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Wisdom in Chinese / Japanese...

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  1. Wisdom

  2. Wisdom comes from Experience

  3. Experience is the Mother of Wisdom

  4. Great Wisdom

  5. Door of Great Wisdom

  6. Inner Wisdom

  7. The Wisdom of the Many

  8. When Three People Gather, Wisdom is Multiplied

  9. Wisdom / Intelligence

10. Wisdom / Brilliance

11. Wisdom / Intelligence

12. Wisdom comes from Experience

13. Power of Understanding and Wisdom

14. Learn from Wisdom

15. Intuitive Wisdom / Inner Light

16. Wisdom from Hard Knocks

17. Each Time You Stumble and Fall, You Gain Experience and Wisdom

18. Inner Beauty / Inner Wisdom

19. Intelligence / Intellect

20. An Open Book Benefits Your Mind

21. A Wise Man Changes His Mind

22. Bodhi - Awakening Enlightenment

23. You May Learn from Victory, You Will Learn from Failure

24. When Three People Gather, One Becomes a Teacher

25. Confucius: Universal Education

26. The Ease of the Scholar

27. You May Learn from Victory, You Will Learn from Failure

28. The Five Tenets of Confucius

29. Learning is Eternal

30. Open the Minds of the Next Generation To Stimulate Thinking

31. Perception of Knowledge

32. Example is Better than Precept

33. Awareness

34. Failure is the Mother of Success

35. Shikin Haramitsu Daikomyo

36. Light / Bright

37. Learn New Ways From Old / Onkochishin

38. Tetsu / Wise Sage

39. 1. Right Understanding / Right Perspective / Right View / Perfect View

40. 2. Right Resolve / Right Thought / Right Intention / Perfect Resolve

41. Gem

42. Light / Bright and Promising Future

43. Daodejing / Tao Te Ching - Chapter 33

44. Wise and Virtuous


Wisdom

zhì
chi / tomo
Wisdom Scroll

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.


See Also:  Learn From Wisdom | Confucius

Wisdom

(All-Knowing)
zhì huì
chie
Wisdom Scroll

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

Wisdom

zhī huì
chie
Wisdom Scroll

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.


惠 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.

Wisdom comes from Experience

bù jīng yī shì
Wisdom comes from Experience Scroll

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.

Experience is the Mother of Wisdom

jīng yàn shì zhì huì zhī mǔ
Experience is the Mother of Wisdom Scroll

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.


See Also:  Failure is the Mother of Success | Wisdom | Learn From Wisdom

Great Wisdom

Prajñā
bō rě
hannya
Great Wisdom  Scroll

般若 means great wisdom or wondrous knowledge.

In the Buddhist context, this is prajna or prajñā, to know, to understand, to have the wisdom required to attain enlightenment.

Since this is a wisdom which transcends the realm of logic, the pure, absolute wisdom beyond the reach of words and concepts, it is not obtained through learning, but is realized for the first time through a religious experience.

Door of Great Wisdom

dà zhì huì mén
dai chi e mon
Door of Great Wisdom Scroll

大智慧門 is the title for, "The Great Wisdom Door", or "The Gate to Great Wisdom".

This refers to a portal to all wisdom and knowledge in Buddhism.

Inner Wisdom

nèi zhì
nai chi
Inner Wisdom Scroll

內智 is a Buddhist term that means, "inner wisdom".

The Wisdom of the Many

shuchi
The Wisdom of the Many Scroll

衆智 is a Japanese word that means the wisdom of the many.

When Three People Gather, Wisdom is Multiplied

san nin yore ba monju no chie
When Three People Gather, Wisdom is Multiplied Scroll

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.

Wisdom / Intelligence

huì
e / kei
Wisdom / Intelligence Scroll

This single character can be translated as wisdom but it has more of an "intelligent" flavor. This can also mean cleverness or wit.

Japanese note: 慧 is understood in Japanese but seldom seen as a lone Kanji.


See Also:  Knowledge | Learning | Read

Wisdom / Intelligence

chie
Wisdom / Intelligence Scroll

This Japanese word means wisdom; wit; sagacity; sense; intelligence.

In Buddhist context, this is prajna (insight leading to enlightenment).

This can also be the Japanese female given name Norie.

Wisdom / Brilliance

cái zhì
sai chi
Wisdom / Brilliance Scroll

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".


才智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.

