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17. Namu Amida Butsu
20. Release / Let Go
23. Read / Study
25. Soke / Shuke
28. Dragon Spirit
30. The World
31. Adapt Oneself
35. Karma Connection
36. Four Elements
40. Big Dream
44. Shaolin Temple
49. Walk in the Way
50. Body / Karada
59. No Mind / Mushin
66. Buddhist Monk
67. Dharma / The Law
人間性を再生するのは寛容な心親切な言葉奉仕と思いやりの精神 is the Triple Truth of Buddhism in Japanese.
The Buddha ordered that all should know this triple truth...
A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.
人間性を再生するのは寛容な心親切な言葉奉仕と思いやりの精神 is the English translation most commonly used for this Japanese Buddhist phrase. You might have seen this on a coffee cup or tee-shirt.
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
仏教 can mean Buddha or Buddhism in Japanese.
Depending on context, this word can be used to refer to the religion and lifestyle of Buddhism, or in some cases, the Buddha himself.
Note: Until the 5th century, Japan did not have a written language. At that time, Japan absorbed Chinese characters to form their written language (these characters are known as "Kanji" in Japanese). The first character of this Buddhism title was actually a shorthand way to write 佛 (Buddha) in Chinese (popular around the 13th century). Somehow, this became the version of this character that was absorbed into Japanese, and thus became part of standard Kanji. Centuries later, this character is not recognized in Chinese at all.
仏 is also a rare form of Buddha Korean Hanja - though seldom used even when the Korean Hanja writing system was more common 100 years ago.
佛 is the essence of the Buddha or Buddhism.
Depending on context, this word and character can be used to refer to the religion and lifestyle of Buddhism, or in some cases, the Buddha himself.
It is interesting to note that this word is separate from all others in the Chinese language. The sound of "fo" has only this meaning. 佛 is in contrast to many sounds in the Chinese language which can have one of four tones, and more than 20 possible characters and meanings. This language anomaly shows just how significant Buddhism has affected China since the ancient times.
More about Buddhism
佛 is also used with the same meaning in Korean Hanja.
It's used in the very religious context of Buddhism in Japan. It should be noted that there are two forms of this Kanji in use in Japan - this is the more formal/ancient version but it's rarely seen outside of religious artwork, and may not be recognized by all Japanese people.
It also acts as a suffix or first syllable for many Buddhist-related words in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
See our Buddhism & Zen page
仏 is the single Japanese Kanji can mean Buddha or Buddhism.
This Kanji was actually a shorthand way to write 佛 (Buddha) in Chinese (popular around the 13th century). Somehow, this became the version of this Chinese character that was absorbed into Japanese, and thus became part of standard Kanji. Centuries later, this character is not recognized in Chinese at all (except by those from China with a background in Chinese literature or language).
仏 is also a rare or derivative Korean Hanja form - but I doubt you will find any Korean that knows that.
淨土宗 is the title of Japanese "Pure Land Buddhism". This form is also romanized/known as "Jodo Shu" (jōdo shū).
Also known as Amidism for the fact that this is a branch of Mahayana (Mahāyāna) Buddhism which focuses on Amitabha (Amitābha) Buddha. This form of Buddhism, along with Chinese characters, came to Japan via China in the 5th century according to most historians.
See Also: Shin Buddhism
Known in the west as "Shin Buddhism", this is a school of Japanese "Pure Land Buddhism". This form is also known as "True Pure Land Buddhism" or "Jodoshinshu" (jōdoshinshū).
If you are looking for this title, you probably already know the rest of the story.
See Also: Pure Land 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.
十法 is the title of the ten perfect or perfecting Mahāyāna rules.
The order of rules are as follows:
1. right belief.
2. right conduct.
3. right spirit.
4. joy of the bodhi mind.
5. joy in the dharma.
6. joy in meditation.
7. pursuing the correct dharma.
8. obedience to, or accordance with dharma.
9. departing from pride, desire, etc.
10. comprehending the inner teaching of Buddha and taking no pleasure attaining such knowledge or noting the ignorance of others.
This title is only used in the context of Buddhism. Japanese and Chinese people who are not familiar with Buddhism will not recognize this title.
心印 is a Buddhist concept that simply stated is "appreciation of truth by meditation".
It's a deep subject, but my understanding is that you can find truth through meditation, and once you've found the truth, you can learn to appreciate it more through further meditation. This title is not commonly used outside of the Buddhist community (your Asian friends may or may not understand it). The literal translation would be something like "the mind seal", I've seen this term translated this way from Japanese Buddhist poetry. But apparently, the seal that is stamped deep in your mind is the truth. You just have to meditate to find it.
