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Essence of Life in Chinese / Japanese...

Buy an Essence of Life calligraphy wall scroll here!

Start your custom "Essence of Life" project by clicking the button next to your favorite "Essence of Life" title below...

  1. Life Energy / Spiritual Energy
  2. Vitality
  3. Science
  4. Vitality / Virility
  5. Simplicity
  6. Resilience / Restoration / Recovery
  7. Purified Spirit / Enlightened Attitude
  8. Reiki

Life Energy / Spiritual Energy

Chi Energy: Essence of Life / Energy Flow
China
Japan ki
Life Energy / Spiritual Energy

This energy flow is a fundamental concept of traditional Asian culture.

氣 is romanized as "Qi" or "Chi" in Chinese, "Gi" in Korean, and "Ki" in Japanese.
Chi is believed to be part of everything that exists, as in "life force" or "spiritual energy". It is most often translated as "energy flow," or literally as "air" or "breath". Some people will simply translate this as "spirit" but you have to take into consideration the kind of spirit we're talking about. I think this is weighted more toward energy than spirit.

The character itself is a representation of steam (or breath) rising from rice. To clarify, the character for rice looks like this: 米
Steam was apparently seen as visual evidence of the release of "life energy" when this concept was first developed. The Qi / Chi / Ki character is still used in compound words to mean steam or vapor.
The etymology of this character is a bit complicated. It's suggested that the first form of this character from bronze script (about 2500 years ago) looked like these samples: 氣氣
However, it was easy to confuse this with the character for the number three. So the rice radical was added by 221 B.C. (the exact time of this change is debated). This first version with the rice radical looks like this: 氣
The idea of Qi / Chi / Ki is really a philosophical concept. It's often used to refer to the "flow" of metaphysical energy that sustains living beings. Yet there is much debate that has continued for thousands of years as to whether Qi / Chi / Ki is pure energy, or consists partially, or fully of matter.

You can also see the character for Qi / Chi / Ki in common compound words such as Tai Chi / Tai Qi, Aikido, Reiki and Qi Gong / Chi Kung.

In the modern Japanese Kanji, the rice radical has been changed into two strokes that form an X.

気 The original and traditional Chinese form is still understood in Japanese but we can also offer that modern Kanji form in our custom calligraphy. If you want this Japanese Kanji, please click on the character to the right, instead of the “Select and Customize” button above.


More language notes: This is pronounced like “chee” in Mandarin Chinese, and like “key” in Japanese.
This is also the same way to write this in Korean Hanja where it is Romanized as “gi” and pronounced like “gee” but with a real G-sound, not a J-sound.
Though Vietnamese no longer use Chinese characters in their daily language, this character is still widely known in Vietnam.


See Also:  Energy | Life Force | Vitality | Life | Birth | Soul

Vitality

China shēng mìng lì
Japan seimeiryoku
Vitality

生命力 can mean "vitality" or "libido." The first two characters mean "life" or "life force." The last character is a common word that means "strength." So together you get the meaning "life strength" which is the essence of vitality. Some will also translate this word as "good health."


See Also:  Life Force | Health

Science

The rules of life, the universe, and everything.
China
Japan kotowari
Science

At essence, this word means science. But it's a very ambiguous and open term. 理 speaks to the reason that all things exist, and how things work from the microscopic to the cosmic level.

There are many translations for this word, including: inner essence; intrinsic order; reason; logic; truth; science; natural science (esp. physics); principle; the underlying principles of the cosmos; way of things; ruling principle; fundamental law; intrinsicality; universal basis; essential element.

If you are a scientist, or just searching for, "the answer to life, the universe, and everything," this could be the character for you.

Vitality / Virility

China jīng qì
Japan seiki
Vitality / Virility

This two-character Chinese, Japanese, and Korean word means vitality or virility.

Depending on context, this can also mean, "mind and spirit," "life energy," or "essence."

This term is often used in Buddhism with the same meaning.


気Note: In modern Japanese, they have simplified the last Kanji to look like the version shown to the right. If you want this modern version, please click on this Kanji. Otherwise, if you click the button above, you'll get the ancient or traditional version (which is also universal between Chinese, old Korean, and old Japanese).

Simplicity

China jiǎn
Japan kan
Simplicity

簡 expresses the idea of something simple, or the essence of simplicity in life in Chinese.

This can also refer to a simple slip of bamboo for taking notes or writing a letter (especially in Korean Hanja).

Technically this is a word meaning simple and brevity in Japanese but it's rarely used in modern Japanese. Therefore, you should probably only select this character if your audience is Chinese.


See Also:  Brevity

Resilience / Restoration / Recovery

China huī fù lì
Resilience / Restoration / Recovery

This title suggests having the power to recover, restore, rehabilitate. This can refer to yourself, someone else, or even to something, like rehabilitating a burned forest. 恢復力 is the essence of resilience in life.

The first two characters are a word that means to reinstate, to resume, to restore, to recover, to regain, to rehabilitate, restoration, rehabilitation, recovery, return, improvement, recovery (from an illness), recuperation, or convalescence.

The last character means strength or power.


See Also:  Tenacity | Perseverance

Purified Spirit / Enlightened Attitude

A Japanese martial arts title/concept
China xǐ xīn
Japan sen shin
Purified Spirit / Enlightened Attitude

The first Kanji alone means to wash, to bathe, primness, cleanse or purify.

The second Kanji means heart, mind, soul, or essence.

Together, these two Kanji create a word that is defined as "purified spirit" or "enlightened attitude" within the context of Japanese martial arts.

