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Wise Man In in Chinese / Japanese...

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  1. A Wise Man Changes His Mind

  2. Tetsu / Wise Sage

  3. Power of Understanding and Wisdom

  4. Wisdom from Hard Knocks

  5. Lao Tzu / Laozi

  6. Daodejing / Tao Te Ching Chapter 81

  7. Listen to Both Sides and be Enlightened,...

A Wise Man Changes His Mind (but a fool never will)

Japan kun shi hyou hen su
A Wise Man Changes His Mind (but a fool never will) Vertical Wall Scroll

This Japanese proverb suggests that a wise man is willing to change his mind but a fool will stubbornly never change his.

The first word is 君子 (kunshi) man of virtue, person of high rank, wise man.

The second word is 豹変 (hyouhen) sudden change, complete change.

The last part す (su) just modifies the verb to a more humble form.

The "fool" part is merely implied or understood. So if wise and noble people are willing to change their minds, it automatically says that foolish people are the ones unwilling to change.

Tetsu / Wise Sage

China zhé
Japan tetsu
Tetsu / Wise Sage Vertical Wall Scroll

哲 is a Japanese name that is often romanized as Tetsu.

The meaning of the character can be: philosophy; wise; sage; wise man; philosopher; disciple; sagacity; wisdom; intelligence.

哲 can also be romanized as: Yutaka; Masaru; Hiroshi; Tooru; Tetsuji; Choru; Satoru; Satoshi; Akira; Aki.

Power of Understanding and Wisdom

China wù xìng
Japan gosei
Power of Understanding and Wisdom Vertical Wall Scroll

悟性 means the power of understanding and insight in Chinese.

It is often associated with Neo-Confucianism. In that regard, it means to realize, perceive, or have the perception of man's true nature. It can also mean to find your soul, the soul of others, or the soul of the world. Some will translate this simply as the state of being "savvy."

In Japanese, this is often translated as wisdom and understanding.

Wisdom from Hard Knocks

The school of hard knocks
China ái yī quán dé yī zhāo ái shí quán biàn zhū gě
Wisdom from Hard Knocks Vertical Wall Scroll

This Chinese proverb literally translates as: Receive on blow, [and one] learns a lesson; Receive ten blows, [and one] becomes a great Zhuge [Liang]. You must first understand that a man named Zhuge Liang was one of the great strategists and philosophers in Chinese history. He's known as a man of great wisdom.

Figuratively, this phrase means:
One can learn much from failure or "hard knocks."

Lao Tzu / Laozi

China lǎo zǐ
Japan roushi
Lao Tzu / Laozi Vertical Wall Scroll

Depending on the romanization scheme you use, this man's name can be spelled Laozi, Lao Tzu, or Lao Tze. In older English usage, he was known as Laocius. He is believed to have lived around 500 B.C.

He was a Chinese philosopher, founder of Daoism/Taoism, credited with being the author of the sacred and wise book of Daoism/Taoism.

There is a theory that Lao Tzu's soul traveled to India and was reborn as the Buddha.

Daodejing / Tao Te Ching Chapter 81

Daodejing / Tao Te Ching Chapter 81 Vertical Wall Scroll

This is the Mawangdui version of Daodejing chapter 81.

It can be translated this way:
Credible words are not eloquent;
Eloquent words are not credible.

The wise are not erudite;
The erudite are not wise.

The adept are not all-around;
The all-around are not adept.
The sages do not accumulate things.
Yet the more they have done for others,
The more they have gained themselves;
The more they have given to others,
The more they have gotten themselves.

Thus, the way of tian (heaven) is to benefit without harming;
The way of sages is to do without contending.
Another translation:
Sincere words are not showy;
showy words are not sincere.
Those who know are not "widely learned";
those "widely learned" do not know.
The good do not have a lot;
Those with a lot are not good.
The Sage accumulates nothing.
Having used what he had for others,
he has even more.
Having given what he had to others,
what he has is even greater.
Therefore, the Way of Heaven is to benefit and not cause any harm,
The Way of Man is to act on behalf of others and not to compete with them.
And a third translation:
True words aren't charming,
charming words aren't true.
Good people aren't contentious,
contentious people aren't good.
People who know aren't learned,
learned people don't know.
Wise souls don't hoard;
the more they do for others the more they have,
the more they give the richer they are.
The Way of heaven provides without destroying.
Doing without outdoing
is the Way of the wise.

Listen to Both Sides and be Enlightened,
Listen to One Side and be in the Dark

China jiān tīng zé míng, piān tīng zé àn
Listen to Both Sides and be Enlightened, / Listen to One Side and be in the Dark Vertical Wall Scroll

A man named Wei Zheng lived between 580-643 AD. He was a noble and wise historian and minister in the court of the early Tang Dynasty.

The emperor once asked him, "What should an emperor do to understand the real-world situation and what makes an emperor out-of-touch with reality?"

Wei Zheng replied, "Listen to both sides and you will be enlightened; listen to only one side and you will be left in the dark."

Then Wei Zheng went on to site examples of leaders in history that were victorious after heeding both sides of the story, and other leaders that met their doom because they believed one-sided stories which often came from flattering lips.

Please note that there is an unwritten rule when the same character appears twice in the same phrase, the calligrapher will alter the appearance so that no two characters are exactly alike in the same piece. This calligraphy has two repeating characters that will be written differently than they appear here.

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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
A Wise Man Changes His Mind (but a fool never will)君子豹変すkun shi hyou hen su
kun shi hyo hen su
Wise Sage
tetsuzhé / zhe2 / zheche
Power of Understanding and Wisdom悟性goseiwù xìng / wu4 xing4 / wu xing / wuxingwu hsing / wuhsing
Wisdom from Hard Knocks挨一拳得一招挨十拳變諸葛
ái yī quán dé yī zhāo ái shí quán biàn zhū gě
ai2 yi1 quan2 de2 yi1 zhao1 ai2 shi2 quan2 bian4 zhu1 ge3
ai yi quan de yi zhao ai shi quan bian zhu ge
ai i ch`üan te i chao ai shih ch`üan pien chu ko
ai i chüan te i chao ai shih chüan pien chu ko
Lao Tzu
老子roushi / roshilǎo zǐ / lao3 zi3 / lao zi / laozilao tzu / laotzu
Tao Te Ching Chapter 81
Listen to Both Sides and be Enlightened, Listen to One Side and be in the Dark兼聽則明偏聽則暗
jiān tīng zé míng, piān tīng zé àn
jian1 ting1 ze2 ming2, pian1 ting1 ze2 an4
jian ting ze ming, pian ting ze an
chien t`ing tse ming, p`ien t`ing tse an
chien ting tse ming, pien ting tse an
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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A nice Chinese calligraphy wall scroll

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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 Wise Man In Kanji, Wise Man In Characters, Wise Man In in Mandarin Chinese, Wise Man In Characters, Wise Man In in Chinese Writing, Wise Man In in Japanese Writing, Wise Man In in Asian Writing, Wise Man In Ideograms, Chinese Wise Man In symbols, Wise Man In Hieroglyphics, Wise Man In Glyphs, Wise Man In in Chinese Letters, Wise Man In Hanzi, Wise Man In in Japanese Kanji, Wise Man In Pictograms, Wise Man In in the Chinese Written-Language, or Wise Man In in the Japanese Written-Language.

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