Soothill defines it this way: Mental impression, intuitive certainty; the mind is the Buddha-mind in all, which can seal or assure the truth; the term indicates the intuitive method of the Chan (Zen) school, which was independent of the spoken or written word.
See Also: Zen
達摩 is the Chinese and Japanese title for Dharma (a short name for Bodhidharma).
He's known in Chinese as Damo, and in Japanese as Daruma.
Note: In Japanese, they tend to write the last character as versus . If you choose the Japanese master calligrapher, expect it to be written in the Japanese version.
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
正業 is one of the Noble Eightfold Paths of Buddhism. Right Action, along with Right Speech and Right Living constitute the path to Virtue.
The five precepts of Right Action are:
1. To refrain from destroying living beings (no murder, or any form of taking a life).
2. To refrain from stealing.
3. To refrain from sexual misconduct (adultery, rape, etc.).
4. To refrain from false speech (lying or trickery).
5. To refrain from intoxicants which lead to heedlessness (no drugs or alcohol).
This concept can be summarized as, "Avoidance of actions that conflict with moral discipline".
Note: In Japanese, when read by a non-Buddhist, this will mean "the right job/vocation".
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.
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".
Generally the same meaning as Satori but referring to the initial state or initial experience of enlightenment. 見性 is a Zen Buddhist term that is not widely known outside of the religion. Used more in Japan than China.
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. Some Japanese people will dispute whether this title is valid in the Japanese language. Only order this if you are sure this title is right for you.
念 is the simplest way to write "mindfulness" in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
念 can be defined these ways: To read; to study (a degree course); to read aloud; to miss somebody (keeping them in your mind); idea; remembrance; sense; thought; feeling; desire; concern; attention; recollection; memory; to think on/about; reflect; repeat, intone; a moment.
Obviously, the context in which the character is used determines which definition or meaning is perceived. As a single character, it's open and perhaps ambiguous. Thus, it can be read with any or all of these meanings.
念 is used in a Buddhist context (often written as 正念 or "right mindfulness") with similar meanings of thought and contemplation.
In Japanese, this character is sometimes used as a name "Nen".
This 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".
This 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.
This is used to pay homage to Amitabha Buddha.
This 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. This is used to pay homage to Amitabha Buddha.
輪回 / 輪廻 is a universal word in Japanese and Chinese that expresses the Buddhist idea of "reincarnation", "transmigration of souls" or "the eternal cycle of birth and death".
In some context, this can also mean "karma", and others will say it represents "samsara".
The first character means wheel, ring, turn, circle, loop or rotate.
The second character can be thought of as a suffix meaning "-times". This second character can also refer to something that revolves, returns, goes back, or a counter for the number of occurrences of some event.
Together the sum supersedes the parts and it means reincarnation. But knowing the seeing the essence of each character may help you understand some of the meaning behind the word.
Shown to the right is the more common way to write the second character in Japanese. it’s an alternate form of this character in Chinese (so neither way is technically wrong in either language). If you select a Japanese calligrapher, expect that is will look like the Kanji to the right.
觀音 / 観音 is the Buddhist deity known as the Goddess of Mercy or Bodhisattva of Compassion.
In Chinese, the proper name of this being is Guan Yin. There is some debate as to whether Guan Yin is female. The argument comes from some scripture that suggests Buddhist deities take on the male form. Others say that Guan Yin has no sex. And still others are okay with the female representation of Guan Yin.
This bodhisattva is also known or Romanized in the following ways:
Mandarin Chinese: Guan Yin, Kuan Yin, Kwan Yin.
Japanese: Kannon, Kwannon.
Sanskrit: Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara.
Vietnamese: Quan Âm.
Thai: Kuan Eim.
English: Bodhisattva of Mercy and Salvation, Goddess of Compassion, Buddha of Mercy, et al.
Note: The first character has a slight variation in Japanese. If your audience is specifically Japanese, you may want to select that version.
放 means to release, to free, to let go, to let out, to set off (fireworks).
In Japanese, this can also be a place called Hanashi
放 is also used in the context of Buddhism.
In Buddhism, this can represent the release of desire, materialism, suffering, or mortality.
天界力士 means "warrior of the heavenly realm" in Chinese, old Korean Hanja, and Japanese Kanji.
天界力士 is also known as Narayana in Buddhism.
This Chinese character means, "to read out loud", or "to study books".
Very seldom used in Japanese anymore (except occasionally in Buddhism).
沙 means sand in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
This can imply something infinite like the sands of the Ganges. It's often used in Buddhism to suggest something countless.
This can also be the Japanese female given name Migiwa, so it’s kind of like the English name Sandy.
This Japanese word means "head of family" or "originator".