Wisdom / Intelligence

xián míng
ken mei
Wisdom / Intelligence Scroll

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.

Wisdom comes from Experience

bù jīng yī shì bù zhǎng yī zhì
Wisdom comes from Experience Scroll

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.

Power of Understanding and Wisdom

wù xìng
gosei
Power of Understanding and Wisdom 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.

Learn from Wisdom

(When you see a wise person, try to be like them)
jiàn xián sī qí
Learn from Wisdom Scroll

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

Intuitive Wisdom / Inner Light

yī dào shén guāng
ichidou no shinkou
Intuitive Wisdom / Inner Light Scroll

一道神光 is a Buddhist term that means, "inner light", or "intuitive wisdom".

This actually reads, "[the] one path/way [of] spiritual light". It implies that your spirit knows the way, and will light the path for you.

Wisdom from Hard Knocks

The school of hard knocks
ái yī quán dé yī zhāo ái shí quán biàn zhū gě
Wisdom from Hard Knocks 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".

Each Time You Stumble and Fall, You Gain Experience and Wisdom

chī yí qiàn, zhǎng yí zhì
Each Time You Stumble and Fall, You Gain Experience and Wisdom Scroll

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.

Inner Beauty / Inner Wisdom

nèi xiù
Inner Beauty / Inner Wisdom Scroll

內秀 is an interesting word in Chinese that simultaneously means inner beauty and inner wisdom.

Some will translate it as "intelligent, but unassuming".
It's about having amazing abilities or traits on the inside which are not immediately obvious on the outside.

Intelligence / Intellect

zhì néng
chinou
Intelligence / Intellect Scroll

These two characters mean intelligence or intelligent.

The first character means wisdom, intellect or knowledge.

The second means ability, talent, skill, capacity, capable, able, and can even mean competent.

Together, the compound word can mean "capacity for wisdom", "useful knowledge", or even "mental power". Obviously this translates more clearly into English as "intelligence".

Note: 智能 / 知能 is not the same word used to mean "military intelligence". See our other entry for that.


知In modern Japan, they tend to use a version of the first character without the bottom radical. If your audience for this artwork is Japanese, please click on the Kanji to the right instead of the button above.

An Open Book Benefits Your Mind

kāi juàn yǒu yì
An Open Book Benefits Your Mind Scroll

There are several ways to translate this ancient proverb. Translated literally and directly it says, "Open roll has/yields benefit".

To understand that, you must know a few things...

First, Chinese characters and language have deeper meanings that often are not spoken but are understood - especially with ancient text like this. Example: It's understood that the "benefit" referred to in this proverb is to the mind of the reader. Just the last character expresses that whole idea.

Second, Chinese proverbs are supposed to make you think, and leave a bit of mystery to figure out.

Third, for this proverb, it should be noted that roll = book. When this proverb came about (about two thousand years ago) books were really rolls of bamboo slips strung together. The first bound books like the ones we use today did not come about until about a thousand years after this proverb when they invented paper in China.

開卷有益 is a great gift for a bookworm who loves to read and increase their knowledge. Or for any friend that is or wants to be well-read.

Some other translations of this phrase:
Opening a book is profitable
The benefits of education.

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

kun shi hyou hen su
A Wise Man Changes His Mind (but a fool never will) 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.

Bodhi - Awakening Enlightenment

pú tí
bodai
Bodhi - Awakening Enlightenment Scroll

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.


See Also:  Buddhism | Buddha | Nirvana | Enlightenment

You May Learn from Victory, You Will Learn from Failure

katte erumono mo areba makete erumono mo aru
You May Learn from Victory, You Will Learn from Failure Scroll

You may learn when everything goes right but the lessons learned when everything goes wrong are more vivid and lead to long-lasting wisdom.

Another way to look at this: One cannot always depend on past successes to guarantee future success but one can always learn from lessons drawn from failure.


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

When Three People Gather, One Becomes a Teacher

sān rén xíng bì yǒu wǒ shī
When Three People Gather, One Becomes a Teacher Scroll

This literally means, "when three people meet, one becomes the teacher".

This famous Chinese philosophy suggests that when people come together, they can always learn from each other.

One person must be the teacher and others learn. And in turn, the others become the teachers of the knowledge they posses.

It is important to remember that we all have something to teach, and we all have something to learn as well.

