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Mindfulness in Chinese / Japanese...

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Start your custom "Mindfulness" project by clicking the button next to your favorite "Mindfulness" title below...

Quick links to words on this page...

  1. Mindfulness
  2. 7. Right Mindfulness / Right Memory / Perfect Mindfulness
  3. Morality of Mind
  4. Heart / Mind / Spirit
  5. Devotion / Dedication / Attentive / Focused
  6. Mind of the Beginner
  7. Determination
  8. Learning is Eternal
  9. Lingering Mind
10. Intelligence / Intellect
11. Each Time You Stumble and Fall,...
12. Failure is a Stepping Stone to Success
13. Wisdom
14. Failure is the Origin of Success


China niàn
Japan nen
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This 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 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

7. Right Mindfulness / Right Memory / Perfect Mindfulness

Samyak Smriti / Samyak Smrti / Samma Sati
China zhèng niàn
Japan sei nen
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7. Right <mark>Mindfulness</mark> / Right Memory / Perfect <mark>Mindfulness</mark>

This 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

Morality of Mind

China xīn dé
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Morality of Mind

The idea of "morality of mind" goes along with "wu de" (martial morality or virtues of the warrior).

Here, the first character is a representation of your heart or mind.
The second character refers to morality or virtue.

This can also be translated as "morality of heart", "virtue of heart", or "virtue of the mind".

Note that since ancient times in Asia, the idea of your mind (the place where your soul resides, and your thought originate from) has been associated with the heart. Just as in western culture where we say "it comes from the heart", or "heartfelt emotions", there is a belief that your heart and mind are one and the same (medical science now begs to differ).

See Also...  Morality Of Deed | Martial Morality

Heart / Mind / Spirit

China xīn
Japan kokoro
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Heart / Mind / Spirit

This word would often be translated as “heart”. However, because it was believed in Chinese culture thousands of years that your consciousness and thoughts came from the big red organ in the middle of your chest, it also means “mind” or “spirit” and sometimes even “soul”.

In Korean, beyond heart, mind, and spirit, this character can mean moral, nature, mind, affections, intentions, core, and center. In fact, it is used in Chinese to mean "center" as well, but only with another character in front of it. For instance, "medical center" or even "shopping center". Separately and alone, it will not be read with that "center" meaning unless thought of as "the center of your soul".

Devotion / Dedication / Attentive / Focused

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

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

Mind of the Beginner

China chū xīn
Japan sho shin
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Mind of the Beginner

This is often translated in Japanese as "beginner\'s mind" or "beginner\'s spirit". In Chinese, the dictionary definition is "one\'s original intention".

The first character means first, initial, primary, junior, beginning, or basic.

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

This 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 state of shoshin is that of a beginners mind. It is a state of awareness the remains always fully conscious, aware, and prepared to see things for the first time. The attitude of shoshin is essential to continued learning.


China jué xīn
Japan kesshin
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You focus your energy and efforts on a task and stick with it until it is finished. Determination is using your will power to do something when it isn't easy. You are determined to meet your goals even when it is hard or you are being tested. With determination we make our dreams come true.

The first characters 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

Learning is Eternal

China xué wú zhǐ jìng
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Learning is Eternal

This Chinese philosophy tells of how we continue to learn throughout our lives. This proverb can be translated in a few ways such as "Study has no end", "Knowledge is infinite", "No end to learning", "There's always something new to study", or "You live and learn".

The deeper meaning: Even when we finish school we are still students of the world gaining more knowledge from our surroundings with each passing day.

See Also...  An Open Book Benefits Your Mind | Wisdom | Learn From Wisdom

Lingering Mind

China cán xīn
Japan zan shin
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Lingering Mind

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.

This 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.

Intelligence / Intellect

China zhì néng
Japan chinou
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Intelligence / Intellect

These two characters mean intelligence or intelligent.

The first character means wisdom, intellect or knowledge.

The second means ability, talent, skill, capacity, capable, able, and can even mean competent.

Together, the compound word can mean "capacity for wisdom", "useful knowledge", or even "mental power". Obviously this translates more clearly into English as "intelligence".

Note: This is not the same word used to mean "military intelligence". See our other entry for that.

知In modern Japan, they tend to use a version of the first character without the bottom radical. If your audience for this artwork is Japanese, please click on the Kanji to the right instead of the button above.