In Chinese, this is a name for Shandao (善導), a writer of commentaries on the sutras of the Pure Land sect of Buddhism.
This two-character Chinese, Japanese, and Korean word means vitality or virility.
Depending on context, this can also mean, "mind and spirit", "life energy", or "essence".
This term is often used in Buddhism with the same meaning.
Note: In modern Japanese, they have simplified the last Kanji to look like the version shown to the right. If you want this modern version, please click on this Kanji. Otherwise, if you click the button above, you’ll get the ancient or traditional version (which is also universal between Chinese, old Korean, and old Japanese).
This Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja title can mean, "dragon god", "dragon king", or "dragon spirit".
In the context of Buddhism, this is one of eight kinds of spiritual beings found in Mahāyāna texts.
This Chinese character, Japanese Kanji and Korean Hanja means mirror.
It can also mean lens or looking-glass depending on context.
In Buddhism, this is the equivalent of ādarśa from Sanskrit meaning a mirror.
世界 is the Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja for world.
Beyond the world, this can refer to society, the universe, space, a sphere or circle.
In Buddhism, this would mean the realm governed by one Buddha.
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.
加護 is Japanese for "divine protection" or "the saving grace of God".
Please consider this blessing to be Japanese only. This can have the same meaning in the context of Buddhism in Chinese but it's also a nickname for "intensive care" at Chinese hospitals.
Note: My Japanese translator says this is not very commonly used in Japanese. I added this because a customer asked for it. There is not really a better Japanese phrase to express this idea - so this is it if you want it.
有緣 means: related; brought together by fate; same karma; those who have the cause, link, or connection.
有緣 is a common word in Chinese but usually only used in the context of Buddhism in Japanese.
Buddhists will say this refers to those that are influenced by and responsive to the Buddha.
地水火風 is a Buddhist term that means "earth, water, fire, wind".
地水火風 is often just referred to as "the four elements". There is a more common title (the five elements) which adds wood to the mix. These four elements are used in some sects of Japanese Buddhism (not so much in Chinese).
This encompasses the idea of meditation.
It's also a term used to describe a deep form of day-dreaming, exploring one's imagination, the act of contemplating, or the idea of contemplation. 冥想 is often associated with Buddhism, however, the word "Zen" in Japanese (or "Chan" in Chinese) is probably more commonly used (or better known in the west).
See Also: Zen
First let's correct something: The Japanese romanization for this character, "Zen" has penetrated the English language. In English, it's almost always incorrectly used for phrases like "That's so zen". Nobody says "That's so meditation" - right? As the title of a sect, this would be like saying, "That's soooo Baptist!"
禪 by itself just means "meditation". In that context, it should not be confined to use by any one religion or sect.
Regardless of the dictionary definition, more often than not, this character is associated with Buddhism. And here is one of the main reasons:
Zen is used as the title of a branch of Mahayana Buddhism which strongly emphasizes the practice of meditation.
However, it should be noted that Buddhism came from India, and "Chan Buddhism" evolved and developed in medieval China. The Chinese character "Chan" was eventually pronounced as "Zen" in Japanese. Chan Buddhists in China have a lot in common with Zen Buddhists in Japan.
More about the history of Zen Buddhism here.
Please also note that the Japanese Kanji character for Zen has evolved a little in Japan, and the two boxes (kou) that you see at the top of the right side of the character have been replaced by three dots with tails. The original character would still be generally understood and recognized in Japanese (it's considered an ancient version in Japan) but if you want the specifically modern Japanese version, please click on the zen Kanji to the right. Technically, there is no difference in Tensho and Reisho versions of Zen since they are ancient character styles that existed long before Japan had a written language.
There is also an alternate/shorthand/simplified Chinese version which has two dots or tails above the right-side radical. This version is also popular for calligraphy in China. If you want this version, just click the character to the right.
Further notes: Zen is just one of seven sects of Buddhism practiced in Japan. The others are 律 Ritsu (or Risshū), 法相 Hossō, 論 Sanron 華嚴 Kegon, 天台 Tendai, and 眞言 Shingon.
逾 means: to exceed; to go beyond; to transcend; to cross over; to jump over.
You'll see this character used in Buddhism (same meaning).
Technically, this single character is a Japanese word but seldom-used as a single Kanji in modern Japanese.
大夢 means, "Big Dream" in Chinese and Japanese.
大夢 is mostly a Buddhist term referring to the great dream that represents a long and winding life that feels like a dream (since reality is an illusion anyway in Buddhism).
This can also be a female given name, Hiromu, or Oomu, in Japanese. Also more rare unisex given names Daimu or Taimu.
魂魄 is a Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja term for ghost, soul, or spirit.
