The term means cognitive activities of the mind. As there are different views on the relationship between the mind and the external world, people’s understanding of the mind’s cognitive process also varies. Some people emphasize the role of the mind in shaping ethical standards in daily life and making them a source of inner strength. Cognition of the mind is a prerequisite for moral cultivation and ethical living. As the mind is often in a blocked or unstable state, it needs to be nurtured with proper guidance before it can play its due role. However, others argue that the mind’s cognitive activities make one concerned about the evolving complexity of the external world and feel anxious about life. It is therefore necessary to get rid of the mind’s cognitive activities so as to leave the mind in a state of tranquility free from outside interference.
How can people appreciate Dao? The answer is to use one’s mind. How can the mind know? The answer is concentration of the mind in tranquility. (Xunzi)