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Be Like Water in Chinese / Japanese...

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Be Like Water

Quote from Lao Tzu
ruò shuǐ
Be Like Water Scroll

若水 is part of a very old saying from Lao Tzu.

It these two characters, there is a suggestion to be like water. The full phrase is about the goodness and purity of water. So, when this suggests being like water, it is actually a suggestion to be a good person (one who does not dishonor himself/herself etc).

Be Like Water

xiàng shuǐ yí yàng
Be Like Water Scroll

象水一樣 is a short quote from a much longer statement by Bruce Lee.

He was summarizing how people should be flexible to all circumstances, attacks, or situations. At the end, he exclaims, "Be like water my friend". 象水一樣 is the, "Be like water" part alone, since that seems to be what most people want.

Ultimate Goodness of Water

Quote from Lao Tzu
shàng shàn ruò shuǐ
Ultimate Goodness of Water Scroll

This quote is sometimes presented as, "Be like water".

However, this is an ancient quote from the great philosopher Lao Tzu. It basically suggests that the ultimate goodness and purity (in the world) is water. Many take this as a suggestion to be like pure/good water.

Mind Like Water

Mizu No Kokoro
mizu no kokoro
Mind Like Water Scroll

水の心 is the Japanese Buddhist and martial arts phrase, "mizu no kokoro", which means, "mind like water" or "heart of 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.

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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
Be Like Water若水ruò shuǐ / ruo4 shui3 / ruo shui / ruoshuijo shui / joshui
Be Like Water象水一樣
xiàng shuǐ yí yàng
xiang4 shui3 yi2 yang4
xiang shui yi yang
hsiang shui i yang
Ultimate Goodness of Water上善若水shàng shàn ruò shuǐ
shang4 shan4 ruo4 shui3
shang shan ruo shui
shang shan jo shui
Mind Like Water水の心mizu no kokoro
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.

Not the results for be like water that you were looking for?

Below are some entries from our dictionary that may match your be like water search...


If shown, 2nd row is Simp. Chinese

Simple Dictionary Definition

see styles
yǒng / yong3
 yō / ひさし
Mind Like Water Scroll
forever; always; perpetual
(pref,suf) long; (adj-na,n,adj-no) eternity; perpetuity; immortality; (given name) Hisashi
Perpetual, eternal, everlasting (like the unceasing flow of water); forever

see styles
 yuzuru / ゆずる (1) bag; sack; pouch; (2) skin of an orange (and other like fruits); (3) dead end; (4) plot of land surrounded by water; (personal name) Yuzuru

see styles
 bandou / bando / ばんどう (1) teapot-like object made typically of lacquerware and used to pour hot and cold liquids; (2) basin of water with two handles on either side used for washing one's face or hands; (surname) Bandou


see styles
fó yuè / fo2 yue4
fo yüeh
 butsu gatsu
The Buddha-moon, Buddha being mirrored in the human heart like the moon in pure water. Also a meaning similar to 佛日.


see styles
xìn shuǐ / xin4 shui3
hsin shui
 shinsui / しんすい
(given name) Shinsui
Faith pure and purifying like water; water of faith


