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The stillness of the mind of the sage is the mirror of heaven and earth, the looking glass of the myriad things. Mair 1994: 119-120) Many scholars of Chinese philosophy have analyzed the mirror metaphor for the xin "heart-mind".

Harold Oshima (1983: 75) explains that for a modern Westerner who regards a mirror as a commonplace looking-glass, this metaphor "appears quite pedestrian and unexciting" until one realizes that the ancient Chinese imagined mirrors "to possess broad and mysterious powers." For instance, a mirror can reveal and control demons.

"Certainly this mirror symbolized a powerful connection with the greater powers of the heavens and, as such, would have served admirably as a model for the [xin]." For the early Chinese, mirrors were not simply passive "reflectors" of information, they offered accurate and appropriate responses to whatever came before them.

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From the left and right of the girdle [a son] should hang their articles for use—on the left side, the duster and handkerchief, the knife and whetstone, the small spike, and the metal speculum for getting fire from the sun [金燧]; on the right, the archer's thimble for the thumb and the armlet, the tube for writing instruments, the knife-case [or "needle-case" for a daughter-in-law], the larger spike, and the borer for getting fire from wood [木燧]. Legge 1885 27: 449, 450) Zheng Xuan's Liji commentary glosses musui as zuānhuǒ 鑽火 "produce fire by friction".

It is because the myriad things are unable to disturb his mind that he is still.

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