Confucius: Universal Education

zì xíng shù xiū yǐ shàng wú wèi cháng wú huì yān
Confucius: Universal Education Scroll

This quote from the Analects of Confucius translates as:

For anyone who brings even the smallest token of appreciation, I have yet to refuse instruction.

Another way to put it is: If a student (or potential student) shows just an ounce of interest, desire, or appreciation for the opportunity to learn, a teacher should offer a pound of knowledge.


This was written over 2500 years ago. The composition is in ancient Chinese grammar and phrasing. A modern Chinese person would need a background in Chinese literature to understand this without the aid of a reference.

The Ease of the Scholar

Quote from Confucius
mò ér zhì zhī xué ér bù yàn huǐ rén bù juàn hé yòu yú wǒ zāi
The Ease of the Scholar Scroll

This quote from the Analects of Confucius translates as:

To quietly recite and memorize the classics,
to love learning without tiring of it,
never be bored with teaching,
How could these be difficult for me?

This is a suggestion that for a true scholar, all of these things come with ease.


This was written over 2500 years ago. The composition is in ancient Chinese grammar and phrasing. A modern Chinese person would need a background in Chinese literature to understand this without the aid of a reference.

You May Learn from Victory, You Will Learn from Failure

bǎi shèng nán lǜ dí sān zhé nǎi liáng yī
You May Learn from Victory, You Will Learn from Failure Scroll

This Chinese proverb literally translates as: [Even a general who has won a] hundred victories [may be] hard put to see through the enemy's [strategy], [but one who has] broken [his] arm three [times] [will] be a good doctor.

Figuratively, this means: One cannot always depend on past successes to guarantee future success but one can always learn from lessons drawn from failure.


See Also:  Failure - Mother of Success | Experience - Mother of Success | Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8 | Hard Knocks

The Five Tenets of Confucius

The Five Cardinal Rules / Virtues of Confucius
rén yì lǐ zhì xìn
jin gi rei tomo nobu
The Five Tenets of Confucius Scroll

仁義禮智信 are the core of Confucius philosophy.

Simply stated:
仁 = Benevolence / Charity
義 = Justice / Rectitude
禮 = Courtesy / Politeness / Tact
智 = Wisdom / Knowledge
信 = Fidelity / Trust / Sincerity

Many of these concepts can be found in various religious teachings. Though it should be clearly understood that Confucianism is not a religion but should instead be considered a moral code for a proper and civilized society.

This title is also labeled, "5 Confucian virtues".


礼 If you order this from the Japanese calligrapher, expect the middle Kanji to be written in a more simple form (as seen to the right). This can also be romanized as "jin gi rei satoshi shin" in Japanese. Not all Japanese will recognize this as Confucian tenets but they will know all the meanings of the characters.


See Also:  Confucius Teachings | Ethics

Learning is Eternal

xué wú zhǐ jìng
Learning is Eternal Scroll

This Chinese philosophy tells of how we continue to learn throughout our lives.

This proverb can be translated in a few ways such as "Study has no end", "Knowledge is infinite", "No end to learning", "There's always something new to study", or "You live and learn".

The deeper meaning: Even when we finish school we are still students of the world gaining more knowledge from our surroundings with each passing day.


See Also:  An Open Book Benefits Your Mind | Wisdom | Learn From Wisdom

Open the Minds of the Next Generation To Stimulate Thinking

qǐ dí
Open the Minds of the Next Generation To Stimulate Thinking Scroll

啟迪 is often used to describe the idea of opening the minds of the young or the new generation.


See Also:  Wisdom | Learning is Eternal | Learn From Wisdom

Perception of Knowledge

zhī shi
chishiki
Perception of Knowledge Scroll

知識 has the very strong meaning of "knowledge" and in some context, "learning".

The first character represents "to know" or "to realize".

The second character alone refers to the ability to "recognize", or "realize" and can also be used to mean "knowing".


See Also:  Wisdom | Learn From Wisdom

Example is Better than Precept

shēn jiào shèng yú yán jiào
Example is Better than Precept Scroll

Tell somebody how to do something and they might get it.
Show them how to do it and they will master it in no time.

This can also be translated as "Behavior teaches more than words".


See Also:  Wisdom

Awareness

jué / jiào
gaku / satoru
Awareness Scroll

覺 can mean to feel; to figure out; thinking; awake; aware; bodhi; knowing; understanding; enlightenment; illumination; apprehend; perceive; realize.