It's used in the context of Buddhism as:
Animus and anima; the spiritual nature or mind, and the animal soul; the two are defined as mind and body or mental and physical, the invisible soul inhabiting the visible body, the former being celestial, the latter terrestrial.
修行 is shugyō or shugyou in Japanese. It refers to ascetic practices, training, practice, discipline, and study.
修行 is also a word in the original Chinese, where it refers more to religious studies and practices.
In Buddhist context, this represents caryā. In Buddhism, this refers to conduct; to observe and do; to end one's ways; to cultivate oneself in right practice; to be religious; to be pious.
仁慈 word is used in Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Asian Buddhism to relay the important idea of loving kindness.
仁慈 can also be defined as: benevolent; charitable; kind; merciful; kind-hearted; benevolence; kindness; humanity; mercy.
In Japanese, this can also be the given name Hitoji. This would also be a good Mandarin Chinese given name romanized as Jentzu (in Taiwan) or Renci (really sounds like ren-tsuh).
少林寺 is the full title of the Shaolin Temple.
This refers to the Buddhist monastery famous for its kung fu monks.
少林寺 is also known in Japanese where they use the same characters but romanize it as Shourinji or Shōrinji.
Some believe this monastery and temple represent the place where Bodhidharma sat with his face to a wall for nine years leading to his discovery of enlightenment and establishment of Buddhism.
意 is the Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja for idea, intention, meaning, thought, wish, desire, intention, feelings, thoughts.
In Buddhism, this is the last of the six means of perception (the others are sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, and this one represents mind). It does not literally mean "mind", but rather something more like mental powers, intellect, intelligence, faculty of thought, or understanding in the Buddhist context.
五大 is the Japanese title for the five elements.
In Japan, the five elements differ slightly from the original Chinese. Therefore, in Japanese philosophy you have: earth, water, fire, wind and void (space).
The meaning of the first character is 5, but the second character means great or large. Some translate this as the five majors. 大 is only understood to be "elements" when you have 五 in front of it.
In Buddhism, this can be short for 五大明王, or the five great and wise kings.
This literally reads as "one heart" in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
Colloquially or figuratively, it means: wholeheartedly; heart and soul; of one mind; wholeheartedness; one's whole heart; with the whole mind or heart; one mind of heart.
I'm not kidding, all of those came right from the dictionary for this one title. In Buddhism, this can refer to the bhūtatathatā, or the whole of things; the universe as one mind, or a spiritual unity.
In Japanese this can be the female given name, Hitomi.
法輪 is the Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja title, "The Eternal Wheel of Life", in Buddhism.
Also known as the wheel of the law, or Buddha-truth which is able to crush all evil and all opposition. It is likened to Indra's wheel which rolls on from man to man, place to place, age to age.
Colloquially used in some sects to mean preaching or spreading Buddha-truth.
In Taoist and Buddhist context, this means to "Walk in the Way". In Buddhism, that further means to follow the Buddha truth. In some Buddhist sects, this can mean to make a procession around a statue of the Buddha (always with the right shoulder towards the Buddha).
Outside of that context, this can mean route (when going somewhere), the way to get somewhere, etc.
In Japanese, this can be the surname or given name Yukimichi.
体 is used in Japanese to mean "body".
体 can also refer to the form, style, corporeal existence, appearance, identity, or the state of something or someone. 體 is also used in Buddhism in regards to the corporeal existence of someone (their earthy vessel). It's kind of a broad term that can be used in a lot of different ways.
As a single character, it's usually pronounced "karada" but it can also be pronounced "tai" or "te" (Japanese pronunciation borrowed from the original Chinese).
體 is not a common Kanji to use for a wall scroll. Only select this if you have a personal and meaningful reason to do so. Also, consider this version to be "Japanese only" - see below...
精進 is a wide-ranging word that is used in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
It can mean devotion, diligence, concentration, aggressive, enterprising, vigorous, energetic, purification, pushing, asceticism, assiduity, or virility. 精進 is deep, and these two characters can express ideas that take a full English phrase to describe such as, "concentration of mind", "to forge ahead vigorously", or "to dedicate oneself to progress".
Used in the context of Buddhism, it means, "making earnest efforts to cultivate virtue and get rid of evil", or "zeal in one's quest for enlightenment".
Usually, when people are looking for "Dogen", they are referring to the Japanese Zen monk by this name.
He lived from 1200-1253. This Dogen name or title literally means "The Way Origin" or "Beginning of the Path". It is understood to mean "beginning of right doctrine or faith" in the context of his name and work to establish the Sōtō school of Zen in Japan.
To accomplish that task, this humble monk traveled from Japan and across China to find the more original or pure forms of Buddhism.
化身 is a way to say avatar in Chinese characters, Korean Hanja, and Japanese Kanji.
