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12. Bonsai / Penzai
正念 is one of the Noble Eightfold Paths of Buddhism. Right Mindfulness, along with Right Effort and Right Concentration constitute the path to Concentration or Perfect Thought.
Right Mindfulness is about remaining focused on one's body, feelings, mind and mental qualities. It's also about being ardent, aware, and mindful, and supposes that you've already put aside worldly desire and aversion.
Monk Bhikkhu Bodhi described this as: The mind is deliberately kept at the level of bare attention, a detached observation of what is happening within us and around us in the present moment. In the practice of right mindfulness the mind is trained to remain in the present, open, quiet, and alert, contemplating the present event.
Another definition: Ongoing mindfulness of body, feelings, thinking, and objects of thought.
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.
現世 is a very short way to write "live in the moment" or "live in the now" in Japanese.
This short word is open to interpretation. It's used in Japanese Buddhism to mean "the current epoch" or "the current age" (the current age is but a brief moment in the greater scope of existence). When used in that context, this is pronounced "utsushiyo" or "ustusiyo" in Japanese. Otherwise, it's pronounced "gensei" in Japanese.
Other translation possibilities include:
Note: This is also a word in Chinese and old Korean Hanja. While the meaning is more or less the same, this is not recommended for a wall scroll if your audience is Chinese or Korean. This selection is best if your audience is Japanese.
今を生きる is a Japanese phrase that can be translated as "live for the day", "live for the moment", "seize the day", or "make the most of the present".
You can think of this as the Japanese version of "Carpe Diem".
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
應變 means, "to meet a contingency", "to adapt oneself to changes", or "to adapt to changes" in Chinese.
It's also used in Japanese but usually only in the context of Buddhism. 應變 is probably the shortest way to express the idea of adapting and overcoming whatever circumstances present themselves.
繁榮富裕 is a proverb about "Prosperity and Abundance".
繁榮富裕 present and reinforce the ideas of being prosperous, a booming economy, well-to-do, well-off, wealth, riches, and opulence.
繁榮富裕 is the ancient/traditional Chinese way to write this but most Japanese can fully read and understand it. It's also the correct form of old Korean Hanja (though few Koreans of the current generation will be able to read this).
See Also: Good Fortune
來世 can be used in many different ways.
It is often used to express the next life (life in heaven or wherever your soul is bound for). So it does have a religious overtone. However, it can also be used to express your life in the future - perhaps during your present lifetime.
It can also be translated as "the next world", "the next generation", "the time that is to come", "otherworld", or simply "posterity".
業 is the simplest way to express the idea of Karma. 業 is the Buddhist concept of actions committed in a former life affecting the present and future.
Out of the context of Buddhism, this Karma character means one's profession in life, trade, occupation, business, study, or career.
The Karma definition applies to both Chinese and Japanese for this character. This also works as Korean Hanja as Karma; although the meaning can vary depending on context (my Korean dictionary gives the definition of profession/occupation).
See Also: Buddhism
This proverb has been translated several ways:
1. Roses given, fragrance in hand.
2. You present others roses, fragrance remains.
3. The fragrance of the rose always remains on the hand of those that bestow them.
4. A little bit of fragrance always clings to the hands which give the flowers
However, this literally translates as, "Give someone rose flowers, [your] hands keep [the] remaining fragrance".
This proverb suggests that one should always be grateful to those who helped you succeed.
And remember your ancestors and those that came before you whose sacrifices made your present life better.
Some Chinese will separate the intended meaning from this proverb and translate this as "Don't forget the people who once helped you". In Modern China, this idiom is virtually never used to refer to an actual well.
Note: This can be pronounced in Korean but it's not a commonly used phrase.
盆栽 is the word that refers to the culture, hobby and to the miniature trees themselves that have become popular around the world.
Like many things, this art migrated from China to Japan some time ago but we tend to associate it with Japanese culture and even use the Japanese word in English.
Granted, in present day, this hobby seems to be more popular in Japan but still has a great following in China and even a little in Korea as well.
Note: Many people confuse the title of the bonsai tree with "banzai" which is a form of "hooray" in Japanese. I have also seen it misspelled as "bansai". The correct Romanization (Romaji) is "bonsai".
I must first say that this word is an odd thing to put on a wall scroll in Asian cultures. It won't make a lot of sense alone, unless you have a special or personal meaning that you attach to it for yourself.
These two characters mean phenomenon in Chinese, Japanese and Korean Hanja. They can also be translated as "a happening" depending on context.
The sum of these characters is a little different than their individual meanings. But I will break it down anyway...
The first character means present, existing, actual, appear, now or current.
The second character alone means pattern after, imitate, image, shape, sign (of the times), form, appearance, to be like, to resemble, to take after, to seem or elephant.
This almost directly matches the military idea of "Death Before Dishonor", while also being an ancient Chinese proverb.
The direct meaning is, "[A] soldier/warrior can die/kill [but he/she] cannot [allow] dishonor/disgrace [upon himself/herself]". Chinese grammar, and especially ancient grammar, is a little different than English. Not nearly as many articles are needed, and a lot is implied.
There are a lot of ways to express ideas similar to "Death Before Dishonor" in Chinese, and I would rate this one in the top two.
This is the original form of this proverb with the character for "soldier/warrior" at the beginning. Most of the time, this character is dropped, and this becomes a five-character proverb (the soldier/warrior part is implied, even without the character being present in the proverb). We also offer the shorter version.
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.
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.
This poem was written almost 1200 years ago during the Tang dynasty.
