We have many options to create artwork with the Chinese characters / Asian symbols / Japanese Kanji for destiny on a wall scroll or portrait...
11. Free Will
13. The Red String
15. Tea Fate
命 is often translated as "destiny".
Sometimes this character is simply translated as "life" but more in terms of one's lot in life. In certain context, this can mean command or decree (generally from a king or emperor). Of course, such a decree are part of fate and lead you to fulfill your destiny.
In Chinese, this word leans toward the fate or destiny definition.
In Korean, it is usually read simply as "life".
In Japanese, it can mean all definitions shown above, depending on context.
See Also: Good Fortune
These two characters contain the ideas of "fate", "destiny", "fortune" and "luck".
You can also say that it means "what life throws at you" or "your lot in life" because the first character contains the idea of "life" or "living".
This version is really only used in Chinese. There's another version with just the characters reversed that is more universal. In fact, just skip this one. The opposite character order is better.
These two characters contain the ideas of "fate", "destiny", "fortune" and "luck" in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
運命 is often defined as "a person's fate" in various dictionaries.
These two characters can be reversed (written in either order) and yield roughly the same meaning.
This particular character order happens to be more common in old Korean and less common in modern Chinese.
樂天 is about being optimistic and also making the best of whatever life throws at you.
樂天 / 楽天 is hard to define. One dictionary defines this as, "acceptance of fate and happy about it". There is one English word equivalent which is sanguinity or sanguinary.
You can also say that this means, "Be happy with whatever Heaven provides", or "Find happiness in whatever fate Heaven bestows upon you". 樂天 suggests being an optimist in life.
Note: 樂天 / 楽天 is sometimes a given name in China.
These two characters specifically represent the fate or destiny that brings two people together.
緣份 is like the chance meeting of two people that leads sometime later to marriage.
This could also be the chance meeting of two business people, who become partners and build a huge and successful company.
Basically, this is an idea often associated with a fateful meeting leading to good fortune.
Some will define this word as, "The destiny brings you two together", or "Meant to be".
Note: The second character can also be written without the left radical, as shown to the right. If you have a preference, please let use know in the special instructions for your project. There is no difference in meaning or pronunciation, just two (alternate) ways to write the same character.
The first two characters mean "all things" or "everything".
The middle character kind of means, "in all cases".
The last two characters create a complex word that can be defined many ways such as, "karma", "cause and effect", "fate", "every cause has its effect, as every effect arises from a cause".
Keep in mind, Chinese grammar is a bit different than English, so trust me that this makes a natural proverb that means, "Everything happens for a reason" in Chinese.
物事は全て理由があって起きる means everything happens for a reason.
However, this is a work-in-progress. We're still trying to decide the best way to express this in Japanese. If you order this, we might have a discussion about the best version that fits you. Here's how the characters break down by meaning (keep in mind, Japanese grammar and sentence construction is very different from English, so it doesn't make complete sense in English)...
物事 = things, everything
全て all, the whole, entirely
あっ be, exist, have, take place, happens
起きる to occur, to happen; to take place (usually unfavorable incidents)
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
緣 represents the fate that brings and bonds people together.
緣 is a complicated single character. It can mean a lot of different things depending on how you read it.
In Japanese, it can mean fate, destiny, a mysterious force that binds two people together, a relationship between two people, bond, link, connection, family ties, affinity, opportunity, chance (to meet someone and start a relationship). It can also mean "someone to rely on", relative, reminder, memento, or the female given name, Yori.
It's basically the same in Chinese, where it's defined as cause, reason, karma, fate, or predestined affinity.
In the Buddhist context, it's Pratyaya. 緣 / 縁 is the concept of indirect conditions, as opposed to direct causes. It's when something happens (meeting someone) by circumstance or a contributing environment. Instead of a direct cause or act, it is a conditioning cause without direct input or action by the involved people.
Occasionally, this character is used in a facetious way to say hem, seam, or edge of clothing. In this case, it's the seam that brings or holds the clothing together.
Note: Japanese will tend to use the variant of this Kanji shown to the right. If you want this version (and are ordering this from the Japanese master calligrapher), click on the Kanji at the right instead of the button above.
天意 is a way to express destiny in a slightly religious way.
Literally this means "Heaven's Wish" or "Heaven's Desire" with the idea of fate and destiny being derived as well. It suggests that your destiny comes from God / Heaven and that your path has already been chosen by a higher power.
My Japanese dictionary defines this word as "divine will" or "providence" but it also holds the meaning of "the will of the emperor". Therefore, I don't suggest this phrase if your audience is Japanese - it feels a little strange in Japanese anyway.
因緣 is the Buddhist concept of a chance meeting or an opportunity that presents itself by fate.
Sometimes this is used to describe a cosmic chain of events or cause and effect.
It also is used to describe predestined relationships between people - and sometimes married couples (although if you want one about marriage, try this: Fate / Destiny of Lovers.
因緣 can also be translated as origin, karma, destiny, affinity, connection, and relation. This all depends on context - seen alone on a wall scroll, this will be read with a "fate / chance" meaning by a Chinese person, or a Korean person who can read Hanja.
The more complex definition of this word would be, "Direct causes and indirect conditions, which underlie the actions of all things".
This concept is known as nidana in the original Sanskrit. Also sometimes presented as hetupratyaya (or "hetu and prataya") which I believe is Pali.
Note: Japanese will tend to use this version of the second Kanji:
If you order this from the Japanese master calligrapher, expect that you’ll get this version. However, this word often carries a negative connotation in Japanese (bad things happen), as it is used that way in a certain Japanese idiom. Therefore, this may not be the best choice if Japanese is your target language.