化身 is the original Buddhist idea of avatar (not the movie). 化身 can also mean: incarnation; reincarnation; embodiment; personification; impersonation.
化身 is the Chinese word used for the original Sanskrit, nirmāṇakāya. Alternates for nirmāṇakāya include 應身, 應化身, or 變化身. In the context of Buddhism, this is a Buddha's metamorphosic body, which has the power to assume any shape to propagate the Truth. This title, 化身, is used for the appearance of a Buddha's many forms.
忍法 is Ninpo which can be translated as "Ninja Arts" from Japanese.
If you want this to mean "Ninja Arts", you should consider this to be Japanese only. In Chinese, someone might read this as "patience law" or "the art of patience".
The first character can be associated with "Ninja" since it is the "Nin" of "Ninja". But the literal meaning is patience or perseverance. The second character means "law" or "method". Often this is extended to mean or be translated as "arts".
Within a Buddhist context (especially Chinese Buddhism), this is the method or stage of patience, the sixth of the seven stages of the Hīnayāna in the attainment of arhatship, or sainthood.
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"
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.
This single-character means diligence or "sense of duty" in Chinese and Korean (also understood in Japanese but not commonly-seen as a stand-alone Kanji).
As a single character on a wall scroll, this will only be seen with this meaning. However, it can also mean industrious, hardworking, frequent, regular, constant, energy, zeal, fortitude, or virility.
In Buddhism this can represent vīrya (viriya), the idea of energy, diligence, enthusiasm, or effort. It can be defined as an attitude of gladly engaging in wholesome activities, and it functions to cause one to accomplish wholesome or virtuous actions. Some Buddhists may even define this as "manliness" (a definition from a hundred years ago, before equality).
If you, or someone you know is a hard-worker (or needs a reminder to be diligent), then this is the wall scroll to have in your/their office.
無常 is the state of being "not permanent", "not enduring", transitory, or evolving.
It can also mean variable or changeable. In some context, it can refer to a ghost that is supposed to take a soul upon death. Following that, this term can also mean to pass away or die.
In the Buddhist context, this is a reminder that everything in this world is ever-changing, and all circumstances of your life are temporary.
If you take the Buddhist philosophy further, none of these circumstances are real, and your existence is an illusion anyway. Thus, the idea of the eternal soul is perhaps just the attachment you have to your ego. Once you release your attachment to all impermanent things, you will be on your way to enlightenment and Buddhahood.
Language notes for this word when used outside the context of Buddhism:
In Korean Hanja, this means uncertainty, transiency, mutability, or evanescent.
In Japanese, the definition orbits closer to the state of being uncertain.
In Japanese, this word means innocent, or one with no knowledge of good and evil. It literally means "without mind".
無心 is one of the five spirits of the warrior (budo), and is often used as a Japanese martial arts tenet. Under that context, places such as the Budo Dojo define it this way: "No mind, a mind without ego. A mind like a mirror which reflects and dos not judge". The original term was "mushin no shin", meaning, "mind of no mind". It is a state of mind without fear, anger, or anxiety. Mushin is often described by the phrase, "mizu no kokoro", which means, "mind like 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.
This has a good meaning in conjunction with Chan / Zen Buddhism in Japan. However, out of that context, it means mindlessness or absent-minded. To non-Buddhists in China, this is associated with doing something without thinking.
In Korean, this usually means indifference.
Use caution and know your audience before ordering this selection.
More info: Wikipedia: Mushin
身土不二 (Shindofuni) is originally a Buddhist concept or proverb referring to the inseparability of body-mind and geographical circumstances.
身土不二 literally reads, "Body [and] earth [are] not two".
Other translations or matching ideas include:
Body and land are one.
Body and earth can not be separated.
Body earth sensory curation.
You are what you eat.
Indivisibility of the body and the land (because the body is made from food and food is made from the land).
Going further, this speaks of our human bodies and the land from which we get our food being closely connected. This phrase is used often when talking about natural and organic vegetables coming directly from the farm to provide the healthiest foods in Japan.
Character notes: 身(shin) in this context does not just mean your physical body rather a concept including both body and mind.
土 (do) refers to soil, earth, clay, land, or in some cases, locality. It's not the proper name of Earth, the planet. However, in can refer to the land or realm we live in.
Japanese note: This has been used in Japan, on and off since 1907 as a slogan for a governmental healthy eating campaign (usually pronounced as shindofuji instead of the original shindofuni in this context). It may have been hijacked from Buddhism for this propaganda purpose, but at least this is "healthy propaganda".
Korean note: The phrase 身土不二 was in use by 1610 A.D. in Korea where it can be found in an early medical journal.
