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Zen Do in Chinese / Japanese...

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

  1. Appreciation of Truth by Meditation
  2. Zen Garden
  3. Zen / Chan / Meditation
  4. Zen Buddhism
  5. Zen Understanding
  6. Zen Contemplation
  7. Zendo / The Zen Way
  8. Enso - Japanese Zen Circle
  9. Kai Zen / Kaizen
10. Ichi wa Zen, Zen wa Ichi
11. Meditation
12. No Trouble / Freedom from Problems
13. Koan
14. Dōgen
15. Bodhidharma
16. Truth Flashed Through The Mind
17. Content and Motionless
18. Inner Bliss and Peace from Meditation
19. Sit in Meditation
20. Peaceful Heart / Peace of Mind / Calm Mind
21. Zheng
22. Kensho - Initial Enlightenment
23. Gaman
24. No Mind / Mushin

Appreciation of Truth by Meditation

China xīn yìn
Japan shin nin
Appreciation of Truth by Meditation

心印 is a Buddhist concept that simply stated is "appreciation of truth by meditation."

It's a deep subject, but my understanding is that you can find truth through meditation, and once you've found the truth, you can learn to appreciate it more through further meditation. This title is not commonly used outside of the Buddhist community (your Asian friends may or may not understand it). The literal translation would be something like "the mind seal," I've seen this term translated this way from Japanese Buddhist poetry. But apparently, the seal that is stamped deep in your mind is the truth. You just have to meditate to find it.

Soothill defines it this way: Mental impression, intuitive certainty; the mind is the Buddha-mind in all, which can seal or assure the truth; the term indicates the intuitive method of the Chan (Zen) school, which was independent of the spoken or written word.


Reference: Soothill-Hodous Dictionary of Chinese Buddhism


See Also:  Zen

Zen Garden

China chán yuán
Japan zen sono
Zen Garden

This literally means "meditation garden." The first character happens to be known as Zen in the west (pronunciation coming from Japanese) but this title is not often used in Japan (won't be recognized as a Japanese title). In fact, the title "Zen Garden" is basically made up by westerners.

Zen / Chan / Meditation

...as in Zen Buddhism
China chán
Japan zen
Zen / Chan / Meditation

First let's correct something: The Japanese romanization for this character, "Zen" has penetrated the English language. In English, it's almost always incorrectly used for phrases like "That's so zen." Nobody says "That's so meditation" - right? As the title of a sect, this would be like saying, "That's soooo Baptist!"

禪 by itself just means "meditation." In that context, it should not be confined to use by any one religion or sect.

Regardless of the dictionary definition, more often than not, this character is associated with Buddhism. And here is one of the main reasons:
Zen is used as the title of a branch of Mahayana Buddhism which strongly emphasizes the practice of meditation.
However, it should be noted that Buddhism came from India, and "Chan Buddhism" evolved and developed in medieval China. The Chinese character "Chan" was eventually pronounced as "Zen" in Japanese. Chan Buddhists in China have a lot in common with Zen Buddhists in Japan.

More about the history of Zen Buddhism here.

Please also note that the Japanese Kanji character for Zen has evolved a little in Japan, and the two boxes (kou) that you see at the top of the right side of the character have been replaced by three dots with tails. Japanese Zen Kanji The original character would still be generally understood and recognized in Japanese (it's considered an ancient version in Japan) but if you want the specifically modern Japanese version, please click on the zen Kanji to the right. Technically, there is no difference in Tensho and Reisho versions of Zen since they are ancient character styles that existed long before Japan had a written language.

Chinese Zen/Chan CharacterThere is also an alternate/shorthand/simplified Chinese version which has two dots or tails above the right-side radical. This version is also popular for calligraphy in China. If you want this version, just click the character to the right.


Further notes: Zen is just one of seven sects of Buddhism practiced in Japan. The others are 律 Ritsu (or Risshū), 法相 Hossō, 論 Sanron 華嚴 Kegon, 天台 Tendai, and 眞言 Shingon.

Zen Buddhism

China chán zōng
Japan Zen shuu
Zen Buddhism

禪宗 is one way to title "Zen Buddhism." Because the original pronunciation of Zen in Chinese is Chan, you'll also see this expressed as Chan Buddhism.

