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天地 is "Heaven and Earth" in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
This title is used in many different contexts. It can be a general term but also used by Buddhists and in other religions.
This can also be used to refer to all of nature, the universe, the top and bottom, realm of life, or sphere of existence.
This proverb can also be translated as "The whole world is one family".
It is used to mean that all humans are related under heaven.
The first two characters can be translated as "the world", "whole country", "descended from heaven", "earth under heaven", "the public" or "the ruling power".
The second two characters can mean "one family", "a household", "one's folks", "a house" or "a home". Usually this is read as "a family".
Note: This proverb can be understood in Japanese, though not commonly used.
In Buddhism, this is mahābhūta, the four elements of which all things are made: earth, water, fire, and wind.
This can also represent the four freedoms: speaking out freely, airing views fully, holding great debates, and writing big-character posters.
In some context, this can be a university or college offering four-year programs.
To others, this can represent the Tao, Heaven, Earth and King.
Going back to the Buddhist context, these four elements "earth, water, fire, and wind" represent 堅, 濕, 煖, 動, which is: solid, liquid, heat, and motion.
This literally means "pure land" or "clean earth".
淨土 is also the abbreviated title of a Buddhist sect which involves faith in rebirth of Buddha Amitabha (Amitābha) in the Western Heaven. Sometimes this sect is translated as "Paradise of the West". Other titles of this school of Buddhism include Amidism or Elvsium.
This text is the first chapter of the Daodejing / Tao Te Ching.
The text reads:
道可道、非常道。名可名、非常名。 無名天地之始 有名萬物之母。故常無欲以觀其妙、常有欲以觀其徼。此兩者同出而異名。同謂之玄。玄之又玄、衆妙之門。
This classical Chinese passage comes from the Mawangdui (馬王堆帛書) text.
The first chapter of Sun Tzu's Art of War lists five key points to analyzing your situation.
It reads like a 5-part military proverb. Sun Tzu says that to sharpen your skills, you must plan. To plan well, you must know your situation. Therefore, you must consider and discuss the following:
1. Philosophy and Politics: Make sure your way or your policy is agreeable among all of your troops (and the citizens of your kingdom as well). For when your soldiers believe in you and your way, they will follow you to their deaths without hesitation, and will not question your orders.
2. Heaven/Sky: Consider climate / weather. This can also mean to consider whether God is smiling on you. In the modern military, this could be waiting for clear skies so that you can have air support for an amphibious landing.
3. Ground/Earth: Consider the terrain in which the battle will take place. This includes analyzing defensible positions, exit routes, and using varying elevation to your advantage. When you plan an ambush, you must know your terrain, and the best location from which to stage that ambush. This knowledge will also help you avoid being ambushed, as you will know where the likely places in which to expect an ambush from your enemy.
4. Leadership: This applies to you as the general, and also to your lieutenants. A leader should be smart and be able to develop good strategies. Leaders should keep their word, and if they break a promise, they should punish themselves as harshly as they would punish subordinates. Leaders should be benevolent to their troops, with almost a fatherly love for them. Leaders must have the ability to make brave and fast decisions. Leaders must have steadfast principles.
5. [Military] Methods: This can also mean laws, rules, principles, model, or system. You must have an efficient organization in place to manage both your troops and supplies. In the modern military, this would be a combination of how your unit is organized, and your SOP (Standard Operating Procedure).
Notes: This is a simplistic translation and explanation. Much more is suggested in the actual text of the Art of War (Bing Fa). It would take a lot of study to master all of these aspects. In fact, these five characters can be compared to the modern military acronyms such as BAMCIS or SMEAC.
CJK notes: I have included the Japanese and Korean pronunciations but in Chinese, Korean and Japanese, this does not make a typical phrase (with subject, verb, and object) it is a list that only someone familiar with Sun Tzu’s writings would understand.
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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|
|Heaven and Earth||天地||tenchi||tiān dì / tian1 di4 / tian di / tiandi||t`ien ti / tienti / tien ti|
|One Family Under Heaven||天下一家||tenka ikka / tenkaikka / tenka ika / tenkaika||tiān xià yī jiā|
tian1 xia4 yi1 jia1
tian xia yi jia
|t`ien hsia i chia
tien hsia i chia
|四大||shi dai / shidai||sì dà / si4 da4 / si da / sida||ssu ta / ssuta|
|jou do / joudo / jo do / jodo||jìng tǔ / jing4 tu3 / jing tu / jingtu||ching t`u / chingtu / ching tu|
|han ryuu / hanryuu / han ryu / hanryu||pān lóng / pan1 long2 / pan long / panlong||p`an lung / panlung / pan lung|
Tao Te Ching - Chapter 1
|dào kě dào fēi cháng dào míng kě míng fēi cháng míng wú míng tiān dì zhī shǐ yǒu míng wàn wù zhī mǔ gù cháng wú yù yǐ guān qí miào cháng yǒu yù yǐ guān qí zhēng cǐ liǎng zhě tóng chū ér yì míng tóng wèi zhī xuán xuán zhī yòu xuán zhòng miào zhī mén|
dao4 ke3 dao4 fei1 chang2 dao4 ming2 ke3 ming2 fei1 chang2 ming2 wu2 ming2 tian1 di4 zhi1 shi3 you3 ming2 wan4 wu4 zhi1 mu3 gu4 chang2 wu2 yu4 yi3 guan1 qi2 miao4 chang2 you3 yu4 yi3 guan1 qi2 jiao3 ci3 liang3 zhe3 tong2 chu1 er2 yi4 ming2 tong2 wei4 zhi1 xuan2 xuan2 zhi1 you4 xuan2 zhong4 miao4 zhi1 men2
dao ke dao fei chang dao ming ke ming fei chang ming wu ming tian di zhi shi you ming wan wu zhi mu gu chang wu yu yi guan qi miao chang you yu yi guan qi jiao ci liang zhe tong chu er yi ming tong wei zhi xuan xuan zhi you xuan zhong miao zhi men
|tao k`o tao fei ch`ang tao ming k`o ming fei ch`ang ming wu ming t`ien ti chih shih yu ming wan wu chih mu ku ch`ang wu yü i kuan ch`i miao ch`ang yu yü i kuan ch`i chiao tz`u liang che t`ung ch`u erh i ming t`ung wei chih hsüan hsüan chih yu hsüan chung miao chih men
tao ko tao fei chang tao ming ko ming fei chang ming wu ming tien ti chih shih yu ming wan wu chih mu ku chang wu yü i kuan chi miao chang yu yü i kuan chi chiao tzu liang che tung chu erh i ming tung wei chih hsüan hsüan chih yu hsüan chung miao chih men
|Art of War: 5 Points of Analysis||道天地將法|
|dou ten chi shou hou|
do ten chi sho ho
|dào tiān dì jiàng fǎ|
dao4 tian1 di4 jiang4 fa3
dao tian di jiang fa
|tao t`ien ti chiang fa
tao tien ti chiang fa
|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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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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