In modern South Korea, it's written in Hangul as 신토불이. Korea used Chinese characters (same source for Japanese Kanji) as their only written standard form of the language until about a hundred years ago. Therefore, many Koreans will recognize 身土不二 as a native phrase and concept.
See Also: Strength and Love in Unity
This title is the Buddhist practice of giving known as Dāna or दान from Pali and Sanskrit.
Depending on the context, this can be alms-giving, acts of charity, offerings (usually money) to a priest for reading sutras or teachings.
Some will put Dāna in these two categories:
1. The pure, or unsullied charity, which looks for no reward here but only in the hereafter.
2. The sullied almsgiving whose object is personal benefit.
The first kind is, of course, the kind that a liberated or enlightened person will pursue.
Others will put Dāna in these categories:
1. Worldly or material gifts.
2. Unworldly or spiritual gifts.
You can also separate Dāna into these three kinds:
1. 財布施 Goods such as money, food, or material items.
2. 法布施 Dharma, as an act to teach or bestow the Buddhist doctrine onto others.
3. 無畏布施 Courage, as an act of facing fear to save someone or when standing up for someone or standing up for righteousness.
The philosophies and categorization of Dāna will vary among various monks, temples, and sects of Buddhism.
Breaking down the characters separately:
布 (sometimes written 佈) means to spread out or announce, but also means cloth. In ancient times, cloth or robs were given to the Buddhist monks annually as a gift of alms - I need to do more research, but I believe there is a relationship here.
施 means to grant, to give, to bestow, to act, to carry out, and by itself can mean Dāna as a single character.
Dāna can also be expressed as 檀那 (pronounced "tán nà" in Mandarin, and dan-na or だんな in Japanese). 檀那 is a transliteration of Dāna. However, it has colloquially come to mean some unsavory or unrelated things in Japanese. So, I think 布施 is better for calligraphy on your wall to remind you to practice Dāna daily (or whenever possible).
観世音 is the longer and more formal Japanese version of Bodhisattva of Compassion or Guan Yin.
In Japanese, this is pronounced Kanzeon. The Chinese version is a bit more common in Asia but in Japanese they use a slight variation of the first character. Choose this version only if your intended audience is specifically Japanese.
観音 is the specifically Japanese version of Bodhisattva of Compassion or Guan Yin.
In Japanese, this is pronounced Kannon, and occasionally spelled Kwannon. The Chinese version is a bit more commonly-seen in Asia. However, in Japanese, there is a slight variation with the first character.
Some time ago, a camera company in Japan named their company after this Buddhist deity. That camera company is still known as Canon (they chose a "C" instead of a "K" when they Romanized this name).
These two Chinese characters create a title that means to reach peace and calm through meditation.
安禪 is an excellent wall scroll for your relaxation or meditation room.
安禪 is also a Buddhist-related term that encompasses the idea of entering into dhyana meditation.
安禪 is also used in Japanese, but in modern times, the second character has changed, so it's 安禅 now. If you want the modern Japanese version, just choose a Japanese calligrapher, and let me know when you place your order.
釈迦 is the way to write Shakyamuni in Japanese.
It's just two Kanji, the first is a simplified version of the one used in Chinese for Shakyamuni, and the second one is identical to the Chinese.
This refers to the Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama, 563 BCE-483 BCE) also known as Sakyamuni and Gautama Buddha.
This has very good meaning in Japanese but is an odd selection for a wall scroll. It appears here more for reference.
僧 is the single-character or short form of Sangha, the Buddhist idea of community or order (of monks, nuns, or followers of the Buddha).
Alone, this character can simply mean "monk" (Just means monk in Japanese).
Note that when writing this as Kanji, Japanese will tend to write this in the form shown to the right. If you select our Japanese master calligrapher, please expect this special Kanji form.
僧侶 / 僧侶 is a Japanese title for a Buddhist monk.
The first Kanji means Buddhist priest or monk by itself.
The second Kanji means follower or companion.
Note, if you order this from the Japanese master calligrapher, the first character will look a bit more like the Kanji shown to the right than the Kanji shown above. Let us know if you have a preference, as both versions are technically-correct in both Chinese and Japanese.
法 is the simple way to write "law" or in a Buddhist context "Dharma".
This can also mean method, way or Buddhist teaching. It's also an abbreviation for the country of France.
The Buddhist context exists in Chinese and Korean Hanja but I have not yet confirmed that this means more than "law" when used alone in Japanese.
釋迦牟尼 is a transliteration of "Shakyamuni" or "Sakyamuni" in Chinese, Japanese, and old Korean.
The perceived meaning of the name is roughly translated as, "Sage of the Sakyas".