This concept has existed for thousands of years that humans have the ability to understand right and wrong, then make a decision one way or the other (thus affecting their own fate).
Sources such as Confucius, Buddhist scriptures, the Qur'an and the Bible all address this idea.
As for the characters shown here, the first two mean free, freedom, or liberty. The last two simply mean "will".
These two characters mean, "Destiny that brings lovers together". It can also be translated technically as, "Predestined matrimonial affinity" (wow, talk about taking the romance out of this word - that was from the Oxford C-E dictionary).
Basically, this is talking about the fate (or karma) that brings a husband and wife together. I would translate this as "Together by fate" or "Joined by destiny" but in the context of marriage. You could use this for non-married lovers but the first character has a suggestion that this refers to those that are married.
This literally translates as, "the red string" or "the red thread" in Japanese but the real meaning is much deeper...
In Japanese culture, it's believed that fate, destiny, or karma joins lovers by an unseen string, tied around one little finger of each. 赤い糸 is how soul mates fine and are drawn to each other.
The Japanese concept of the red thread of fate, by most estimations, comes from Chinese folklore, where it's known as 姻緣紅線. The only difference being that in China, the celestial red thread is tied around the ankles of the lovers (versus what is usually represented to be the pinky finger in Japan).
茶緣 is a special title for the tea lover. This kind of means "tea fate" but it's more spiritual and hard to define. Perhaps the tea brought you in to drink it. Perhaps the tea will bring you and another tea-lover together. Perhaps you were already there, and the tea came to you. Perhaps it's the ah-ha moment you will have when drinking the tea.
I've been told not to explain this further, as it will either dilute or confuse the purposefully-ambiguous idea embedded in this enigma.
I happen to be the owner of a piece of calligraphy written by either the son or nephew of the last emperor of China, and this is the title he wrote. It was given to me at a Beijing tea house in 2001. 茶緣 is where I learned to love tea after literally spending weeks tasting and studying everything I could about Chinese tea. I did not understand the significance of the authorship, or meaning of the title at all. Some 10 years later, I realized the gift was so profound and had such providence. Only now I realize the value of a gift that it is too late to give proper thanks for. It was also years later that I ended up in this business, and could have the artwork properly mounted as a wall scroll. It has been borrowed for many exhibitions and shows, and always amazes native Chinese and Taiwanese who read the signature. This piece of calligraphy which I once thought just a bit of ink on a thin and wrinkled piece of paper is now one of my most valued possessions. And by fate, it has taught me to be more thankful of seemingly simple gifts.
姻緣紅線 is the legendary red string of destiny that binds all soul mates or lovers together.
In ancient Chinese culture, a mythological matchmaker named 月老 (Yuè Lǎo) was the controller of the fate that led lovers to meet. He did this by tying a celestial red string to the ankle of each person. Sometime during their life, they will meet and marry as fate dictates.
While the origin of the red string comes from China, it has spread to other parts of Asia (such as Japan where it's known as 赤い糸).
The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji (Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|命||inochi / mei||mìng / ming4 / ming|
|mìng yùn / ming4 yun4 / ming yun / mingyun||ming yün / mingyün|
|un mei / unmei||yùn mìng / yun4 ming4 / yun ming / yunming||yün ming / yünming|
Happy With Your Fate
|樂天 / 楽天|
|raku ten / rakuten||lè tiān / le4 tian1 / le tian / letian||le t`ien / letien / le tien|
|dài sī dì nī|
dai4 si1 di4 ni1
dai si di ni
|tai ssu ti ni
|緣份 / 緣分|
缘份 / 缘分
|yuán fèn / yuan2 fen4 / yuan fen / yuanfen||yüan fen / yüanfen|
Love by Fate
|Everything Happens for a Reason||萬事皆因果|
|wàn shì jiē yīn guǒ|
wan4 shi4 jie1 yin1 guo3
wan shi jie yin guo
|wan shih chieh yin kuo
|Everything Happens for a Reason||物事は全て理由があって起きる||monogoto ha subete riyuu ga at te okiru |
monogoto ha subete riyu ga at te okiru
|The Mysterious Bond Between People||緣 / 縁|
|en||yuán / yuan2 / yuan||yüan|
|Destiny Determined by Heaven||天意||teni||tiān yì / tian1 yi4 / tian yi / tianyi||t`ien i / tieni / tien i|
因缘 / 因縁
|in nen / innen||yīn yuán / yin1 yuan2 / yin yuan / yinyuan||yin yüan / yinyüan|
|Free Will||自由意志||jiyuu ishi / jiyuuishi / jiyu ishi / jiyuishi||zì yóu yì zhì|
zi4 you2 yi4 zhi4
zi you yi zhi
|tzu yu i chih
|The Karma/Fate/Destiny that Brings Lovers Together||姻緣|
|yīn yuán / yin1 yuan2 / yin yuan / yinyuan||yin yüan / yinyüan|
|The Red String||赤い糸||akai ito / akaiito|
|Such is Life|
Such is Destiny
|zhè jiù shì mìng|
zhe4 jiu4 shi4 ming4
zhe jiu shi ming
|che chiu shih ming
|chá yuán / cha2 yuan2 / cha yuan / chayuan||ch`a yüan / chayüan / cha yüan|
|The Red Thread of Fate||姻緣紅線|
|yīn yuán hóng xiàn|
yin1 yuan2 hong2 xian4
yin yuan hong xian
|yin yüan hung hsien
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.