see styles
shí zhù / shi2 zhu4
shih chu
 jū jū
The ten stages, or periods, in bodhisattva-wisdom, prajñā 般若, are the 十住; the merits or character attained are the 十地 q.v. Two interpretations may be given. In the first of these, the first four stages are likened to entry into the holy womb, the next four to the period of gestation, the ninth to birth, and the tenth to the washing or baptism with the water of wisdom, e.g. the baptism of a Kṣatriya prince. The ten stages are (1) 發心住 the purposive stage, the mind set upon Buddhahood; (2) 治地住 clear understanding and mental control; (3) 修行住 unhampered liberty in every direction; (4) 生貴住 acquiring the Tathāgata nature or seed; (5) 方便具足住 perfect adaptability and resemblance in self-development and development of others; (6) 正心住 the whole mind becoming Buddha-like; (7) 不退住 no retrogression, perfect unity and constant progress; (8) 童眞住 as a Buddha-son now complete; (9) 法王子住 as prince of the law; (10) 灌頂住 baptism as such, e.g. the consecration of kings. Another interpretation of the above is: (1) spiritual resolve, stage of śrota-āpanna; (2) submission to rule, preparation for Sakṛdāgāmin stage; (3) cultivation of virtue, attainment of Sakṛdāgāmin stage; (4) noble birth, preparation for the anāgāmin stage; (5) perfect means, attainment of anāgāmin stage; (6) right mind, preparation for arhatship; (7) no-retrogradation, the attainment of arhatship; (8) immortal youth, pratyekabuddhahood; (9) son of the law-king, the conception of bodhisattvahood; (10) baptism as the summit of attainment, the conception of Buddhahood; ten abodes


see styles
 hanzou / hanzo / はんぞう    hanizou / hanizo / はにぞう    hanisou / haniso / はにそう    hazou / hazo / はぞう    hasou / haso / はそう (out-dated or obsolete kana usage) (1) teapot-like object made typically of lacquerware and used to pour hot and cold liquids; (2) basin of water with two handles on either side used for washing one's face or hands; (1) wide-mouthed ceramic vessel having a small hole in its spherical base (into which bamboo was probably inserted to pour liquids); (2) teapot-like object made typically of lacquerware and used to pour hot and cold liquids


see styles
xīn xìng / xin1 xing4
hsin hsing
 shinsei / shinse / しんせい
one's nature; temperament
mind; disposition; nature
Immutable mind-corpus, or mind-nature, the self-existing fundamental pure mind, the all, the Tathāgata-garbha, or 如來藏心; 自性淸淨心; also described in the 起信論 Awakening of Faith as immortal 不生不滅. Another definition identifies 心 with 性 saying 性卽是心, 心卽是佛 the nature is the mind, and mind is Buddha; another, that mind and nature are the same when 悟 awake and understanding, but differ when 迷 in illusion; and further, in reply to the statement that the Buddha-nature is eternal but the mind not eternal, it is said, the nature is like water, the mind like ice, illusion turns nature to mental ice form, awakening melts it back to its proper nature.


see styles
shuǐ guàn / shui3 guan4
shui kuan
A monk's hat shaped like the character 'water' in front; water-cap



see styles
guàn dǐng / guan4 ding3
kuan ting
 kanjou;kanchou / kanjo;kancho / かんじょう;かんちょう
(1) {Buddh} baptism-like ceremony performed by the buddhas on a bodhisattva who attains buddhahood; (2) {Buddh} baptism-like ceremony for conferring onto someone precepts, a mystic teaching, etc. (in esoteric Buddhism); (3) {Buddh} pouring water onto a gravestone; (4) teaching esoteric techniques, compositions, etc. (in Japanese poetry or music)
abhiṣecana; mūrdhābhiṣikta; inauguration or consecration by sprinkling, or pouring water on the head; an Indian custom on the investiture of a king, whose head was baptized with water from the four seas and from the rivers in his domain; in China it is administered as a Buddhist rite chiefly to high personages, and for ordination purposes. Amongst the esoterics it is a rite especially administered to their disciples; and they have several categories of baptism, e.g. that of ordinary disciples, of teacher, or preacher, of leader, of office-bearer; also for special causes such as relief from calamity, preparation for the next life, etc.