From the Buddhist Dictionary:
The Chan, meditative or intuitional, sect usually said to have been established in China by Bodhidharma, the twenty-eighth patriarch, who brought the tradition of the Buddha-mind from India. This sect, believing in direct enlightenment, disregarded ritual and sūtras and depended upon the inner light and personal influence for the propagation of its tenets, founding itself on the esoteric tradition supposed to have been imparted to Kāśyapa by the Buddha, who indicated his meaning by plucking a flower without further explanation. Kāśyapa smiled in apprehension and is supposed to have passed on this mystic method to the patriarchs. The successor of Bodhidharma was 慧可 Huike, and he was succeeded by 僧璨 Sengcan; 道信 Daoxin; 弘忍 Hongren; 慧能 Huineng, and 神秀 Shenxiu, the sect dividing under the two latter into the southern and northern schools: the southern school became prominent, producing 南嶽 Nanyue and 靑原 Qingyuan, the former succeeded by 馬祖 Mazu, the latter by 石頭 Shitou. From Mazu's school arose the five later schools.

Zen Understanding

China cān chán
Zen Understanding

This title speaks of reaching an understanding (of Zen or the world). It also means "to practice meditation." The two concepts lead you to the idea that meditation leads to understanding. 參禪 is pretty deep, so you can do your own research, or decide what this means for you.

This can also be defined in a more complex way as "thoroughly penetrating with meditative insight."

Zen Contemplation

China rù dìng
Zen Contemplation

This title can be defined as Zen contemplation in Japanese, or sit quietly in (Buddhist) meditation in Chinese. It also carries a similar meaning in Korean Hanja. Therefore, this is a rather universal term for meditation in the context of Buddhism throughout the Orient.

Can also be translated as "Meditatively equipoised" or "enter into meditation by stilling the karmic activities of deed, speech, and thought."

The original Sanskrit word is samapanna. In Tibetan: snyoms par zhugs pa.

Zendo / The Zen Way

China chán dào
Japan zen dou
Zendo / The Zen Way

This title is used in certain contexts but is not widely-known by the general population of China or Japan.

From Japanese, you will see this title romanized as "zendo," which is the brand name of a board game, and also a title used by some martial arts studios and karate dojos. Oddly, many translate this as "zen fist" although there is no "fist" in the title. If you literally translated this title, it would be "meditation way" or "meditation method."

In Chinese, this would be "chan dao" with the same literal meaning as the Japanese title. It's used in China by just a handful of martial arts styles/studios.

You should only order this title if you really understand the meaning, and it has some personal connection to you (such as practicing a martial art style that uses this title, or if you love the board game Zendo). Many who see your wall scroll will not be familiar with this title, and you'll have some explaining to do.


禪The first character can also be written in a more complex traditional way as shown to the right. Let us know in the special instructions for your calligraphy project if you want this style.

禅If you order this from the Japanese master calligrapher, the first character will automatically be written with an extra dot on top. This is the variant form of the original Chinese character which is commonly used in modern Japan Kanji. See sample to the right.

Enso - Japanese Zen Circle

Japan en sou
Enso - Japanese Zen Circle

〇 is the famous Enso symbol, which you will see widely-used by Japanese Zen Buddhists. In a twist, I am starting to see Enso used more and more by Chinese Buddhists.

Enso Circle


Here is the typical appearance of Enso artwork by Japanese calligrapher Kougetsu.

Enso is not a Japanese Kanji character. It falls more into the category of a symbol. There is some debate, but many consider Enso to be a religious symbol.

Some call this "The Circle of Enlightenment." Others call it the "Infinity Circle." If you actually took the meanings of the two Kanji (円相) that make up the word "En-so," you could read it as "Mutual Circle" or "Circle of Togetherness." I think the Enso symbol can simply mean different things to different people. Therefore, you should let it have the meaning that you perceive.

The appearance of your Enso will be determined by the artist's personal style, feeling, mood, etc.


Kai Zen / Kaizen

China gǎi shàn
Japan kai zen
Kai Zen / Kaizen

改善 means betterment, improvement, to make better, or to improve - specifically incremental and continuous improvement.

改善 became very important in post-war Japan when Edwards Deming came to Japan to teach concepts of incremental and continuous improvement (for which the big 3 auto-makers did not want to hear about at the time - even kicking Deming out of their offices). The Japanese workforce absorbed this concept at a time with their culture was in flux and primed for change.