This same Buddha is also known as "Siddhartha Gautama", "Gotama Buddha", "Tathagata", or simply, "The Supreme Buddha".
釋迦牟尼 is the legendary man and prince who eventually established the Buddhist religion.
Note: Occasionally Romanized as "Siddhattha Gotama".
This combination of characters is sometimes seen and used in South Korea and Japan as well (with the same meaning).
Note: 釋迦牟尼 came from the Sanskrit शाक्यमुनि and can also be romanized with diuretics as Śākyamuni.
慈 is the simplest way to express the idea of compassion.
This can also mean love for your fellow humans, humanity, or living creatures. Sometimes this is extended to mean charity.
This term is often used with a Buddhist or Christian context. The concept was also spoken of by Laozi (Lao Tzu) in the Dao De Jing (Tao Te Ching).
慈 is considered the direct translation of the Sanskrit word मैत्री (maitrī) Pali word मेत्ता (mettā). In this context, it means benevolence, loving-kindness, and goodwill.
This Chinese character is understood in Japanese but is usually used in compound words (not seen alone). Also used in old Korean Hanja, so it's very universal.
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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|
|Triple Truth of Japanese Buddhism||人間性を再生するのは寛容な心親切な言葉奉仕と思いやりの精神||ningensei o saisei suruno wa kanyou na kokoro shinsetsu na kotoba houshi to omoi yari no seishin|
ningensei o saisei suruno wa kanyo na kokoro shinsetsu na kotoba hoshi to omoi yari no seishin
|Buddhism||仏教||bukkyou / bukyo|
|佛||hotoke||fó / fo2 / fo|
|仏 / 佛|
|hotoke / butsu|
|Pure Land Buddhism|
|jou do shuu|
jo do shu
|jìng tǔ zōng|
jing4 tu3 zong1
jing tu zong
|ching t`u tsung
ching tu tsung
|Shin Buddhism||浄土真宗||jou do shin shuu|
jo do shin shu
|ten sei / tensei||zhuǎn shì|
|Ten perfect Mahayana rules||十法||jippou / jipo||shí fǎ / shi2 fa3 / shi fa / shifa||shih fa / shihfa|
|Appreciation of Truth by Meditation||心印||shin nin / shinnin||xīn yìn / xin1 yin4 / xin yin / xinyin||hsin yin / hsinyin|
|達摩 / 達磨|
达摩 / 达磨
|daru ma / daruma||dá mó / da2 mo2 / da mo / damo||ta mo / tamo|
|gou / go||yè / ye4 / ye||yeh|
|4. Right Action|
|sei gyou / seigyou / sei gyo / seigyo||zhèng yè / zheng4 ye4 / zheng ye / zhengye||cheng yeh / chengyeh|
|Kensho Jobutsu - Enlightenment - Path to Buddha||見性成佛|
|ken shou jou butsu|
ken sho jo butsu
|Kensho - Initial Enlightenment||見性|
|ken shou / kenshou / ken sho / kensho||jiàn xìng|
|Mindfulness||念||nen||niàn / nian4 / nian||nien|
|Namo Amitabha Buddha||南無阿彌陀佛|
|namu amida 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|
Transmigration of Souls
|輪回 / 輪廻|
|rin ne / rinne||lún huí / lun2 hui2 / lun hui / lunhui|
|Goddess of Mercy and Compassion||觀音 / 観音|
|kan non / kannon||guān yīn / guan1 yin1 / guan yin / guanyin||kuan yin / kuanyin|
|放||hana / pang||fàng / fang4 / fang|
|Warrior of the Heavenly Realm||天界力士||ten kai riki shi|
|tiān jiè lì shì|
tian1 jie4 li4 shi4
tian jie li shi
|t`ien chieh li shih
tien chieh li shih
|doku||dú / du2 / du||tu|
|Sand||沙||suna||shā / sha1 / sha|
|宗家||Shuuke / Shuke||zōng jiā / zong1 jia1 / zong jia / zongjia||tsung chia / tsungchia|
|Tsuki no Kokoro|
Mind like the Moon
|月の心||tsuki no kokoro|
|seiki||jīng qì / jing1 qi4 / jing qi / jingqi||ching ch`i / chingchi / ching chi|
|ryuu jin / ryuujin / ryu jin / ryujin||lóng shén|
|kagami||jìng / jing4 / jing||ching|
|The World||世界||sei kai / seikai||shì jiè / shi4 jie4 / shi jie / shijie||shih chieh / shihchieh|
