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Some may think of this as a "Christian trait" but actually it transcends many religions.
This Chinese teaching dates back to about 2,500 years ago in China. Confucius had always taught the belief in being benevolent (ren) but this idea was hard to grasp for some of his students, as benevolence could be kind-heartedness, or an essence of humanity itself.
When answering Zhong Gong's question as to what "ren" actually meant, Confucius said:
"When you go out, you should behave as if you were in the presence of a distinguished guest, when people do favors for you, act as if a great sacrifice was made for you. Whatever you wouldn't like done to you, do not do that thing to others. Don't complain at work or at home."
Hearing this, Zhong Gong said humbly, "Although I am not clever, I will do what you say."
From this encounter, the Chinese version of the "Golden Rule" or "Ethic of Reciprocity" came to be.
The characters you see above express, "Do not do to others whatever you do not want done to yourself."
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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|Confucius: Golden Rule|
Ethic of Reciprocity
|jǐ suǒ bú yù wù shī yú rén|
ji3 suo3 bu2 yu4, wu4 shi1 yu2 ren2
ji suo bu yu, wu shi yu ren
|chi so pu yü, wu shih yü jen
|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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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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The wall scroll that Sandy is holding in this picture is a "large size"
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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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