覺 is a character that is impossible to define in a single word.

This term is often associated with Buddhism where it's understood to be: Illumination, enlightenment, or awakening in regard to the real in contrast to the seeming. However, it can also refer to enlightenment in regard to morality and evil.


Notes:

In Japanese, this can be the personal name Satoru.

In certain context, and only when pronounced as "jiao" in Chinese, it can refer to a nap, sleep or the state of sleeping. However, as a single character on a wall scroll, everyone will read this with the awareness or enlightenment context.

By no means is this the only way to write enlightenment. In fact, you should only choose this character if you are looking more for a word meaning awareness.


See Also:  Enlightenment | Wisdom | Knowledge

Failure is the Mother of Success

shī bài shì chéng gōng zhī mǔ
Failure is the Mother of Success Scroll

This Chinese and Korean proverb means, "Every failure that you experience is a chance to learn from it and find success".

Knowing what does not work is just as important as finding out what does work.


See Also:  Experience is the Mother of Wisdom

Failure is the Mother of Success

shippai wa seikou no haha
Failure is the Mother of Success Scroll

This Japanese proverb means exactly what you think.

Every failure that you experience is a chance to learn from it and find success.

Knowing what does not work is just as important as finding out what does work.


Note: This is the Japanese version of an ancient Chinese proverb.


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


See Also:  Experience is the Mother of Wisdom

Shikin Haramitsu Daikomyo

shi kin ha ra mitsu dai kou myo
Shikin Haramitsu Daikomyo Scroll

These are the Japanese Kanji characters that romanize as "Shikin Haramitsu Daikōmyō".

This is a complicated proverb. I'm actually going to forgo writing any translation information here. You can figure it out via Google search and at sites like Paramita and the Perfection of Wisdom or Fecastel.Wordpress.com::Shikin Haramitsu Daikōmyō

Light / Bright

míng
mei / myou
Light / Bright Scroll

明 means light, bright, clear, clarity, to understand, or wise.

In Chinese this can refer to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) where it can also be the surname Ming.

In Japanese, this can be romanized many different ways when used as surnames or given names. 明 is a partial list of those names: Meishuu, Mei, Min, Myoujin, Myou, Hinata, Haru, Toshi, Tooru, Sayaka, Saya, Satoshi, Asumi, Akera, Akemine, Akesaki, Ake, Akuru, Akiraka, and Akira.

In the Buddhist context, this represents vidyā (knowledge). To expand that, Buddhists understand this to mean bright, clear, enlightenment, wisdom, or to understand. It represents Buddha-wisdom and its revelation; also the manifestation of a Buddha's light or effulgence.

Learn New Ways From Old / Onkochishin

New ideas coming from past history
wēn gù zhī xīn
on ko chi shin
Learn New Ways From Old / Onkochishin Scroll

溫故知新 is a proverb from Confucius that is used in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cultures.

It can be translated several ways:
Coming up with new ideas based on things learned in the past.
Examine things of the past, and obtain the new knowledge.
Developing new ideas based on the study of the past.
Gain new insights through restudying old issues.
Understand the present by reviewing the past.
Learning from the past.
Review the old and know the new.
Taking a lesson from the past.
Taking a lesson from the wisdom of the ancients.
Follow the old ways.

The direct translation would be, "By asking old things know new things".
The Character meanings breakdown this way:
溫故 = ask old
知新 = know new

Explained: To learn new things that are outside of your experience, you can learn from old things of the past. You can find wisdom from history.


溫 VS. 温

Note: Japanese use a variant of the first Kanji in modern times.
Therefore if you order this from a Japanese calligrapher, expect the first Kanji to look like 温 instead of 溫.

In addition to 温故知新 as mentioned above, this is sometimes written as 温古知新 in Japan.

Tetsu / Wise Sage

zhé
tetsu
Tetsu / Wise Sage 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.

1. Right Understanding / Right Perspective / Right View / Perfect View

Samyag Dristhi / Samyag Drsti / Samma Ditthi
zhèng jiàn
sei ken
1. Right Understanding / Right Perspective / Right View / Perfect View Scroll

正見 is one of the Noble Eightfold Paths of Buddhism. Right View, along with Right Thought constitutes the path to Wisdom.

To get to the right view of the world, you must first understand and follow Four Noble Truths.


Note: 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.