|ou hen / ouhen / o hen / ohen||yìng biàn|
|Wake Up to Reality||省悟||shō go / shōgo||xǐng wù / xing3 wu4 / xing wu / xingwu||hsing wu / hsingwu|
|kisha||qǐ sǎ / qi3 sa3 / qi sa / qisa||ch`i sa / chisa / chi sa|
|ka go / kago||jiā hù / jia1 hu4 / jia hu / jiahu||chia hu / chiahu|
|uen||yǒu yuán / you3 yuan2 / you yuan / youyuan||yu yüan / yuyüan|
|dì shuǐ huǒ fēng|
di4 shui3 huo3 feng1
di shui huo feng
|ti shui huo feng
|Meditation||冥想||mei sou / meisou / mei so / meiso||míng xiǎng|
|zen||chán / chan2 / chan||ch`an / chan|
|逾||yu||yú / yu2 / yu||yü|
|Big Dream||大夢||daimu||dà mèng / da4 meng4 / da meng / dameng||ta meng / tameng|
|魂魄||kon paku / konpaku||hún pò / hun2 po4 / hun po / hunpo||hun p`o / hunpo / hun po|
|Shugyo||修行||shu gyou / shugyou / shu gyo / shugyo||xiū xíng / xiu1 xing2 / xiu xing / xiuxing||hsiu hsing / hsiuhsing|
|仁慈||jin ji / jinji||rén cí / ren2 ci2 / ren ci / renci||jen tz`u / jentzu / jen tzu|
|Shaolin Temple||少林寺||shou rin ji|
sho rin ji
|shào lín sì|
shao4 lin2 si4
shao lin si
|shao lin ssu
|意||kokoro||yì / yi4 / yi||i|
|五大||godai||wǔ dà / wu3 da4 / wu da / wuda||wu ta / wuta|
Heart and Soul
|一心||isshin / ishin||yī shì dài|
yi1 shi4 dai4
yi shi dai
|i shih tai
|Eternal Wheel of Life||法輪|
|hourin / horin|
horin / horin
horin / horin
|fǎ lún / fa3 lun2 / fa lun / falun|
|Walk in the Way||行道||yukimichi||xíng dào / xing2 dao4 / xing dao / xingdao||hsing tao / hsingtao|
|karada / tai / te||tǐ / ti3 / ti||t`i / ti|
|shoujin / shojin||jīng jìn / jing1 jin4 / jing jin / jingjin||ching chin / chingchin|
|Dogen||道元||dou gen / dougen / do gen / dogen||dào yuán / dao4 yuan2 / dao yuan / daoyuan||tao yüan / taoyüan|
|Avatar||化身||keshin||huà shēn / hua4 shen1 / hua shen / huashen|
|Ninpo||忍法||nin pou / ninpou / nin po / ninpo||rěn fǎ / ren3 fa3 / ren fa / renfa||jen fa / jenfa|
Bright and Promising Future
|光明||kou mei / mitsu haru|
koumei / mitsuharu
ko mei / mitsu haru
komei / mitsuharu
|Live In The Moment|
Live In The Now
|gen sei / gensei||xiàn shì / xian4 shi4 / xian shi / xianshi||hsien shih / hsienshih|
|Diligence||勤||kin||qín / qin2 / qin||ch`in / chin|
|mujou / mujo||wú cháng / wu2 chang2 / wu chang / wuchang||wu ch`ang / wuchang / wu chang|
|mu shin / mushin||wú xīn / wu2 xin1 / wu xin / wuxin||wu hsin / wuhsin|
|Body and Earth in Unity||身土不二||shindofuni / shindofuji|
|Dana: Almsgiving and Generosity||布施||fuse||bù shī / bu4 shi1 / bu shi / bushi||pu shih / pushih|
|Goddess of Compassion||観世音||kan ze on / kanzeon||guān shì yīn|
guan1 shi4 yin1
guan shi yin
|kuan shih yin
|Goddess of Compassion||観音||kan non / kannon||guān yīn / guan1 yin1 / guan yin / guanyin||kuan yin / kuanyin|
|Reach Peace and Calm by Meditation||安禪|
|an zen / anzen||ān chán / an1 chan2 / an chan / anchan||an ch`an / anchan / an chan|
|釈迦||sha ka / shaka||shì jiā / shi4 jia1 / shi jia / shijia||shih chia / shihchia|
Order of Monks
|僧||sou / so||sēng / seng1 / seng|
|Buddhist Monk||僧侶 / 僧侶|
|sou ryo / souryo / so ryo / soryo|
|法||hou / ho||fǎ / fa3 / fa|
|sha ka mu ni|
|shì jiā móu ní|
shi4 jia1 mou2 ni2
shi jia mou ni
|shih chia mou ni
|慈||ji||cí / ci2 / ci||tz`u / tzu|
|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.
Successful Chinese Character and Japanese Kanji calligraphy searches within the last few hours...
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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