洗心 is one of the five spirits of the warrior (budo), and is often used as a Japanese martial arts tenet. Under that context it's often defined this way: A spirit that protects and harmonizes the universe. Senshin is a spirit of compassion that embraces and serves all humanity and whose function is to reconcile discord in the world. It holds all life to be sacred. It is the Buddha mind.

This title will only be familiar to Japanese who practice certain martial arts. Others may not recognize this word at all.

洗心 does not show up as a word in too many Chinese dictionaries but it can be read and has the same meaning in Chinese.


先心 There is an issue with the first character. The original, and probably most correct version is shown above. However, many dojo documents and other sources have used a more simple first character. Arguments ensue about which version is correct. If you want to be correct in the Japanese language, use the "Select and Customize" button above. If you want to match the Kanji used by your dojo, click the Kanji shown to the right. There is a slightly different meaning with this first character which means before, ahead, previous, future, precedence.

Reiki

China líng qì
Japan reiki
Reiki

靈氣 is the title of a healing practice that is now found throughout the world but with origins in Japan.

Special note: Outside of the context of the healing practice of Reiki, this means "aura" or "spiritual essence that surrounds all living things." A Japanese person not familiar with the practice will take the "aura" meaning.

Reiki is a technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also heals. It can be compared to massage but is based on the idea that an unseen "life force energy" flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If your life force energy is low, you'll be more likely to get sick or feel stress. If your life force energy is abundant and flowing well, you become more capable of being happy and healthy.

There is a lot of information available if you want to Google this term - my job is to offer the calligraphy, while you can decide if it is right for you.

Note: We are showing the ancient (traditional) form of the Reiki Kanji. I have seen Reiki written with both the slightly simplified version and this more classic form. If you want the form of Reiki with the two strokes in the shape of an X on the second character and the modern first character, simply click on the Kanji characters to the right.

Note: 靈氣 is also a Chinese word but in Chinese, these characters create a word that refers to a smart person or someone with high aspirations. It is not read as a healing method in Chinese.
In Korean Hanja, this can be read as "mysterious atmosphere" by a Korean who is not familiar with the practice of Reiki (still has a cool meaning in Korean).

Search for Essence of Life in my Japanese & Chinese Dictionary




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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...

Title CharactersRomaji(Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
Life Energy
Spiritual Energy

气 / 気
kiqì / qi4 / qich`i / chi
Vitality生命力seimeiryokushēng mìng lì
sheng1 ming4 li4
sheng ming li
shengmingli
Sciencekotowarilǐ / li3 / li
Vitality
Virility
精氣
精气
seikijīng qì / jing1 qi4 / jing qi / jingqiching ch`i / chingchi / ching chi
Simplicity
kanjiǎn / jian3 / jianchien
Resilience
Restoration
Recovery
恢復力
恢复力
huī fù lì
hui1 fu4 li4
hui fu li
huifuli
Purified Spirit
Enlightened Attitude
洗心
先心
sen shin / senshinxǐ xīn / xi3 xin1 / xi xin / xixinhsi hsin / hsihsin
Reiki靈氣
灵气 霊気
reikilíng qì / ling2 qi4 / ling qi / lingqiling ch`i / lingchi / ling chi
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.



Successful Chinese Character and Japanese Kanji calligraphy searches within the last few hours...

Aiki Jujutsu
Archangel
Aster
Believe
Berserk
Bushido
Calm
Change
Christ
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
Enlighten
Enlightened
Faith in God
Family
Father
Follow Your Heart
Furinkazan
Gemini
Heart of a Warrior
Hello
Humble
I Love You Forever and Always
Iaido
Jesus
Kaizen
Keep Fighting
Kenshin
Kung Fu
Lion
Love
Loyalty
Mind Body Soul Spirit
Mind Body Spirit
Mother
Mushin
Music
Overcome
Pleasure
Powerful
Protector
Rain
Rebirth
Right Intention
Rooster
Strength
Strong Heart
The Red String
The Way
The Way of the Warrior
Thunder Lightning in Kanji
Trust in God
Trust No Man
Victory
Wave
White
Wing Chun
Winter
Wolf
Yin Yang

All of our calligraphy wall scrolls are handmade.

When the calligrapher finishes creating your artwork, it is taken to my art mounting workshop in Beijing where a wall scroll is made by hand from a combination of silk, rice paper, and wood.
After we create your wall scroll, it takes at least two weeks for air mail delivery from Beijing to you.

Allow a few weeks for delivery. Rush service speeds it up by a week or two for $10!

When you select your calligraphy, you'll be taken to another page where you can choose various custom options.


A nice Chinese calligraphy wall scroll

The wall scroll that Sandy is holding in this picture is a "large size"
single-character wall scroll.
We also offer custom wall scrolls in small, medium, and an even-larger jumbo size.

A professional Chinese Calligrapher

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.

Trying to learn Chinese calligrapher - a futile effort

Even with the teachings of a top-ranked calligrapher in China, my calligraphy will never be good enough to sell. I will leave that to the experts.

A high-ranked Chinese master calligrapher that I met in Zhongwei

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.

Some people may refer to this entry as Essence of Life Kanji, Essence of Life Characters, Essence of Life in Mandarin Chinese, Essence of Life Characters, Essence of Life in Chinese Writing, Essence of Life in Japanese Writing, Essence of Life in Asian Writing, Essence of Life Ideograms, Chinese Essence of Life symbols, Essence of Life Hieroglyphics, Essence of Life Glyphs, Essence of Life in Chinese Letters, Essence of Life Hanzi, Essence of Life in Japanese Kanji, Essence of Life Pictograms, Essence of Life in the Chinese Written-Language, or Essence of Life in the Japanese Written-Language.