It depicts traveling up a place known as Cold Mountain, where some hearty people have built their homes. The traveler is overwhelmed by the beauty of the turning leaves of the maple forest that surrounds him just as night overtakes the day, and darkness prevails. His heart implores him to stop, and take in all of the beauty around him.
First before you get to the full translation, I must tell you that Chinese poetry is a lot different than what we have in the west. Chinese words simply don't rhyme in the same way that English, or other western languages do. Chinese poetry depends on rhythm and a certain beat of repeated numbers of characters.
I have done my best to translate this poem keeping a certain feel of the original poet. But some of the original beauty of the poem in it's original Chinese will be lost in translation.
Far away on Cold Mountain, a stone path leads upwards.
Among white clouds, people's homes reside.
Stopping my carriage I must, as to admire the maple forest at nights fall.
In awe of autumn leaves showing more red than even flowers of early spring.
Hopefully, this poem will remind you to stop, and "take it all in" as you travel through life.
The poet's name is "Du Mu" in Chinese that is: .
The title of the poem, "Mountain Travels" is:
You can have the title, poet's name, and even Tang Dynasty written as an inscription on your custom wall scroll if you like.
More about the poet:
Dumu lived from 803-852 AD and was a leading Chinese poet during the later part of the Tang dynasty.
He was born in Chang'an, a city of central China and former capital of the ancient Chinese empire in 221-206 BC. In present-day China, his birthplace is currently known as Xi'an, the home of the Terracotta Soldiers.
He was awarded his Jinshi degree (an exam administered by the emperor's court which leads to becoming an official of the court) at the age of 25, and went on to hold many official positions over the years. However, he never achieved a high rank, apparently because of some disputes between various factions, and his family's criticism of the government. His last post in the court was his appointment to the office of Secretariat Drafter.
During his life, he wrote scores of narrative poems, as well as a commentary on the Art of War and many letters of advice to high officials.
His poems were often very realistic, and often depicted every day life. He wrote poems about everything, from drinking beer in a tavern to weepy poems about lost love.
The thing that strikes you most is the fact even after 1200 years, not much has changed about the beauty of nature, toils and troubles of love and beer drinking.
The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji (Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|7. Right Mindfulness|
|正念||sei nen / seinen||zhèng niàn|
|Live In The Moment|
Live In The Now
|gen sei / gensei||xiàn shì / xian4 shi4 / xian shi / xianshi||hsien shih / hsienshih|
|From this Moment Forward||今から||imakara|
|Live For The Day|
Seize The Day
|今を生きる||ima wo i ki ru|
|ou hen / ouhen / o hen / ohen||yìng biàn|
|Content and Motionless||安住不動|
|an juu fu dou|
an ju fu do
|Abundance and Prosperity||繁榮富裕|
|fán róng fù yù|
fan2 rong2 fu4 yu4
fan rong fu yu
|fan jung fu yü
|rai-se||lái shì / lai2 shi4 / lai shi / laishi||lai shih / laishih|
|gou / go||yè / ye4 / ye||yeh|
|Rose Flowers Given, Frangrance Remains on Hands of Giver||贈人玫瑰手留余香|
|zèng rén méi guī shǒu liú yú xiāng|
zeng4 ren2 mei2 gui1 shou3 liu2 yu2 xiang1
zeng ren mei gui shou liu yu xiang
|tseng jen mei kuei shou liu yü hsiang|
|Drinking the water of a well: One should never forget who dug it||吃水不忘掘井人||chī shuǐ bú wàng jué jǐng rén|
chi1 shui3 bu2 wang4 jue2 jing3 ren2
chi shui bu wang jue jing ren
|ch`ih shui pu wang chüeh ching jen
chih shui pu wang chüeh ching jen
|盆栽||bon sai / bonsai||pén zāi / pen2 zai1 / pen zai / penzai||p`en tsai / pentsai / pen tsai|
|genshou / gensho||xiàn xiàng|
|Death Before Dishonor||士可殺不可辱|
|shì kě shā bù kě rǔ|
shi4 ke3 sha1 bu4 ke3 ru3
shi ke sha bu ke ru
|shih k`o sha pu k`o ju
shih ko sha pu ko ju
|Learn New Ways From Old|
|on ko chi shin |
|wēn gù zhī xīn|
wen1 gu4 zhi1 xin1
wen gu zhi xin
|wen ku chih hsin
|Mountain Travels Poem by Dumu||遠上寒山石徑斜白雲生處有人家停車坐愛楓林晚霜葉紅於二月花|
|yuǎn shàng hán shān shí jìng xiá bái yún shēng chù yǒu rén jiā tíng chē zuò ài fēng lín wǎn shuàng yè hóng yú èr yuè huā|
yuan3 shang4 han2 shan1 shi2 jing4 xia2 bai2 yun2 sheng1 chu4 you3 ren2 jia1 ting2 che1 zuo4 ai4 feng1 lin2 wan3 shuang4 ye4 hong2 yu2 er4 yue4 hua1
yuan shang han shan shi jing xia bai yun sheng chu you ren jia ting che zuo ai feng lin wan shuang ye hong yu er yue hua
|yüan shang han shan shih ching hsia pai yün sheng ch`u yu jen chia t`ing ch`e tso ai feng lin wan shuang yeh hung yü erh yüeh hua
yüan shang han shan shih ching hsia pai yün sheng chu yu jen chia ting che tso ai feng lin wan shuang yeh hung yü erh yüeh hua
|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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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.
Check out my lists of Japanese Kanji Calligraphy Wall Scrolls and Old Korean Hanja Calligraphy Wall Scrolls.
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