This kaizen term is closely associated with the western title "Total Quality Management." Perhaps dear to my heart since I spent years studying this at university before I moved to China where TQM did not seem to exist. Slowly, this concept has entered China as well (I've actually given lectures on the subject in Beijing).

If you are trying to improve processes at your business or need to remind yourself of your continuous TQM goals, this would be a great wall scroll to hang behind your desk, or in your workplace.


See Also:  Kansei

Ichi wa Zen, Zen wa Ichi

Japan ichi wa zen zen wa ichi
Ichi wa Zen, Zen wa Ichi

This means, "One is all, all is one," in Japanese.

This is a somewhat well-known modern proverb in Japanese. However, many will associate it with an episode of Fullmetal Alchemist, a popular Japanese anime series.


Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.

Meditation

China míng xiǎng
Japan mei sou
Meditation

This encompasses the idea of meditation. It's also a term used to describe a deep form of day-dreaming, exploring one's imagination, the act of contemplating, or the idea of contemplation. 冥想 is often associated with Buddhism, however, the word "Zen" in Japanese (or "Chan" in Chinese) is probably more commonly used (or better known in the west).


See Also:  Zen

No Trouble / Freedom from Problems

China wú shì
Japan buji
No Trouble / Freedom from Problems

無事 is a Zen Buddhist term meaning no problem and no trouble.

無事 is the Zen state of perfect freedom from troubles and leaving secular affairs behind.

Sometimes this is used to describe the state of satori and complete tranquility of mind.

Written as 無事に with an extra Hiragana on the end, this becomes an adverb to describe something in the condition of safety, peace, quietness, and without troubles.

無事 (Buji) can also be a given name in Japan.

This has more meaning in the Japanese Zen Buddhist community than in China or Korea, where it can mean "be free" or "nothing to do or worry about."

Koan

China gōng àn
Japan kouan
Koan

In Buddhist context, this is a Zen question for meditation.

From the Buddhist dictionary this is:
Problems set by Zen masters, upon which thought is concentrated as a means to attain inner unity and illumination.

The secular meaning of this word can mean a judge's desk, complex legal case, contentious issue, a dossier, case record, public laws, regulations, or case-law.

Dōgen

China dào yuán
Japan dou gen
Dōgen

Usually, when people are looking for "Dogen," they are referring to the Japanese Zen monk by this name.

He lived from 1200-1253. This Dogen name or title literally means "The Way Origin" or "Beginning of the Path." It is understood to mean "beginning of right doctrine or faith" in the context of his name and work to establish the Sōtō school of Zen in Japan.

To accomplish that task, this humble monk traveled from Japan and across China to find the more original or pure forms of Buddhism.

Bodhidharma

China pú tí dá mó
Japan bo dai daru ma
Bodhidharma

This is the Chinese and Japanese title for Bodhidharma. This refers to a man commonly known as Damo, reputed as the founder of the Chan (Zen) Buddhism. His original name is believed to be Bodhitara (菩提多羅).


Note: In Japanese, they tend to write the last character as 磨 versus 摩. If you choose the Japanese master calligrapher, expect it to be written in the Japanese version.

Truth Flashed Through The Mind

China cān wù
Truth Flashed Through The Mind

參悟 is a Chan / Zen Buddhism concept that means "to understand (mystery) from meditation," or "to see truth flash through the mind."

參悟 is a pretty deep idea, therefore, your own study and contemplation may be required before you can fully appreciate it.

Content and Motionless

The condition of perfect meditation
Japan an juu fu dou
Content and Motionless

安住不動 means at peace and immovable.

This refers to the ideal state of Zen meditation.

The first two Kanji mean being content with one's present position or well composed.
The last two Kanji mean immobile, firmness, fixed, and/or motionless.

Inner Bliss and Peace from Meditation

China chán yuè
Inner Bliss and Peace from Meditation

This title refers to the inner bliss and peace that you can achieve from meditation.

This term transcends a few religions, including Taoism and Buddhism. It can also be translated as "joy of the mystic trance" or simply "meditative bliss."

Amazing that such a complex idea can be expressed in just two Chinese characters. Note that the first character is Chan/Zen (Chinese/Japanese) which means "meditation" in both languages.

