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Your Chinese / Japanese Calligraphy Search for "Focus"...

Quick links to words on this page...

  1. 7. Right Mindfulness / Right Memory / Perfect Mindfulness
  2. Sacrifice / Devotion / Dedication
  3. Devotion / Dedication / Attentive / Focused
  4. Mindfulness
  5. Determination
  6. Discipline
  7. Fighting Spirit
  8. Bravery / Courage
  9. Lingering Mind
10. Purity of Mind
11. Pure Land Buddhism / Jodo Buddhism
12. Undaunted After Repeated Setbacks
13. Southern Praying Mantis

7. Right Mindfulness / Right Memory / Perfect Mindfulness

Samyak Smriti / Samyak Smrti / Samma Sati
China zhèng niàn
Japan sei nen
7. Right Mindfulness / Right Memory / Perfect Mindfulness Wall Scroll

正念 is one of the Noble Eightfold Paths of Buddhism. Right Mindfulness, along with Right Effort and Right Concentration constitute the path to Concentration or Perfect Thought.

Right Mindfulness is about remaining focused on one's body, feelings, mind and mental qualities. It's also about being ardent, aware, and mindful, and supposes that you've already put aside worldly desire and aversion.

Monk Bhikkhu Bodhi described this as: The mind is deliberately kept at the level of bare attention, a detached observation of what is happening within us and around us in the present moment. In the practice of right mindfulness the mind is trained to remain in the present, open, quiet, and alert, contemplating the present event.

Another definition: Ongoing mindfulness of body, feelings, thinking, and objects of thought.

This term is exclusively used by devout Buddhists. It is not a common term, and is remains an unknown concept to most Japanese and Chinese people.

See Also:  Buddhism | Enlightenment

Sacrifice / Devotion / Dedication

(complete bodily devotion)
China xiàn shēn
Japan ken shin
Sacrifice / Devotion / Dedication Wall Scroll

This word is used to describe being so devoted to something that you will make sacrifices for that goal/thing/person. You can also translate this word as any of the following:
Give one's life for...
Sacrifice one's life for...
To dedicate oneself to...
Commit ones energy to...
Devote to...
Giving your whole body to...

This can be a dedication to or for someone but more often is used in reference to a dedication or making sacrifices for your country, public service, or a cause. For instance, an Olympic athlete makes great sacrifices to train in his/her sport for their country and compatriots.

While the form shown to the upper-left is considered an ancient Japanese version, in modern Japan, they use the simplified version of the first Kanji (shown to the right). Click on the Kanji at the right instead of the button above if you want this modern Japanese version.

If you are looking for a more religious meaning of devotion, see Faith.

See Also:  Confidence | Dedication

Devotion / Dedication / Attentive / Focused

China zhuān xīn
Japan sen shin
Devotion / Dedication / Attentive / Focused Wall Scroll

The first character means "for a particular person, occasion, or purpose," "focused on one single thing," "concentrated" and sometimes, "special."

The second character means "heart" or "mind" by itself.

Together, these two characters make a word that means, "paying attention with your heart." It's often translated as, "dedication," as in "be absorbed in" or "concentrate one's efforts." It's also used to mean, "with single mind," "whole-heartedly," "paying attention," "undivided attention," "concentration (-ed)," "engrossed," "devotionally (listening/watching)," and/or "attentive."

My favorite translation, which comes from the Oxford Advanced Chinese/English Dictionary is, "wholehearted devotion."

If it seems like the meaning of this word is quite open, you are correct. The context in which the word is used matters a lot. It can mean different things depending on how you use it. This makes it kind of nice as you can decide what this means to you (within some limits). This word is always positive in meaning, so even if a Chinese person reads it differently than you, it will still have a good meaning.

専In Japanese, they tend to use a variation of the second character which has one less stroke. If you want your calligraphy written this Japanese form, please click on the Kanji shown to the right instead of the button above. Note: Japanese and Chinese people will recognize either form.

See Also:  Faith | Devotion


China niàn
Japan nen
Mindfulness Wall Scroll

念 is the simplest way to write "mindfulness" in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.

This character can be defined these ways: To read; to study (a degree course); to read aloud; to miss somebody (keeping them in your mind); idea; remembrance; sense; thought; feeling; desire; concern; attention; recollection; memory; to think on/about; reflect; repeat, intone; a moment.

Obviously, the context in which the character is used determines which definition or meaning is perceived. As a single character, it's open and perhaps ambiguous. Thus, it can be read with any or all of these meanings.

This character is used in a Buddhist context (often written as 正念 or "right mindfulness") with similar meanings of thought and contemplation.

In Japanese, this character is sometimes used as a name "Nen."

See Also:  Buddhism | Enlightenment


China jué xīn
Japan kesshin
Determination Wall Scroll

This Chinese, Japanese, and Korean word holds the dictionary definition of "determination" but literally means, "determined heart."