See Also:  Buddhism | Enlightenment | Noble Eightfold Path

2. Right Resolve / Right Thought / Right Intention / Perfect Resolve

Samyak Samkalpa / Samma Sankappa
zhèng sī wéi
sei shi yui
2. Right Resolve / Right Thought / Right Intention / Perfect Resolve Scroll

正思唯 is one of the Noble Eightfold Paths of Buddhism. Right Thought, along with Right View constitute the path to Wisdom.

In Buddhism, Right Thought in simple terms means to free yourself from having ill-will towards anyone or anything. It also suggests that you remain harmless to other living creatures.

This can also be defined as, "Resolve in favor of renunciation, good will, and non-harming of sentient beings".


惟There is an ancient/alternate version of the third character for this selection. You can see that alternation third character to the right. If you want your selection to use that older character, just click on the character to the right, instead of the button above.

Note: 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.


See Also:  Buddhism | Enlightenment | Noble Eightfold Path

zhū yù
shugyoku
Gem Scroll

珠玉 is a Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja word meaning gem.

Beyond just the word gem, this can refer to pearls and jades, jewels, a clever remark, beautiful writing, gems of wisdom, genius, or an outstanding person.

If your name is Gem, this is a nice way to represent your name in 3 Asian languages. Though the pronunciation will be far from Gem, the meaning of gem is really nice.

Note: In Japanese, this is sometimes used as the female given name, "Tama".

Light / Bright and Promising Future

guāng míng
kou mei / mitsu haru
Light / Bright and Promising Future Scroll

光明 is a nice way to say "light" in Chinese, and old Korean Hanja. 光明 is because the word also suggests a bright future or refers so someone who is very promising (great future potential).

The first character means light or bright.

The second character means bright and clear (in this context).

光明 appears in most Japanese dictionaries but it not the most common Japanese Kanji word for light (more commonly used for the name Mitsuharu).

In old Korean Hanja, this can have a meaning of brightness or brilliancy.

In the context of Buddhism, this means, "Light emanating from a Buddha or Bodhisattva, symbolizing their wisdom and compassion"

Daodejing / Tao Te Ching - Chapter 33

zhī rén zhě zhī yě zì zhī zhě míng yě shèng rén zhě yǒu lì yě zì shèng zhě qiáng yě zhī zú zhě fù yě qiáng xíng zhě yǒu zhì yě bù zhī qí suǒ zhě jiǔ yě sǐ ér bù wáng zhě shòu yě
Daodejing / Tao Te Ching - Chapter 33 Scroll

This is referred to as passage or chapter 33 of the Dao De Jing (often Romanized as "Tao Te Ching").

These are the words of the philosopher Laozi (Lao Tzu).

The following is one translation of this passage:
To know others is wisdom;
To know oneself is acuity/intelligence.
To conquer others is power,
To conquer oneself is strength.
To know contentment is to have wealth.
To act resolutely is to have purpose.
To stay one's ground is to be enduring.
To die and yet not be forgotten is to be long-lived.
Another translation:
To understand others is to be knowledgeable;
To understand yourself is to be wise.
To conquer others is to have strength;
To conquer yourself is to be strong.
To know when you have enough is to be rich.
To go forward with strength is to have ambition.
To not lose your place is to be long lasting.
To die but not be forgotten -- that's true long life.
A third translation of the second half:
He who is content is rich;
He who acts with persistence has will;
He who does not lose his roots will endure;
He who dies physically but preserves the Dao
will enjoy a long after-life.


Notes:

During our research, the Chinese characters shown here are probably the most accurate to the original text of Laozi. These were taken for the most part from the Mawangdui 1973 and Guodan 1993 manuscripts which pre-date other Daodejing texts by about 1000 years.

Grammar was a little different in Laozi’s time. So you should consider this to be the ancient Chinese version. Some have modernized this passage by adding, removing, or swapping articles and changing the grammar (we felt the oldest and most original version would be more desirable). You may find other versions printed in books or online - sometimes these modern texts are simply used to explain to Chinese people what the original text really means.

This language issue can be compared in English by thinking how the King James (known as the Authorized version in Great Britain) Bible from 1611 was written, and comparing it to modern English. Now imagine that the Daodejing was probably written around 403 BCE (2000 years before the King James Version of the Bible). To a Chinese person, the original Daodejing reads like text that is 3 times more detached compared to Shakespeare’s English is to our modern-day speech.

