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This figuratively means, "Without a teacher, how can we learn/mature?"
This is a philosophic pondering by Han Yu, a Tang Dynasty essayist and philosopher (618-907 A.D.). This Chinese proverb can be translated as, "Knowledge is not innate to man, how can we overcome doubt?" or, "We are not born with knowledge, how does one achieve maturity?".
This infers that we need the guidance of a teacher if we wish to learn, mature, and become better.
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.
不自由毋寧死 means, "Give me liberty or give me death", in Chinese.
This is also the best way to say, "Live free or die".
The characters break down this way:
不 = Not; none; without.
自由 = Freedom; liberty; freewill; self-determination.
毋寧 = Rather; would rather; rather be.
死 = Dead; death.
This will go nicely next to your, "Don't tread on me", flag. This phrase is known well enough in China that it's listed in a few dictionaries. Though I doubt you will find too many Chinese citizens willing to yell this on the steps of the capital in Beijing.
See Also: Death Before Dishonor
迷 is one of those characters that can mean a lot of different things depending on context. When written alone, as a single character on a wall scroll, it opens up the possibilities, and allows you to decide what it means to you.
The key definition is "to be lost". This could be physically or mentally lost. It can be someone lost in their thoughts, lost in an ocean, or just confused about where they are. The reason for the confused state may be due to internal or external reasons.
Here are some entries from various Asian dictionaries...
Chinese: lost, confused, bewilder, crazy about, fan, enthusiast, mystery.
Japanese: lost, astray, be perplexed, in doubt, err, illusion.
Korean: lost, bewildered, fascinated, deluded.
The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji (Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|ken shin / kenshin||jiān xìn / jian1 xin4 / jian xin / jianxin||chien hsin / chienhsin|
|Hailey||海莉||hǎi lì / hai3 li4 / hai li / haili|
|Haily||海莉||hǎi lì / hai3 li4 / hai li / haili|
|We are not born with knowledge, how does one achieve maturity?||人非生而知之者熟能無惑||rén fēi shēng ér zhī zhī zhě shú néng wú huò|
ren2 fei1 sheng1 er2 zhi1 zhi1 zhe3 shu2 neng2 wu2 huo4
ren fei sheng er zhi zhi zhe shu neng wu huo
|jen fei sheng erh chih chih che shu neng wu huo|
|仏 / 佛|
|hotoke / butsu|
|Live Free or Die||不自由毋寧死|
|bú zì yóu wú nìng sǐ|
bu2 zi4 you2 wu2 ning4 si3
bu zi you wu ning si
|pu tzu yu wu ning ssu
Dazed and Confused
|迷||mei||mí / mi2 / mi|
|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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