Sit in Meditation

Zazen
China zuò chán
Japan za zen
Sit in Meditation

This describes the act of sitting in the state of deep meditation. You'll notice that the second character is Chan/Zen, which is often used to title the meditative form of Buddhism. In Korean Hanja, this means "religious meditation" (basically the same as the Chinese definition). This can also be defined as abstract meditation, fixed abstraction, or contemplation.

Buddhists may define this as, sitting in dhyāna, abstract meditation, fixed abstraction, or contemplation.


座禅Japanese note: This will make sense in Japanese but the Kanji shown to the left are partially in ancient/traditional Japanese form. Japanese Buddhists may use 坐禪, 坐禅, 座禪, or 座禅. The most standard/modern Japanese form of this word is shown to the right. Click on the Kanji to the right (instead of the button above) if you want this specifically Japanese version.

Peaceful Heart / Peace of Mind / Calm Mind

China ān xīn
Japan an shin
Peaceful Heart / Peace of Mind / Calm Mind

This can be defined as relief, peace of mind, feeling at ease, to be relieved, set one's mind at rest, easiness.

安心 is a nice word that encompasses great meanings within just two characters. Some of the other meanings include to pacify, to settle the mind, peace of mind, and it's also the idea of feeling a sense of security, safety, and confidence in your state of well-being.

This can be used by everyone, but some consider it to be a Buddhist concept (You'll find it in your Zen dictionary).

Zheng

Surname
China zhèng
Japan tei
Zheng

鄭 is the most common character that romanizes as Zheng, a surname in China.

This can also refer to the state of Zheng during the Warring States period of China.

In Korea, this can be the original way to write the surname Jeong in the old days (now it's 정 in modern Korea). Can also romanize from Korean as Chung or Jung.

This can romanize as the following names/surnames in Japanese: Tei; Ti; Te; Tsun; Dziyon; Chiyon; Chon; Chou; Chun; Chuu; Chien; Zen; Jiyon; Jon; Jou; Jun.

Kensho - Initial Enlightenment

China jiàn xìng
Japan ken shou
Kensho - Initial Enlightenment

Generally the same meaning as Satori but referring to the initial state or initial experience of enlightenment. 見性 is a Zen Buddhist term that is not widely known outside of the religion. Used more in Japan than China.

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. Some Japanese people will dispute whether this title is valid in the Japanese language. Only order this if you are sure this title is right for you.


See Also:  Buddhism | Enlightenment

Gaman

China wǒ màn
Japan ga man
Gaman

Gaman is a Zen Buddhist term from Japan that means "enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity."

This title can also be translated as patience, perseverance, tolerance, or self-denial.

我慢 is also a Chinese Buddhist term with a different pronunciation. It comes from Sanskrit abhimāna or ātma-mada. Chinese Buddhism defines this very differently as, "Egoism exalting self and depreciating others," "self-intoxication," or "pride." Alone, the first character means "Me, I, or Self," and the second character in a Buddhist context comes from Sanskrit māna and means pride, arrogance, self-conceit, looking down on others, supercilious, etc.


I'm currently working with Japanese and Chinese translators to try and reconcile the true meaning or any commonality of this word between languages. For now, please only consider this if your audience is Japanese.

No Mind / Mushin

China wú xīn
Japan mu shin
No Mind / Mushin

In Japanese, this word means innocent, or one with no knowledge of good and evil. It literally means "without mind."

無心 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: "No mind, a mind without ego. A mind like a mirror which reflects and dos not judge." The original term was "mushin no shin," meaning, "mind of no mind." It is a state of mind without fear, anger, or anxiety. Mushin is often described by the phrase, "mizu no kokoro," which means, "mind like water." The phrase is a metaphor describing the pond that clearly reflects it's surroundings when calm but whose images are obscured once a pebble is dropped into its waters.

This has a good meaning in conjunction with Chan / Zen Buddhism in Japan. However, out of that context, it means mindlessness or absent-minded. To non-Buddhists in China, this is associated with doing something without thinking.
In Korean, this usually means indifference.

Use caution and know your audience before ordering this selection.


