We have many options to create artwork with the Chinese characters / Asian symbols / Japanese Kanji for Nirvana on a wall scroll or portrait.
If you don't find what you are looking for below, there are a dizzying number of Nirvana-related words and phrases which you can find here: Japanese/Chinese/Buddhist Dictionary entries for Nirvana.
Some people associate Nirvana with Heaven, so you might want to check out this page: Heaven.
11. No Pain No Gain
12. Pure Land / Jodo
These are the Chinese characters that mean Nirvāṇa. I will let you decide what Nirvana means to you.
涅槃 / 涅盤 can also be translated as "Buddha's death and salvation" or "death of a Buddhist monk" depending on context. However, this is not seen with any bad meaning. You could replace "death" with "moving on", as that is how it's seen in a Buddhist context.
More info from our dictionary: Nirvana
This proverb suggests "Legendary Phoenix rises from the ashes". Literally, it means, "Legendary Phoenix [reaches] Nirvana".
There is a legend in China of a great bird which is reborn once every 500 years. This bird gathers all the ill-will, suffering, desire, and other negative things of the whole world. The bird then plunges into the fire to burn away all negative things, sacrificing itself in the process (achieving Nirvana, or perhaps allowing others the opportunity to reach Nirvana).
500 years later, the phoenix is reborn from the ashes again, and the cycle repeats.
The Bodhi or 菩提 is the moment of completion in Buddhism.
It is when all things become known, and you have completed your journey to enlightenment.
The reference is to the Bodhi tree where Siddhartha Gautama (the legendary man and who established the Buddhist religion), achieved enlightenment. Sometimes this is referred to as "the tree of enlightenment" but if you want the full version with the character for tree on the end, please see our other entry.
門 is the Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja for gate, door, gateway, doorway, opening, entrance, valve, or switch.
Most commonly, this is simply gate or door.
門 is also a Chinese surname that romanizes as Men.
In Japanese, this can be surnames romanizing as Yuki, Mon, To, or Kado.
In the Buddhist context, beyond door or gate, this can be a counter for a Buddhist sect, teaching, or school (we might say "slice" of bread, this would be "gate" of teaching). In this way, it kind of refers to one of several doors that lead to salvation or nirvana.
見性成仏 or Kenshō Jōbutsu is the initial enlightenment that leads to self-awareness, becoming Buddha, and the path to enter Nirvana.
Kenshō Jōbutsu is a complex concept in Japanese Buddhism. 見性成仏 is probably better translated as "Seeing one’s nature and becoming a Buddha".
羅漢 is the title Lohan, achiever of Nirvana.
This can also be a place name and surname Rakan in Japanese.
In the Buddhist context, this can be arhan, arhat, saint, or perfect man of Hīnayāna. It can refer to the 16, 18, or 500 disciples appointed to witness to Buddha-truth and save the world.
南無阿彌陀佛 is how to express "The Compassionate Amitabha Buddha" (especially for the Pure Land Buddhist Sect).
Some will translate as, "Homage to Amitâbha Buddha" or "I seek refuge in the Amitâbha Buddha".
南無阿彌陀佛 is valid in Chinese characters Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
Sometimes modern Japanese use a different version of the 4th and last Kanji but the version shown here is the most universal.
南無阿彌陀佛 is used to pay homage to Amitabha Buddha.
南無阿弥陀仏 is the modern Japanese version of "Namu Amida Butsu" or "The Compassionate Amitabha Buddha".
Some will translate this as, "I sincerely believe in Amitabha; Lord have mercy on me".
This phrase especially applies to Japanese Pure Land Buddhists.
There is a more universal version using ancient characters (with more strokes) for the 4th and last characters. That version is also used in Chinese, Korean, and occasionally Vietnamese. 南無阿弥陀仏 is used to pay homage to Amitabha Buddha.
Ashtangika Marga / Astangika-Marga / Atthangika Magga
八正道 is a complex set of steps that Buddhists much take to cleanse karma, achieve enlightenment, eventually cease the cycle of rebirth and live in a state of Nirvana.
Note: This term is exclusively used by devout Buddhists. It is not a common term and remains an unknown concept to most Japanese and Chinese people. Sometimes written as 八聖道.
This Japanese phrase means "no pain, no gain".
Literally, this suggests that with pain, a gain must follow.
The pain Kanji here can also be translated as sorrow or suffering. The gain can also mean profit, advantage, or benefit. In Japanese Buddhist context, that gain Kanji can mean rebirth in paradise, entering nirvana.
The character break down:
痛みなく (itami naku) pain; ache; sore; grief; distress. The naku part adds a meaning of "a lot of" or "extended"
して (shite) and then. (indicates a causative expression; acts as a connective particle)
得る (eru) to get; to acquire; to obtain; to procure; to earn; to win; to gain; to secure; to attain.
もの (mono) conjunctive particle indicating a cause or reason.
なし (nashi) none of; -less; without; no.
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
Also a sect of Buddhism
This literally means "pure land" or "clean earth".
淨土 is also the abbreviated title of a Buddhist sect which involves faith in rebirth of Buddha Amitabha (Amitābha) in the Western Heaven. Sometimes this sect is translated as "Paradise of the West". Other titles of this school of Buddhism include Amidism or Elvsium.
See Also: Shin Buddhism
轉世 is the Buddhist idea of reincarnation or transmigration.