see styles
tān shuǐ / tan1 shui3
t`an shui / tan shui
Desire is like water carrying things along; desire being like water


see styles
 mizutoabura / みずとあぶら (expression) (idiom) incompatible; (going together) like oil and water


see styles
 aburanimizu / あぶらにみず (expression) (idiom) incompatible; (going together) like oil and water



see styles
wèi shì shī / wei4 shi4 shi1
wei shih shih
Vaiśeṣika; derived from viśeṣa, characteristic, individuality, particularity or individual essence. M.W. Also 鞞世師 (or 鞞思迦); 吠世史迦; 勝論宗 An atomistic school founded by Kaṇāda. Like the Saṅkhya philosophy it taught a dualism and an endless number of souls, also by its doctrine of particularity or individual essence maintained 'the eternally distinct or sui generis nature of the nine substances' (see below), 'of which the first five including mind are held to be atomic.' M.W. The interaction of these with the six mentioned below produces cosmic evolution. It chiefly occupied itself, like the orthodox Nyāya philosophy, with the theory of knowledge, but it differed by distinguishing only six categories of cognition 六諦, viz. substance, quality, activity, species, distinction, and correlation, also a seventh of non-existence, and nine substances possessed of qualities, these 九陰 being: the five elements, air, fire, water, earth, ether, together with time, space, spirit (manas), and soul (ātman). Cf. Keith, Indian Logic and Atomism, and Dasgupta, History of Indian Philosophy.


see styles
 gomadoufu / gomadofu / ごまどうふ crushed sesame seeds boiled in water and chilled like tofu


see styles
 gomadoufu / gomadofu / ゴマどうふ crushed sesame seeds boiled in water and chilled like tofu


see styles
yī xué jiù huì / yi1 xue2 jiu4 hui4
i hsüeh chiu hui
to pick up (a skill) in a very short time; to take to something like a duck to water


see styles
shàng shàn ruò shuǐ / shang4 shan4 ruo4 shui3
shang shan jo shui
Mind Like Water Scroll
the ideal is to be like water (which benefits all living things and does not struggle against them) (quotation from the "Book of Dao" 道德經|道德经[Dao4 de2 jing1])



see styles
rú yú dé shuǐ / ru2 yu2 de2 shui3
ju yü te shui
like a fish back in water (idiom); glad to be back in one's proper surroundings



see styles
huī jīn rú tǔ / hui1 jin1 ru2 tu3
hui chin ju t`u / hui chin ju tu
lit. to squander money like dirt (idiom); fig. to spend money like water; extravagant


see styles
 suikahyoutan / suikahyotan / すいかひょうたん (yoji) not getting along well with each other; being like water and oil



see styles
shuǐ lún sān mèi / shui3 lun2 san1 mei4
shui lun san mei
 suirin zanmai
The samādhi of the water 'wheel' 水輪, one of the 五輪三昧; water is fertilizing and soft, in like manner the effect of this samādhi is the fertilizing of good roots, and the softening or reduction of ambition and pride; water wheel concentration


see styles
 gomadoufu / gomadofu / ごまどうふ crushed sesame seeds boiled in water and chilled like tofu


see styles
 yumizunogotoku / ゆみずのごとく (adv,exp) like water; like it grows on trees


see styles
 kaerunotsuranimizu / かえるのつらにみず (expression) like water off a duck's back; water on a frog's face


see styles
 hyoutanaiirezu / hyotanairezu / ひょうたんあいいれず (expression) (proverb) (See 相容れない・あいいれない) having completely different natures and being incompatible with each other; like oil and water; ice and (charcoal) fire cannot coexist


see styles
 yumizunogotoku / ゆみずのごとく (adv,exp) like water; like it grows on trees


see styles
 yumizunoyouni / yumizunoyoni / ゆみずのように (expression) (See 湯水・2) like water; like it grows on trees


see styles
 kaerunotsuranishouben / kaerunotsuranishoben / かえるのつらにしょうべん (expression) (colloquialism) (See 蛙の面に水) like water off a duck's back; urine on a frog's face


see styles
 fukuro / ふくろ (1) bag; sack; pouch; (2) skin of an orange (and other like fruits); (3) dead end; (4) plot of land surrounded by water

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A high-ranked Chinese master calligrapher that I met in Zhongwei

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