Extended notes:

While on this Biblical text comparison, it should be noted, that just like the Bible, all the original texts of the Daodejing were lost or destroyed long ago. Just as with the scripture used to create the Bible, various manuscripts exist, many with variations or copyist errors. Just as the earliest New Testament scripture (incomplete) is from 170 years after Christ, the earliest Daodejing manuscript (incomplete) is from 100-200 years after the death of Laozi.

The reason that the originals were lost probably has a lot to do with the first Qin Emperor. Upon taking power and unifying China, he ordered the burning and destruction of all books (scrolls/rolls) except those pertaining to Chinese medicine and a few other subjects. The surviving Daodejing manuscripts were either hidden on purpose or simply forgotten about. Some were not unearthed until as late as 1993.

We compared a lot of research by various archeologists and historians before deciding on this as the most accurate and correct version. But one must allow that it may not be perfect, or the actual and original as from the hand of Laozi himself.

Wise and Virtuous

xián
ken
Wise and Virtuous Scroll

賢 is used to refer to being a wise, trustworthy and virtuous person. But it also contains the ideas of intelligence, genius, scholarship, virtue, sage, saint, good, excellent in character.

賢 is used in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja. Also used in a Buddhist context with same meaning.

Note: Can also be male given name, Masaru, in Japanese.