Other definitions of this term: "Attainer of Nirvana from within the desire realm", "A practitioner who enters directly into Nirvana from the desire realm, without traversing the form and formless realms. One of the 27 kinds of Hinayana sages", or simply, "to return again to this life".
轉世 is also a Japanese title but the first Kanji was slightly simplified after WWII. Just let us know if you want the modern Japanese version when you order.
This title means: self-love; self-regard; regard for oneself; to cherish one's good name; taking care of oneself.
In Buddhist context, this is the cause of all pursuit or seeking, which in turn causes all suffering. All Buddhas discharge themselves from self-love and all pursuits of personal gratification. Such elimination of self-love is a step towards nirvāṇa.
This title can be taken as positive or negative, depending on how you read it. Some will see it as arrogant, others will read it as a token of self-respect. Because of this ambiguity, I do not recommend this title for a wall scroll.
四拳波羅蜜大光明 is "shiken haramitsu daikōmyō", a famous Japanese Buddhist mantra.
四拳 = shi-ken = four fist (many translate this as "four hearts").
波羅蜜 = ha-ra-mitsu = A loanword representing pāramitā, or entrance into Nirvana. Awkwardly, it also means jackfruit.
大光明 = dai-kou-myo = big/great light bright (great bright light).
Shiken represents four hearts:
1. The Merciful Heart - Love and caring for all living things.
2. The Sincere Heart - Pursues righteousness, or the right path - sincerely trying to do what is right.
3. The Attuned Heart - Knows that nature and fate have their ways, and thus stays in tune with the universe.
4. The Dedicated Heart - Steadfast on the chosen path to the end.
寂 means silent, solitary, quiet, calm, still, rest, or tranquil.
This also has a strong Buddhist association where it can mean "entering into Nirvana". In that context, this is sometimes used to refer to the passing of a Buddhist monk (he is silent, as he has entered Nirvana). For the living, this is about tranquility (especially of mind).
Some will also use this to mean "elegant simplicity".
From Sanskrit, this can represent praśama, vivikta, śānti, or nibbāna (nirvāṇa).
寂靜 is the Chinese and old Japanese word for calmness, stillness, and tranquility.
In Buddhist context, this can refer to the calmness of the heart, enlightenment, or the state of being calm and quiet - free from temptation and distress. Basically a state of earthly nirvāṇa.
Note: The second character is written just slightly differently in modern Japanese (静 instead of 靜). Expect a slight variation if you order this from the Japanese master calligrapher. The version shown here is considered the ancient Japanese and original Chinese form.
無盡 is the Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja for endless; inexhaustible; without limits; infinite.
In Buddhist context, this can refer to the infinitude of living beings, of worlds, of space, of the dharmadhātu, of nirvāṇa, etc.
The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji (Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|Nirvana||涅槃 / 涅盤|
|ne han / nehan||niè pán / nie4 pan2 / nie pan / niepan||nieh p`an / niehpan / nieh pan|
|Phoenix Rise from the Ashes||鳳凰涅磐|
|fèng huáng niè pán|
feng4 huang2 nie4 pan2
feng huang nie pan
|feng huang nieh p`an
feng huang nieh pan
|Bodhi - Awakening Enlightenment||菩提||bodai||pú tí / pu2 ti2 / pu ti / puti||p`u t`i / puti / pu ti|
|mon||mén / men2 / men|
|Kensho Jobutsu - Enlightenment - Path to Buddha||見性成佛|
|ken shou jou butsu|
ken sho jo butsu
|Namo Amitabha Buddha||南無阿彌陀佛|
|na mu a mi da butsu|
|nā mó ē mí tuó fó|
na1 mo2 e1 mi2 tuo2 fo2
na mo e mi tuo fo
|na mo o mi t`o fo
na mo o mi to fo
|Namu Amida Butsu||南無阿弥陀仏||namu amida butsu|
|The Noble Eightfold Path||八正道||hasshoudou / hashodo||bā zhèng dào|
ba1 zheng4 dao4
ba zheng dao
|pa cheng tao
|kisha||qǐ sǎ / qi3 sa3 / qi sa / qisa||ch`i sa / chisa / chi sa|
|No Pain No Gain||痛みなくして得るものなし||itami naku shite erumono wa nashi|
|jou do / joudo / jo do||jìng tǔ / jing4 tu3 / jing tu / jingtu||ching t`u / chingtu / ching tu|
|ten sei / tensei||zhuǎn shì|
|ji ai / jiai||zì ài / zi4 ai4 / zi ai / ziai||tzu ai / tzuai|
|Shiken Haramitsu Daikomyo||四拳波羅蜜大光明||shi ken ha ra mitsu dai kou myou|
shi ken ha ra mitsu dai ko myo
|寂||jaku||jì / ji4 / ji||chi|
|sekisei / jakujou|
sekisei / jakujo
|jì jìng / ji4 jing4 / ji jing / jijing||chi ching / chiching|
|mu jin / mujin||wú jìn / wu2 jin4 / wu jin / wujin||wu chin / wuchin|
|The True and Complete Enlightenment||眞覺|
|shinkaku||zhēn jué / zhen1 jue2 / zhen jue / zhenjue||chen chüeh / chenchüeh|
|Feng Huang Nie Pan||鳳凰涅槃|
|fèng huáng niè pán|
feng4 huang2 nie4 pan2
feng huang nie pan
|feng huang nieh p`an
feng huang nieh pan
|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.