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不經一事 means, "You can't gain knowledge without practical experience."
不經一事 is the short form (first half) of a longer Chinese proverb. These 4 characters remind you that wisdom only comes from experience.
You can translate this Chinese proverb a couple of ways.
The first is: You cannot gain knowledge without practice.
The second, and perhaps more popular way is: Wisdom comes from experience.
It literally means if you are inattentive to your affairs or situations you encounter, you will not gain or grow any wisdom or intellect.
This Chinese proverb means, "Fall into a moat and you will gain wisdom from the experience."
It really suggests that the failures, troubles, frustrations, and setbacks that you encounter in your life are actually helping you to find wisdom. Some would also translate this proverb as, "Learn from your mistakes" or "Learn from your experience."
If you are studying Chinese, you will recognize the first character as "eat" but in this case, it means to "experience" (as used in this proverb, it is suggesting that you have fallen into a moat and/or had a hard time crossing it).
Literally translated character by character, this whole proverb is, "Experience one moat, gain one wisdom/knowledge."
Note: This can be pronounced in Korean but it's not a commonly used phrase.
It's been said that wisdom comes from good judgment, and good judgment comes from experience, while experience comes from a series of times when you used bad judgment.
This Chinese proverb makes the simplest connection between experience and wisdom.
This Chinese proverb literally translates as: [Even a general who has won a] hundred victories [may be] hard put to see through the enemy's [strategy], [but one who has] broken [his] arm three [times] [will] be a good doctor.
Figuratively, this means: One cannot always depend on past successes to guarantee future success but one can always learn from lessons drawn from failure.
This Japanese proverb means exactly what you think.
Every failure that you experience is a chance to learn from it and find success.
Knowing what does not work is just as important as finding out what does work.
Note: This is the Japanese version of an ancient Chinese proverb.
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
See Also: Experience Is the Mother of Wisdom
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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji(Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|Wisdom comes from Experience||不經一事|
|bù jīng yī shì|
bu4 jing1 yi1 shi4
bu jing yi shi
|pu ching i shih
|Wisdom comes from Experience||不經一事不長一智|
|bù jīng yī shì bù zhǎng yī zhì|
bu4 jing1 yi1 shi4 bu4 zhang3 yi1 zhi4
bu jing yi shi bu zhang yi zhi
|pu ching i shih pu chang i chih
|Each Time You Stumble and Fall, You Gain Experience and Wisdom||吃一塹長一智|
|chī yí qiàn, zhǎng yí zhì|
chi1 yi2 qian4 zhang3 yi2 zhi4
chi yi qian zhang yi zhi
|ch`ih i ch`ien chang i chih
chih i chien chang i chih
|Experience is the Mother of Wisdom||經驗是智慧之母|
|jīng yàn shì zhì huì zhī mǔ|
jing1 yan4 shi4 zhi4 hui4 zhi1 mu3
jing yan shi zhi hui zhi mu
|ching yen shih chih hui chih mu|
|You May Learn from Victory, You Will Learn from Failure||百勝難慮敵三折乃良醫|
|bǎi shèng nán lǜ dí sān zhé nǎi liáng yī|
bai3 sheng4 nan2 lv4 di2 san1 zhe2 nai3 liang2 yi1
bai sheng nan lv di san zhe nai liang yi
|pai sheng nan lü ti san che nai liang i|
|Failure is the Mother of Success||失敗是成功之母|
|shī bài shì chéng gōng zhī mǔ|
shi1 bai4 shi4 cheng2 gong1 zhi1 mu3
shi bai shi cheng gong zhi mu
|shih pai shih ch`eng kung chih mu
shih pai shih cheng kung chih mu
|Failure is the Mother of Success||失敗は成功の母||shippai wa seikou no haha|
shipai wa seiko no haha
|In some entries above you will see that characters have different versions above and below a line.|
In these cases, the characters above the line are Traditional Chinese, while the ones below are Simplified Chinese.
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Professional calligraphers are getting to be hard to find these days.
Instead of drawing characters by hand, the new generation in China merely type roman letters into their computer keyboards and pick the character that they want from a list that pops up.
There is some fear that true Chinese calligraphy may become a lost art in the coming years. Many art institutes in China are now promoting calligraphy programs in hopes of keeping this unique form of art alive.
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The same calligrapher who gave me those lessons also attracted a crowd of thousands and a TV crew as he created characters over 6-feet high. He happens to be ranked as one of the top 100 calligraphers in all of China. He is also one of very few that would actually attempt such a feat.
Check out my lists of Japanese Kanji Calligraphy Wall Scrolls and Old Korean Hanja Calligraphy Wall Scrolls.
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