Calamity in Chinese / Japanese...

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hào jié
Havoc Scroll

This Chinese word means havoc, as in a calamity, catastrophe, or apocalypse.

Past experience is the teacher for the future.

Past events not forgotten serve as teachers for later events.
qián shì bú wàng hòu shí zhī shī
Past experience is the teacher for the future. Scroll

The most literal translation to English of this ancient Chinese proverb is:
"Past events not forgotten serve as teachers for later events".

However, it's been translated several ways:
Don't forget past events, they can guide you in future.
Benefit from past experience.
Past experience, if not forgotten, is a guide for the future.
Past calamity is my teacher.
A good memory for the past is a teacher for the future.
The remembrance of the past is the teacher of the future.
If one remembers the lessons of the past; They will serve as a guide to avoid mistakes in the future.

The origin:
This proverb comes from the 5th century B.C. just before the Warring States Period in the territory now known as China.
The head of the State of Jin, Zhi Bo, seized power in a coup. He did this with help from the armies of the State of Han and Wei. Instead of being grateful for the help from Han and Wei, he treacherously took the land of Han and Wei. Never satisfied, Zhi Bo employed the armies of Han and Wei to attack and seize the State of Zhao.

The king of Zhao took advice from his minister Zhang Mengtan and secretly contacted the Han and Wei armies to reverse their plans and attack the army of Zhi Bo instead. The plan was successful, and the State of Zhao was not only saved but was set to become a powerful kingdom in the region.

Zhang Mengtan immediately submitted his resignation to a confused king of Zhao. When asked why, Zhang Mengtan said, "I've done my duty to save my kingdom but looking back at past experience, I know sovereign kings are never satisfied with the power or land at hand. They will join others and fight for more power and more land. I must learn from past experiences, as those experiences are the teachers of future events".
The king could not dispute the logic in that statement and accepted Zhang Mengtan's resignation.

For generations, the State of Zhao continued to fight for power and land until finally being defeated and decimated by the State of Qin (which lead to the birth of the Qin Dynasty in 221 B.C.).

The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...

Title CharactersVarious forms of Romanized Chinese
Havoc浩劫hào jié / hao4 jie2 / hao jie / haojiehao chieh / haochieh
Past experience is the teacher for the future.前事不忘后事之師
qián shì bú wàng hòu shí zhī shī
qian2 shi4 bu2 wang4 hou4 shi2 zhi1 shi1
qian shi bu wang hou shi zhi shi
ch`ien shih pu wang hou shih chih shih
chien shih pu wang hou shih chih shih
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 calamity that you were looking for?

Below are some entries from our dictionary that may match your calamity search...


If shown, 2nd row is Simp. Chinese

Simple Dictionary Definition


see styles
hào jié
    hao4 jie2
hao chieh
Past experience is the teacher for the future. Scroll
calamity; catastrophe; apocalypse

see styles
 kou; gou; kou / ko; go; ko
    こう; ごう; コウ
to rob; to plunder; to seize by force; to coerce; calamity; abbr. for kalpa 劫波[jie2 bo1]
(1) (こう, ごう only) {Buddh} kalpa (eon, aeon); (2) (kana only) (usu. コウ) ko (in go); position that allows for eternal capture and recapture of the same stones
刧 A kalpa, aeon, age; also translit. ka; 'a fabulous period of time, a day of Brahmā or 1, 000 Yugas, a period of four hundred and thirty-two million years of mortals, measuring the duration of the world; (a month of Brahmā is supposed to contain thirty such kalpas; according to the Mahābhārata twelve months of Brahmā constitute his year, and one hundred such years his lifetime; fifty years of Brahmā are supposed to have elapsed... ).' M. W. An aeon of incalculable time, therefore called a 大時節 great time-node. v. 劫波.; The three asaṃkhyeya kalpas, the three countless aeons, the period of a bodhisattva's development; also the past 莊嚴劫, the present 賢劫, and the future 星宿劫 kalpas. There are other groups. 三劫三千佛 The thousand Buddhas in each of the three kalpas.

see styles
fault; to blame; to punish; calamity; misfortune
(1) (kana only) error; mistake; fault; (2) (kana only) sin; wrongdoing; offense

see styles
 mo(p); sou / mo(p); so
    も(P); そう
to lose something abstract but important (courage, authority, one's life etc); to be bereaved of (one's spouse etc); to die; disappointed; discouraged
(noun - becomes adjective with の) (1) mourning; (2) (も only) (archaism) calamity; misfortune
Mourning. To lose; destroy; funeral rites

see styles
to do harm to; to cause trouble to; harm; evil; calamity
injury; harm; evil influence; damage
hiṃsā; vihiṃsā; hurt, harm, injure; to harm

see styles
calamity; catastrophe; misfortune

see styles
disaster; calamity

see styles

sacrifice to drive away calamity; to dispel; to drive away; to remove

see styles
disaster; misfortune; calamity
(n,n-suf) disaster; calamity; misfortune
Woe, calamity, misfortune; woe

see styles
sacrifice for avoiding calamity
To pray to avert; to pray to avert


see styles
(noun or adjectival noun) misfortune; calamity


see styles
(noun/participle) suffering (from a calamity); affliction


see styles
man-made calamity


see styles
 kyouhen / kyohen
(out-dated kanji) catastrophe; assassination; calamity; disaster


see styles
(noun/participle) second change; second calamity


see styles
xiōng shì
    xiong1 shi4
hsiung shih
 kyouji / kyoji
fateful accident; inauspicious matter (involving death or casualties)
calamity; misfortune


see styles
 kyouhen / kyohen
catastrophe; assassination; calamity; disaster


see styles
the calamity of being killed by the sword



see styles
jié zāi
    jie2 zai1
chieh tsai
The calamity of fire, wind, and water, during the 壞劫 kalpa of destruction.



see styles
jié nàn
    jie2 nan4
chieh nan



see styles
wēi nàn
    wei1 nan4
wei nan
peril; danger; hazard; distress


see styles
calamity; disaster; accident



see styles
èn àn
    en4 an4
en an
calamity; evil; misfortune



see styles
shòu zāi
    shou4 zai1
shou tsai
disaster-stricken; to be hit by a natural calamity



see styles
shòu nàn
    shou4 nan4
shou nan
to suffer a calamity; to suffer (e.g. under torture); distress
(noun/participle) (1) sufferings; ordeals; agony; (noun/participle) (2) {Christn} Passion (of Christ); crucifixion


see styles
natural calamity


see styles
 chii / chi
natural disaster; calamity


see styles
zēng xī
    zeng1 xi1
tseng hsi
Increasing (power of prayer for) cessation of calamity; increasing (power of prayer for) cessation of calamity


see styles
accident; emergency; calamity


see styles
calamity; disaster; great misfortune; grand climacteric

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Past experience is the teacher for the future. Scroll
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Lookup Calamity in my Japanese & Chinese Dictionary

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A nice Chinese calligraphy wall scroll

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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.

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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.

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