The first character means "to determine" or "determined."

The second character means "heart," "mind" or "soul," so you can imagine that this form of "determination" partially means to put your heart into something. It can also be translated as resolve, resolution, or decision (as in a decision made and followed).

See Also:  Devotion | Tenacious | Passion | Dedication | Will-Power


China jì lǜ
Discipline Wall Scroll

Discipline: There are a few different ways to define this word in English. This Asian word conveys the idea of extreme self-control and perhaps self-sacrifice, and obedience. This matches what I was taught as the meaning of "discipline" when I was in the Marine Corps. There is also an additional idea of maintaining order or being orderly in your tasks.

This idea would also fit an athlete training for the Olympics who gives up many pleasures to stay focused on their training.

See Also:  Self-Control | Will-Power

Fighting Spirit

Japan tou ki
Fighting Spirit Wall Scroll

闘氣 is an alternate Japanese title for "fighting spirit." This one is more like "fighting energy." The second character is "ki" the same "ki" in Aikido. This "ki" is the spiritual energy that all martial arts practitioners must master and focus.

Bravery / Courage

Courageous Energy
China yǒng qì
Japan yuuki
Bravery / Courage Wall Scroll

There are several ways to express bravery and courage in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. This version is the most spiritual. 勇氣 is the essence of bravery from deep within your being. 勇氣 is the mental state of being brave versus actual brave behavior. You'd more likely use this to say, "He is very courageous," rather than "He fought courageously in the battle."

The first character also means bravery or courage when it's seen alone. With the second character added, an element of energy or spirit is added. The second character is the same "chi" or "qi" energy that Kung Fu masters focus when they strike. For this reason, you could say this means "spirit of courage" or "brave spirit."

勇氣 is certainly a stronger word than just the first character alone.

Beyond bravery or courage, dictionaries also translate this word as valor/valour, nerve, audacity, daring, pluck, plucky, gallantry, guts, gutsy and boldness.

勇氣 is also one of the 8 key concepts of tang soo do.

Japanese 気 While the version shown to the left is commonly used in Chinese and Korean Hanja (and ancient Japanese Kanji), please note that the second character is written with slightly fewer strokes in modern Japanese. If you want the modern Japanese version, please click on the character to the right. Both styles would be understood by native Chinese, Japanese, and many (but not all) Korean people. You should make your selection based on the intended audience for your calligraphy artwork. Or pick the single-character form of bravery/courage which is universal.

Lingering Mind

China cán xīn
Japan zan shin
Lingering Mind Wall Scroll

First off, this should only be used in context of Japanese martial arts. In Chinese, it's a rather sad title (like a broken heart). In Chinese, the first character alone means destroyed, spoiled, ruined, injured, cruel, oppressive, savage, incomplete, disabled. However, in Japanese, it's remainder, leftover, balance, or lingering.
The second character means heart, mind, soul, or essence in both languages.

殘心 is one of the five spirits of the warrior (budo), and is often used as a Japanese martial arts tenet. Under that context, places such as the Budo Dojo define it this way: The spirit of zanshin is the state of the remaining or lingering spirit. It is often described as a sustained and heightened state of awareness and mental follow-through. However, true zanshin is a state of focus or concentration before, during, and after the execution of a technique, where a link or connection between uke and nage is preserved. Zanshin is the state of mind that allows us to stay spiritually connected, not only to a single attacker but to multiple attackers and even an entire context; a space, a time, an event.

残In modern Japan (and Simplified Chinese), they use a different version of the first character, as seen to the right. Click on this character to the right instead of the button above if you want this modern Japanese version of lingering mind / zanshin.

Purity of Mind

China xīn chéng jìng
Japan shin chou jou
Purity of Mind Wall Scroll

心澄淨 is the Buddhist concept of the pure and calm mind. It is believed that once you achieve a meditative state of pure focused thought, the mind becomes clear and calm. Although, others will say this means that achieving a calm mind will allow you to reach pure thought.

From Sanskrit, this is known as citta-prasāda. The concept of citta-prasāda is sometimes defined as, "clear heart-mind," or "the single and definitive aspiration."

Pure Land Buddhism / Jodo Buddhism

China jìng tǔ zōng
Japan jou do shuu
Pure Land Buddhism / Jodo Buddhism Wall Scroll

淨土宗 is the title of Japanese "Pure Land Buddhism." This form is also romanized/known as "Jodo Shu" (jōdo shū).

Also known as Amidism for the fact that this is a branch of Mahayana (Mahāyāna) Buddhism which focuses on Amitabha (Amitābha) Buddha. This form of Buddhism, along with Chinese characters, came to Japan via China in the 5th century according to most historians.

Pure Land Buddhism is also known as 浄土仏教 (jōdo bukkyō).
Some will just express it with just 浄土 (Pure Land).