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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
Wisdomchi / tomozhì / zhi4 / zhichih
Wisdom智慧chiezhì huì / zhi4 hui4 / zhi hui / zhihuichih hui / chihhui
Wisdom知惠
知恵
chiezhī huì / zhi1 hui4 / zhi hui / zhihuichih hui / chihhui
Wisdom comes from Experience不經一事
不经一事
bù jīng yī shì
bu4 jing1 yi1 shi4
bu jing yi shi
bujingyishi
pu ching i shih
puchingishih
Experience is the Mother of Wisdom經驗是智慧之母
经验是智慧之母
jīng yàn shì zhì huì zhī mǔ
jing1 yan4 shi4 zhi4 hui4 zhi1 mu3
jing yan shi zhi hui zhi mu
jingyanshizhihuizhimu
ching yen shih chih hui chih mu
Great Wisdom 般若hannyabō rě / bo1 re3 / bo re / borepo je / poje
Door of Great Wisdom大智慧門
大智慧门
dai chi e mon
daichiemon
dà zhì huì mén
da4 zhi4 hui4 men2
da zhi hui men
dazhihuimen
ta chih hui men
tachihhuimen
Inner Wisdom內智
内智
nai chi / naichinèi zhì / nei4 zhi4 / nei zhi / neizhinei 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
sanninyorebamonjunochie
Wisdom
Intelligence
e / keihuì / hui4 / hui
Wisdom
Intelligence
智恵chie
Wisdom
Brilliance
纔智
才智
sai chi / saichicái zhì / cai2 zhi4 / cai zhi / caizhits`ai chih / tsaichih / tsai chih
Wisdom
Intelligence
賢明
贤明
ken mei / kenmeixián míng
xian2 ming2
xian ming
xianming
hsien ming
hsienming
Wisdom comes from Experience不經一事不長一智
不经一事不长一智
bù jīng yī shì bù zhǎng yī zhì
bu4 jing1 yi1 shi4 bu4 zhang3 yi1 zhi4
bu jing yi shi bu zhang yi zhi
bujingyishibuzhangyizhi
pu ching i shih pu chang i chih
puchingishihpuchangichih
Power of Understanding and Wisdom悟性goseiwù xìng / wu4 xing4 / wu xing / wuxingwu hsing / wuhsing
Learn from Wisdom見賢思齊
见贤思齐
jiàn xián sī qí
jian4 xian2 si1 qi2
jian xian si qi
jianxiansiqi
chien hsien ssu ch`i
chienhsienssuchi
chien hsien ssu chi
Intuitive Wisdom
Inner Light
一道神光ichidou no shinkou
ichidounoshinkou
ichido no shinko
ichidonoshinko
yī dào shén guāng
yi1 dao4 shen2 guang1
yi dao shen guang
yidaoshenguang
i tao shen kuang
itaoshenkuang
Wisdom from Hard Knocks挨一拳得一招挨十拳變諸葛
挨一拳得一招挨十拳变诸葛
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
吃一堑长一智
chī yí qiàn, zhǎng yí zhì
chi1 yi2 qian4 zhang3 yi2 zhi4
chi yi qian zhang yi zhi
chiyiqianzhangyizhi
ch`ih i ch`ien chang i chih
chihichienchangichih
chih i chien chang i chih
Inner Beauty
Inner Wisdom
內秀
内秀
nèi xiù / nei4 xiu4 / nei xiu / neixiunei hsiu / neihsiu
Intelligence
Intellect
智能 / 知能
智能
chinou / chinozhì néng / zhi4 neng2 / zhi neng / zhinengchih neng / chihneng
An Open Book Benefits Your Mind開卷有益
开卷有益
kāi juàn yǒu yì
kai1 juan4 you3 yi4
kai juan you yi
kaijuanyouyi
k`ai chüan yu i
kaichüanyui
kai chüan yu i
A Wise Man Changes His Mind (but a fool never will)君子豹変すkun shi hyou hen su
kunshihyouhensu
kun shi hyo hen su
kunshihyohensu
Bodhi - Awakening Enlightenment菩提bodaipú tí / pu2 ti2 / pu ti / putip`u t`i / puti / pu ti
You May Learn from Victory, You Will Learn from Failure勝って得るものも有れば負けて得るものも有るkatte erumono mo areba makete erumono mo aru
When Three People Gather, One Becomes a Teacher三人行必有我師
三人行必有我师
sān rén xíng bì yǒu wǒ shī
san1 ren2 xing2 bi4 you3 wo3 shi1
san ren xing bi you wo shi
sanrenxingbiyouwoshi
san jen hsing pi yu wo shih
sanjenhsingpiyuwoshih
Confucius: Universal Education自行束脩以上吾未嘗無誨焉 (note 嘗 = 嚐)
自行束脩以上吾未尝无诲焉
zì xíng shù xiū yǐ shàng wú wèi cháng wú huì yān
zi4 xing2 shu4 xiu1 yi3 shang4 wu2 wei4 chang2 wu2 hui4 yan1
zi xing shu xiu yi shang wu wei chang wu hui yan
tzu hsing shu hsiu i shang wu wei ch`ang wu hui yen
tzu hsing shu hsiu i shang wu wei chang wu hui yen
The Ease of the Scholar默而識之學而不厭誨人不倦何有于我哉
默而识之学而不厌诲人不倦何有于我哉
mò ér zhì zhī xué ér bù yàn huǐ rén bù juàn hé yòu yú wǒ zāi
mo4 er2 zhi4 zhi1 xue2 er2 bu4 yan4 hui3 ren2 bu4 juan4 he2 you4 yu2 wo3 zai1
mo er zhi zhi xue er bu yan hui ren bu juan he you yu wo zai
mo erh chih chih hsüeh erh pu yen hui jen pu chüan ho yu yü wo tsai
You May Learn from Victory, You Will Learn from Failure百勝難慮敵三折乃良醫
百胜难虑敌三折乃良医
bǎi shèng nán lǜ dí sān zhé nǎi liáng yī
