 15, 393–412 (2016).

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  • Nèiyè 內業
  • Inward training
  • Heart-mind
  • Inner experience
  • Philosophical psychology