See Also:  Shin Buddhism

Undaunted After Repeated Setbacks

Persistence to overcome all challenges
China bǎi zhé bù náo
Japan hyaku setsu su tou
Undaunted After Repeated Setbacks Wall Scroll

This Chinese proverb means "Be undaunted in the face of repeated setbacks." More directly-translated, it reads, "[Overcome] a hundred setbacks, without flinching." 百折不撓 is of Chinese origin but is commonly used in Japanese, and somewhat in Korean (same characters, different pronunciation).

This proverb comes from a long, and occasionally tragic story of a man that lived sometime around 25-220 AD. His name was Qiao Xuan and he never stooped to flattery but remained an upright person at all times. He fought to expose corruption of higher-level government officials at great risk to himself.

Then when he was at a higher level in the Imperial Court, bandits were regularly capturing hostages and demanding ransoms. But when his own son was captured, he was so focused on his duty to the Emperor and common good that he sent a platoon of soldiers to raid the bandits' hideout, and stop them once and for all even at the risk of his own son's life. While all of the bandits were arrested in the raid, they killed Qiao Xuan's son at first sight of the raiding soldiers.

Near the end of his career a new Emperor came to power, and Qiao Xuan reported to him that one of his ministers was bullying the people and extorting money from them. The new Emperor refused to listen to Qiao Xuan and even promoted the corrupt Minister. Qiao Xuan was so disgusted that in protest he resigned his post as minister (something almost never done) and left for his home village.

His tombstone reads "Bai Zhe Bu Nao" which is now a proverb used in Chinese culture to describe a person of strength will who puts up stubborn resistance against great odds.

My Chinese-English dictionary defines these 4 characters as, "keep on fighting in spite of all setbacks," "be undaunted by repeated setbacks" and "be indomitable."

Our translator says it can mean, "never give up" in modern Chinese.

Although the first two characters are translated correctly as "repeated setbacks," the literal meaning is "100 setbacks" or "a rope that breaks 100 times." The last two characters can mean "do not yield" or "do not give up."
Most Chinese, Japanese, and Korean people will not take this absolutely literal meaning but will instead understand it as the title suggests above. If you want a single big word definition, it would be indefatigability, indomitableness, persistence, or unyielding.

See Also:  Tenacity | Fortitude | Strength | Perseverance | Persistence

Southern Praying Mantis

China nán pài táng láng
Southern Praying Mantis Wall Scroll

This can be translated literally as "Southern School Praying Mantis" or "Southern Style Praying Mantis."

Despite its name, the Southern Praying Mantis style of Chinese martial arts is unrelated to the Northern Praying Mantis style. Southern Praying Mantis is instead related most closely to fellow Hakka styles such as Dragon and more distantly to the Fujian family of styles that includes Fujian White Crane, Five Ancestors, and Wing Chun.

This style of martial arts focuses more on fighting skills rather than aesthetics.

Of course, you already knew that if you were looking for this term.

Note: This title can be pronounced and does have meaning in Korean but only to Koreans familiar with Chinese martial arts.

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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
7. Right Mindfulness
Right Memory
Perfect Mindfulness
正念sei nen / seinenzhèng niàn
zheng4 nian4
zheng nian
cheng nien
ken shin / kenshinxiàn shēn
xian4 shen1
xian shen
hsien shen
專心 / 専心 / 耑心
sen shin / senshinzhuān xīn
zhuan1 xin1
zhuan xin
chuan hsin
Mindfulness nenniàn / nian4 / nian nien
Determination 決心
kesshin / keshinjué xīn / jue2 xin1 / jue xin / juexin chüeh hsin / chüehhsin
Discipline 紀律
jì lǜ / ji4 lv4 / ji lv / jilv chi lü / chilü
Fighting Spirit 闘氣
tou ki / touki / to ki / toki
勇气 / 勇気
yuuki / yukiyǒng qì / yong3 qi4 / yong qi / yongqi yung ch`i / yungchi / yung chi
Lingering Mind 殘心
zan shin / zanshincán xīn / can2 xin1 / can xin / canxin ts`an hsin / tsanhsin / tsan hsin
Purity of Mind 心澄淨shin chou jou
shin cho jo
xīn chéng jìng
xin1 cheng2 jing4
xin cheng jing
hsin ch`eng ching
hsin cheng ching
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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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 Focus Kanji, Focus Characters, Focus in Mandarin Chinese, Focus Characters, Focus in Chinese Writing, Focus in Japanese Writing, Focus in Asian Writing, Focus Ideograms, Chinese Focus symbols, Focus Hieroglyphics, Focus Glyphs, Focus in Chinese Letters, Focus Hanzi, Focus in Japanese Kanji, Focus Pictograms, Focus in the Chinese Written-Language, or Focus in the Japanese Written-Language.