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The eye of Buddha, the enlightened one who sees all and is omniscient.
In modern Japan, they also write the first Kanji as shown to the right. Both versions are correct but if you want the modern Japanese version, click on the Kanji to the right instead of the button above.
Here's the full proverb, with the first and second parts.
However, in Chinese, it's more natural to put the "tooth" part first, so this more accurately reads "Tooth for a tooth, eye for an eye."
If revenge is important to you, I suppose this is the phase you want on your wall.
眼 is the simplest way to write eyes or eyeballs in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
This can also mean eyesight, sight, vision, look, stare, glance, viewpoint, insight, perceptivity, the power of observation, or simply the eye.
During the Warring States Period of what is now China (475 - 221 B.C.), the King of Wei was in love with war. He often fought with other kingdoms just for spite or fun.
One day, the King of Wei asked the philosopher Mencius, "I love my people, and all say I do the best for them. I move the people from famine-stricken areas to places of plenty, and transport grains from rich areas to the poor. Nobody goes hungry in my kingdom, and I treat my people far better than other kings. But why does the population of my kingdom not increase, and why does the population of other kingdoms not decrease?"
Mencius answered, "Since you love war, I will make this example: When going to war, and the drums beat to start the attack, some soldiers flee for their lives in fear. Some run 100 paces in retreat, and others run 50 steps. Then the ones who retreated 50 paces laugh and taunt those who retreated 100 paces, calling them cowards mortally afraid of death. Do you think this is reasonable?
The King of Wei answered, "Of course not! Those who run 50 paces are just as timid as those who run 100 paces."
Mencius then said, "You are a king who treats his subjects better than other kings treat their people but you are so fond of war, that your people suffer from great losses in battle. Therefore, your population does not grow. While other kings allow their people to starve to death, you send your people to die in war. Is there really any difference?"
This famous conversation led to the six-character proverb shown here. It serves as a warning to avoid hypocrisy. It goes hand-in-hand with the western phrase, "The pot calls the kettle black," or the Biblical phrase, "Before trying to remove a splinter from your neighbor's eye, first remove the plank from your own eye."
In China, this proverb is used in response to a good joke or witty comment.
The story goes that Mr. Feng and Mr. He were both senior officials in the Song Dynasty (about a thousand years ago). One day, Mr. Feng walked into their shared office wearing a new pair of boots. The boots caught the eye of Mr. He who said, "New boots! - how much were they?." Mr. Feng lifted one of the boots off the ground as if to show it off and responded, "900 coins."
Astonished, Mr. Feng explained, "900? How can that be? - I paid 1800 coins for my boots!." Mr. Feng then lifted his other foot off the ground and said, "This boot was also 900 coins."
It is said that the whole room was shaking from the laughter of all that heard Mr. Feng's joke on Mr. He.
一視同仁 is how to write "universal benevolence." 一視同仁 is also how to express the idea that you see all people the same.
If you are kind and charitable to all people, this is the best way to state that virtue. It is the essence of being impartial to all mankind, regardless of social standing, background, race, sex, etc. You do not judge others but rather you see them eye to eye on the same level with you.
If you are a government spy, engaged in business espionage, or in some military intelligence department, this is both the title of what you are doing and what you are collecting about your enemy.
It is suggestive by itself of military intelligence but applies to corporate intelligence if you are keeping an eye on your competition in business.
This both means and sounds like "Islam" in Mandarin Chinese.
The first three characters sound like the word "Islam," and the last character means "religion" or "teaching." It's the most general term for "Islam" in China. The highest concentration of Muslims in China is Xinjiang (the vast region in northwest China that was called The East Turkistan Republic until 1949 and is sometimes called Chinese Turkistan, Uyghuristan). Here you will find Uygurs, Kazakhs, and Kyrgyz and others that are descendants of Turkmen (possibly mixed with Persians and Arabs). Many of their ancestors were traders who traveled the silk road to buy and sell spices, silk, and exchange other goods from the Orient and the Middle East.