More info: Wikipedia: Mushin

Search for Zen Do 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
Appreciation of Truth by Meditation心印shin nin / shinninxīn yìn / xin1 yin4 / xin yin / xinyinhsin yin / hsinyin
Zen Garden禪園
禅园
zen sono / zensonochán yuán
chan2 yuan2
chan yuan
chanyuan
ch`an yüan
chanyüan
chan yüan
Zen
Chan
Meditation

zenchán / chan2 / chanch`an / chan
Zen Buddhism禪宗
禅宗
Zen shuu / Zenshuu / Zen shu / Zenshuchán zōng
chan2 zong1
chan zong
chanzong
ch`an tsung
chantsung
chan tsung
Zen Understanding參禪
参禅
cān chán / can1 chan2 / can chan / canchants`an ch`an / tsanchan / tsan chan
Zen Contemplation入定rù dìng / ru4 ding4 / ru ding / rudingju ting / juting
Zendo
The Zen Way
禅道 / 禪道
禅道
zen dou / zendou / zen do / zendochán dào / chan2 dao4 / chan dao / chandaoch`an tao / chantao / chan tao
Enso - Japanese Zen Circle〇 / 円相en sou / ensou / en so / enso
Kai Zen
Kaizen
改善kai zen / kaizengǎi shàn / gai3 shan4 / gai shan / gaishankai shan / kaishan
Ichi wa Zen, Zen wa Ichi一は全、全は一ichi wa zen zen wa ichi
ichiwazenzenwaichi
Meditation冥想mei sou / meisou / mei so / meisomíng xiǎng
ming2 xiang3
ming xiang
mingxiang
ming hsiang
minghsiang
No Trouble
Freedom from Problems
無事
无事
bujiwú shì / wu2 shi4 / wu shi / wushiwu shih / wushih
Koan公案kouan / koangōng àn / gong1 an4 / gong an / gongankung an / kungan
Dōgen道元dou gen / dougen / do gen / dogendào yuán / dao4 yuan2 / dao yuan / daoyuantao yüan / taoyüan
Bodhidharma菩提達摩 / 菩提達磨
菩提达摩 / 菩提达磨
bo dai daru ma
bodaidaruma
pú tí dá mó
pu2 ti2 da2 mo2
pu ti da mo
putidamo
p`u t`i ta mo
putitamo
pu ti ta mo
Truth Flashed Through The Mind參悟
参悟
cān wù / can1 wu4 / can wu / canwuts`an wu / tsanwu / tsan wu
Content and Motionless安住不動
安住不动
an juu fu dou
anjuufudou
an ju fu do
anjufudo
Inner Bliss and Peace from Meditation禪悅
禅悦
chán yuè / chan2 yue4 / chan yue / chanyuech`an yüeh / chanyüeh / chan yüeh
Sit in Meditation坐禪
坐禅
za zen / zazenzuò chán / zuo4 chan2 / zuo chan / zuochantso ch`an / tsochan / tso chan
Peaceful Heart
Peace of Mind
Calm Mind
安心an shin / anshinān xīn / an1 xin1 / an xin / anxinan hsin / anhsin
Zheng
teizhèng / zheng4 / zhengcheng
Kensho - Initial Enlightenment見性
见性
ken shou / kenshou / ken sho / kenshojiàn xìng
jian4 xing4
jian xing
jianxing
chien hsing
chienhsing
Gaman我慢ga man / gamanwǒ màn / wo3 man4 / wo man / woman
No Mind
Mushin
無心
无心
mu shin / mushinwú xīn / wu2 xin1 / wu xin / wuxinwu hsin / wuhsin
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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Friendship
Future
Generation
Good Fortune
Grace
Gratitude
Hanawa
Happy Birthday
Harmony
Heaven
Honor
Independence
Inner Peace and Serenity
Justice
Kung Fu
Love
Loyalty
Mixed Martial Arts
Nature
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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 Zen Do Kanji, Zen Do Characters, Zen Do in Mandarin Chinese, Zen Do Characters, Zen Do in Chinese Writing, Zen Do in Japanese Writing, Zen Do in Asian Writing, Zen Do Ideograms, Chinese Zen Do symbols, Zen Do Hieroglyphics, Zen Do Glyphs, Zen Do in Chinese Letters, Zen Do Hanzi, Zen Do in Japanese Kanji, Zen Do Pictograms, Zen Do in the Chinese Written-Language, or Zen Do in the Japanese Written-Language.