I have read from abhidhamma book saying that our thoughts generate inside heart and heart is invisible to naked eye and untouchable. this statement in abhidhamma can't be accepted with modern day science. my certain question is when heart transplant took place what happen to person's thoughts? will the thought of heart owner transfer to the patient? Can someone give proper explanation on this?

3 Answers 3


Heart (Sanskrit hridaya) also means mind. The same is true for Chinese Xin, Japanese Kokoro and the like. The etymology might be: hrid - center, ayam - this. In Tantric Buddhism it is said that heart, or more precisely "Heart center" is located in the center of the chest, on the central channel. It is considered to be the seat of mind, or "the seat of Pure Consciousness". Similar views can be found in Hindu yoga, Taoism and other ancient teachings.

It is said that the central point of mind can move up and down along the central channel, and when unwholesome emotions arise, such as greed or anger, it shifts to the left or to the right from the central channel.

More details can be found in Tibetan Buddhist literature.

So I guess that the text you mentioned speaks not about the physical heart. And I think that modern knowledge of anatomy or physiology does not invalidate these views, because they are the result of contemplation of energies by means of our feelings. Even if modern science "doesn't know those kinds of energies", it's clear that our feelings can be interpreted as movements of energy.

For example, we might say: "I felt all my energy drained", or "Seeing that smile I felt that new fresh energy fills me", and the like. If you think about it, these feelings are not less real perceptions than what we see with our eyes. So they don't need to be kinds of physical energy, it's enough that they are real as our perceptions, and their knowledge can be used in training our mind and improving our lives.

PS. Some interesting references:


Abhidhamma says heart base. This is physically in the areas where the heart is but not necessary the physical organ. This is where mind resides in a pint point area where the heart is, through the body functions are controlled by the brain.

See: Abhidharmartha Pradeepika By Amaradasa Rathnapala, vol 1, p23 - p25; A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma by Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, p144

If a heart transplant takes place it is the physical organ which is changed. It is not the mind which is changed which depends on the materiality of the heart's location. Therefore heart base does not change with heart transplant. Also the mind is not physical though it depends on materiality of the location. When the new heart is put in would operate based on the materiality of the new heart.

  • Can you explain little bit more about "heart base". Because i have a sinhala abhidhamma book here with me written by Prof.Renukane chadavimala thero saying about only heart.If you can read "Abhidhamma margaya" page 114 vastu sangrahaya. This is confusing! Jul 10, 2017 at 12:42
  • It is said the mind is in a pinpoint location around there the heart is, this is the heart base. Jul 10, 2017 at 12:47
  • Is this cope with modern medical science? As we know,heart is a pump which circulate blood all over the body carrying oxygen and nutrition to brain and all other organs. Can we accept that Buddha made statement like this? Jul 10, 2017 at 13:34
  • 1. What would happen to the Vinnana during the time of an open heart surgery where the heart is inactive for the function of pumping blood? 2. Does the Vinnana get changed from one heart tissue to another in case of the heart transplant? 3. Where does Vinnana reside during the period of tissue transition (several hours)? 4. case of using an artificial heart, we can assume that engineers do not make any provision for the tiny heart hole' as they are not aware of the requirement. But we know the person who carry the 'heart pump' live normally. In this case what happens to the Vinnana? Jul 10, 2017 at 13:37
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    This is a view expressed in the commentaries and not canonical as per A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma by Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi. When you are in surgery you are unconscious hence mind-consciousness does not arise. Vinnana is a process. It is not always active. When not active you are in Bhavanga. Based on a stimuli only consciousness arises. Jul 10, 2017 at 13:41

Both, brain and heart, are not important in buddhism, because arūpabhramma has not both.

So in buddhism, brain and heart are not important.

Brain and heart are just mechanism, that are arised by consciousness.

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