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5. Inner Wisdom
智 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.
智 is also one of the five tenets of Confucius.
智 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.
The first character means, "wise" or "smart" and the second character means "intelligence."
I have also seen these two characters translated together as knowledge, sagacity, sense, and intelligence.
Note: 智慧 is used commonly in Chinese and is a less-common word in Japanese and Korean. If your audience is Japanese, I suggest our other Japanese wisdom option.
This means intellect or wisdom in Japanese too but is a more unusual way to write this word (though both versions are pronounced the same in Japanese).
See Also: Learn From Wisdom
The first Kanji represents "to know" or "to realize." Combined, these two Kanji mean "learn, know, and understand completely." Another way to translate this is "to know all things in their entirety."
Note: While vaguely understood in Chinese, this is only a real word in Japanese.
Ancient Japanese/Korean version: This is also a word in old Korean Hanja, with a slight difference in the last character - if you want that version (which is also the ancient Japanese version) please click on the character to the right, instead of the button above.
不經一事 means, "You can't gain knowledge without practical experience."
不經一事 is the short form (first half) of a longer Chinese proverb. These 4 characters remind you that wisdom only comes from experience.
It's been said that wisdom comes from good judgment, and good judgment comes from experience, while experience comes from a series of times when you used bad judgment.
This Chinese proverb makes the simplest connection between experience and wisdom.
This literally means, "when three people meet, wisdom is exchanged."
Some will suggest this means when three people come together, their wisdom is multiplied.
That wisdom part can also be translated as wit, sagacity, intelligence, or Buddhist Prajna (insight leading to enlightenment).
In the middle of this proverb is "monju," suggesting "transcendent wisdom." This is where the multiplication of wisdom idea comes from.
Note: This is very similar to the Chinese proverb, "When 3 people meet, one becomes a teacher."
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
In Chinese, this means "ability and wisdom" or "ability and intelligence."
It can also be defined as brilliance, or genius.
In Japanese, it takes on a meaning more of "wit and intelligence."
Note that the ancient/traditional form is shown above. After WWII, in both Japan and China, the first character was simplified. If you want this reformed/simplified version, just click on the characters to the right, instead of the button above. This is a good choice if your audience is Japanese.
This Japanese word refers to wisdom, intelligence, and prudence.
It was originally a Chinese word which refers to a wise person or enlightened ruler. It means wise and able, sagacious now in China.
You can translate this Chinese proverb a couple of ways.
The first is: You cannot gain knowledge without practice.
The second, and perhaps more popular way is: Wisdom comes from experience.
It literally means if you are inattentive to your affairs or situations you encounter, you will not gain or grow any wisdom or intellect.
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.
When you meet a wise person, you should learn from them and be inspired to become as wise as they are.
見賢思齊 is a pretty long proverb in English but in Chinese it's only four characters.
However, in Chinese the deeper meaning often surpass the dictionary definition of each character.
In this case, you should seek wise people to learn from throughout your life...
Always try to learn enough to become equal to them. It also suggests that the process of learning and seeking wisdom is a non-ending cycle.
See Also: Knowledge
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."
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.
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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji(Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|Wisdom||智||chi / tomo||zhì / zhi4 / zhi||chih|
|Wisdom||智慧||chie||zhì huì / zhi4 hui4 / zhi hui / zhihui||chih hui / chihhui|
|chie||zhī huì / zhi1 hui4 / zhi hui / zhihui||chih hui / chihhui|
|Wisdom comes from Experience||不經一事|
|bù jīng yī shì|
bu4 jing1 yi1 shi4
bu jing yi shi
|pu ching i shih
|Experience is the Mother of Wisdom||經驗是智慧之母|
|jīng yàn shì zhì huì zhī mǔ|
jing1 yan4 shi4 zhi4 hui4 zhi1 mu3
jing yan shi zhi hui zhi mu
|ching yen shih chih hui chih mu|
|Door of Great Wisdom||大智慧門|
|dai chi e mon|
|dà zhì huì mén|
da4 zhi4 hui4 men2
da zhi hui men
|ta chih hui men
|nai chi / naichi||nèi zhì / nei4 zhi4 / nei zhi / neizhi||nei chih / neichih|
|The Wisdom of the Many||衆智||shuchi|
|When Three People Gather, Wisdom is Multiplied||三人寄れば文殊の知恵||san nin yore ba monju no chie |
|慧||e / kei||huì / hui4 / hui|
|sai chi / saichi||cái zhì / cai2 zhi4 / cai zhi / caizhi||ts`ai chih / tsaichih / tsai chih|
|ken mei / kenmei||xián míng|
|Wisdom comes from Experience||不經一事不長一智|
|bù jīng yī shì bù zhǎng yī zhì|
bu4 jing1 yi1 shi4 bu4 zhang3 yi1 zhi4
bu jing yi shi bu zhang yi zhi
|pu ching i shih pu chang i chih
|Power of Understanding and Wisdom||悟性||gosei||wù xìng / wu4 xing4 / wu xing / wuxing||wu hsing / wuhsing|
|Learn from Wisdom||見賢思齊|
|jiàn xián sī qí|
jian4 xian2 si1 qi2
jian xian si qi
|chien hsien ssu ch`i
chien hsien ssu chi
|一道神光||ichidou no shinkou|
ichido no shinko
|yī dào shén guāng|
yi1 dao4 shen2 guang1
yi dao shen guang
|i tao shen kuang
|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
|Each Time You Stumble and Fall, You Gain Experience and Wisdom||吃一塹長一智|
|chī yí qiàn, zhǎng yí zhì|
chi1 yi2 qian4 zhang3 yi2 zhi4
chi yi qian zhang yi zhi
|ch`ih i ch`ien chang i chih
chih i chien chang i chih
|nèi xiù / nei4 xiu4 / nei xiu / neixiu||nei hsiu / neihsiu|
|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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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.
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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.
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 Wisdom Kanji, Wisdom Characters, Wisdom in Mandarin Chinese, Wisdom Characters, Wisdom in Chinese Writing, Wisdom in Japanese Writing, Wisdom in Asian Writing, Wisdom Ideograms, Chinese Wisdom symbols, Wisdom Hieroglyphics, Wisdom Glyphs, Wisdom in Chinese Letters, Wisdom Hanzi, Wisdom in Japanese Kanji, Wisdom Pictograms, Wisdom in the Chinese Written-Language, or Wisdom in the Japanese Written-Language.
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