bai3 sheng4 nan2 lv4 di2 san1 zhe2 nai3 liang2 yi1
bai sheng nan lv di san zhe nai liang yi
pai sheng nan lü ti san che nai liang i
The Five Tenets of Confucius仁義禮智信
仁义礼智信
jin gi rei tomo nobu
jingireitomonobu
rén yì lǐ zhì xìn
ren2 yi4 li3 zhi4 xin4
ren yi li zhi xin
renyilizhixin
jen i li chih hsin
jenilichihhsin
Learning is Eternal學無止境
学无止境
xué wú zhǐ jìng
xue2 wu2 zhi3 jing4
xue wu zhi jing
xuewuzhijing
hsüeh wu chih ching
hsüehwuchihching
Open the Minds of the Next Generation To Stimulate Thinking啟迪
启迪
qǐ dí / qi3 di2 / qi di / qidich`i ti / chiti / chi ti
Perception of Knowledge知識
知识
chishikizhī shi / zhi1 shi / zhi shi / zhishichih shih / chihshih
Example is Better than Precept身教勝於言教
身教胜于言教
shēn jiào shèng yú yán jiào
shen1 jiao4 sheng4 yu2 yan2 jiao1
shen jiao sheng yu yan jiao
shenjiaoshengyuyanjiao
shen chiao sheng yü yen chiao
Awareness
gaku / satorujué / jiào
jue2 / jiao4
jue / jiao
jue/jiao
chüeh chiao
chüehchiao
Failure is the Mother of Success失敗是成功之母
失败是成功之母
shī bài shì chéng gōng zhī mǔ
shi1 bai4 shi4 cheng2 gong1 zhi1 mu3
shi bai shi cheng gong zhi mu
shibaishichenggongzhimu
shih pai shih ch`eng kung chih mu
shih pai shih cheng kung chih mu
Failure is the Mother of Success失敗は成功の母shippai wa seikou no haha
shippaiwaseikounohaha
shipai wa seiko no haha
shipaiwaseikonohaha
Shikin Haramitsu Daikomyo詞韻波羅蜜大光明
词韵波罗蜜大光明
shi kin ha ra mitsu dai kou myo
shikinharamitsudaikoumyo
shi kin ha ra mitsu dai ko myo
shikinharamitsudaikomyo
Light
Bright
mei / myou / mei / myo / mei / myomíng / ming2 / ming
Learn New Ways From Old
Onkochishin
溫故知新
温故知新
on ko chi shin
onkochishin
wēn gù zhī xīn
wen1 gu4 zhi1 xin1
wen gu zhi xin
wenguzhixin
wen ku chih hsin
wenkuchihhsin
Tetsu
Wise Sage
tetsuzhé / zhe2 / zheche
1. Right Understanding
Right Perspective
Right View
Perfect View
正見
正见
sei ken / seikenzhèng jiàn
zheng4 jian4
zheng jian
zhengjian
cheng chien
chengchien
2. Right Resolve
Right Thought
Right Intention
Perfect Resolve
正思唯sei shi yui
seishiyui
zhèng sī wéi
zheng4 si1 wei2
zheng si wei
zhengsiwei
cheng ssu wei
chengssuwei
Gem珠玉shugyokuzhū yù / zhu1 yu4 / zhu yu / zhuyuchu yü / chuyü
Light
Bright and Promising Future
光明kou mei / mitsu haru
koumei / mitsuharu
ko mei / mitsu haru
komei / mitsuharu
guāng míng
guang1 ming2
guang ming
guangming
kuang ming
kuangming
Daodejing
Tao Te Ching - Chapter 33
知人者知也自知者明也勝人者有力也自勝者強也知足者富也強行者有志也不失其所者久也死而不亡者壽也
知人者知也自知者明也胜人者有力也自胜者强也知足者富也强行者有志也不失其所者久也死而不亡者寿也
zhī rén zhě zhī yě zì zhī zhě míng yě shèng rén zhě yǒu lì yě zì shèng zhě qiáng yě zhī zú zhě fù yě qiáng xíng zhě yǒu zhì yě bù zhī qí suǒ zhě jiǔ yě sǐ ér bù wáng zhě shòu yě
zhi1 ren2 zhe3 zhi1 ye3 zi4 zhi1 zhe3 ming2 ye3 sheng4 ren2 zhe3 you3 li4 ye3 zi4 sheng4 zhe3 qiang2 ye3 zhi1 zu2 zhe3 fu4 ye3 qiang2 xing2 zhe3 you3 zhi4 ye3 bu4 zhi1 qi2 suo3 zhe3 jiu3 ye3 si3 er2 bu4 wang2 zhe3 shou4 ye3
zhi ren zhe zhi ye zi zhi zhe ming ye sheng ren zhe you li ye zi sheng zhe qiang ye zhi zu zhe fu ye qiang xing zhe you zhi ye bu zhi qi suo zhe jiu ye si er bu wang zhe shou ye
chih jen che chih yeh tzu chih che ming yeh sheng jen che yu li yeh tzu sheng che ch`iang yeh chih tsu che fu yeh ch`iang hsing che yu chih yeh pu chih ch`i so che chiu yeh ssu erh pu wang che shou yeh
chih jen che chih yeh tzu chih che ming yeh sheng jen che yu li yeh tzu sheng che chiang yeh chih tsu che fu yeh chiang hsing che yu chih yeh pu chih chi so che chiu yeh ssu erh pu wang che shou yeh
Wise and Virtuous
kenxián / xian2 / xianhsien
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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Dictionary

Lookup Wisdom in my Japanese & Chinese Dictionary


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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.
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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 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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