Each Time You Stumble and Fall,
You Gain Experience and Wisdom

China chī yí qiàn, zhǎng yí zhì
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Each Time You Stumble and Fall,<br>You Gain Experience and Wisdom

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.

Failure is a Stepping Stone to Success

Japanese only
Japan sittpai wa seikou no moto
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Failure is a Stepping Stone to Success

This Japanese proverb literally reads, "failures/mistakes/blunders are the yeast-starter/yeast-mash of success".

Basically, it suggests that failures are a necessary part of success; Just as bread or beer requires yeast to successfully rise or brew/ferment.


(single character)
China zhì
Japan chi / tomo
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This is the simplest way to write wisdom in Chinese, Korean Hanja and Japanese Kanji.
Being a single character, the wisdom meaning is open to interpretation, and can also mean intellect, knowledge or reason, resourcefulness, or wit.

This character is also one of the five tenets of Confucius.

This character is sometimes included in the Bushido code, but usually not considered part of the seven key concepts of the code.

See our Wisdom in Chinese, Japanese and Korean page for more wisdom-related calligraphy.

See Also...  Learn From Wisdom | Confucius

Failure is the Origin of Success

Japan shippai wa seikou no moto
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Failure is the Origin of Success

This Japanese proverb literally reads, "failure/mistake/blunder/defeat is the origin of success".

Basically, it suggests that failures or defeats are a necessary part of success.

This is often translated as, "Failure is a stepping stone to success".

Note: There are a few similar variations of this idiom in Japanese.

See Also...  Failure Is A Stepping Stone To Success

Check dictionary for mindfulness
A nice Chinese calligraphy wall scroll

The scroll that I am holding in this picture is a "medium size"
4-character wall scroll.
As you can see, it is a great size to hang on your wall.
(We also offer custom wall scrolls in larger sizes)

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.

If your search is not successful, just post your request on our forum, and we'll be happy to do research or translation for any reasonable request.

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

Beautiful Spirit
Forever Love
Infinite Love
Lasting Love
Learning is Eternal
Life is Beautiful
Love Yourself First
Moon Light
Mother and Son

With so many searches, we had to upgrade to our own Linux server.
Of course, only one in 500 searches results in a purchase - Hey buy a wall scroll!!!

See: Our list of specifically Japanese Kanji Calligraphy Wall Scrolls. And, check out Our list of specifically old Korean Hanja Calligraphy Wall Scrolls.

The following table is only helpful for those studying Chinese (or Japanese), and perhaps helps search engines to find this page when someone enters Romanized Chinese or Japanese

Romaji(Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
7. Right Mindfulness / Right Memory / Perfect Mindfulness正念
sei nen
zhèng niàn
zheng nian
cheng nien
zheng4 nian4
Morality of Mind心德
n/axīn dé
xin de
hsin te
xin1 de2
Heart / Mind / Spirit
Devotion / Dedication / Attentive / Focused专心
專心 / 専心 / 耑心
sen shin
zhuān xīn
zhuan xin
chuan hsin
zhuan1 xin1
Mind of the Beginner初心
sho shin
chū xīn
chu xin
ch`u hsin
chu1 xin1
chu hsin
jué xīn
jue xin
chüeh hsin
jue2 xin1
Learning is Eternal学无止境
n/axué wú zhǐ jìng
xue wu zhi jing
hsüeh wu chih ching
xue2 wu2 zhi3 jing4
Lingering Mind残心
zan shin
cán xīn
can xin
ts`an hsin
can2 xin1
tsan hsin
Intelligence / Intellect智能
智能 / 知能
zhì néng
zhi neng
chih neng
zhi4 neng2
Each Time You Stumble and Fall, You Gain Experience and Wisdom吃一堑长一智
n/achī yí qiàn, zhǎng yí zhì
chi yi qian zhang yi zhi
ch`ih i ch`ien chang i chih
chi1 yi2 qian4 zhang3 yi2 zhi4
chih i chien chang i chih
Failure is a Stepping Stone to Success失敗は成功のもと
sittpai wa seikou no moto
sittpai wa seiko no moto
chi / tomozhì
Failure is the Origin of Success失敗は成功の元
shippai wa seikou no moto
shipai wa seiko no moto

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

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