I spent some time in Xinjiang and got to know this community. They are strong people who can endure much. They are friendly and love to have a good time. I was a stranger but treated by villagers (near China's border with Afghanistan) as if I was a good friend.
However, I have heard that it's best not to cross them, as in this land, the law is the blade, and everything is "eye for an eye." The Chinese government has little control in Xinjiang with almost no police officers except in the capital of Urumqi (so it's a 60-hour roundtrip train ride to seek the aid of law enforcement in most cases).
While few seem to be devout, there are at least small mosques in every village. And you will never see a man or woman outside without a head covering.
It should be noted that these people are all citizens of China, but they are officially of the Caucasian race. A visit to Xinjiang will change your idea what it means to be Chinese.
This Japanese proverb is the rough equivalent of "seeing is believing," "one eye-witness is better than many hearsays," or "a picture is worth a thousand words."
Sometimes it's simply more prudent to verify with your own eyes.
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
This phase often goes with "An eye for an eye," even in Chinese. Revenge seems to cross all languages, cultures, and even species (animals are known to take revenge too).
If a Chinese person uses just one part of the full proverb, it will be this "tooth for a tooth" one. Although, we are more likely to say "eye for an eye" alone in English.
Chinese people may also read this with a meaning of "Bite me and I will bite you back." However, it literally means "tooth for a tooth" or "you take my tooth, I take yours."
The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji(Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|The Eye of the Buddha||佛眼|
佛眼 / 仏眼
|butsugen / butsugen||wǔ yǎn / wu3 yan3 / wu yan / wuyan||wu yen / wuyen|
|Eye for an eye||以眼還眼|
|yǐ yǎn huán yǎn|
yi3 yan3 huan2 yan3
yi yan huan yan
|i yen huan yen
|Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth||以牙還牙以眼還眼|
|yǐ yá huán yá yǐ yǎn huán yǎn|
yi3 ya2 huan2 ya2 yi3 yan3 huan2 yan3
yi ya huan ya yi yan huan yan
|i ya huan ya i yen huan yen
|眼||gan||yǎn / yan3 / yan||yen|
|The one who retreats 50 paces mocks the one to retreats 100||五十步笑百步||wù shí bù xiào bǎi bù|
wu4 shi2 bu4 xiao4 bai3 bu4
wu shi bu xiao bai bu
|wu shih pu hsiao pai pu
|The Whole Room Rocks With Laughter||哄堂大笑||hōng tāng dà xiào|
hong1 tang1 da4 xiao4
hong tang da xiao
|hung t`ang ta hsiao
hung tang ta hsiao
|Impartial and Fair to the|
Brotherhood and Sisterhood of the World
|yí shì tóng rén|
yi2 shi4 tong2 ren2
yi shi tong ren
|i shih t`ung jen
i shih tung jen
|jouhou / joho||qíng bào / qing2 bao4 / qing bao / qingbao||ch`ing pao / chingpao / ching pao|
|yī sī lán jiào|
yi1 si1 lan2 jiao4
yi si lan jiao
|i ssu lan chiao
|kǎi lā / kai3 la1 / kai la / kaila||k`ai la / kaila / kai la|
|Seeing is Believing||百聞は一見に如かず||hyakubun wa ikken ni shikazu|
hyakubun wa iken ni shikazu
|Tooth for a tooth||以牙還牙|
|yǐ yá huán yá|
yi3 ya2 huan2 ya2
yi ya huan ya
|i ya huan ya
|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.
Some people may refer to this entry as Eye for an Eye Kanji, Eye for an Eye Characters, Eye for an Eye in Mandarin Chinese, Eye for an Eye Characters, Eye for an Eye in Chinese Writing, Eye for an Eye in Japanese Writing, Eye for an Eye in Asian Writing, Eye for an Eye Ideograms, Chinese Eye for an Eye symbols, Eye for an Eye Hieroglyphics, Eye for an Eye Glyphs, Eye for an Eye in Chinese Letters, Eye for an Eye Hanzi, Eye for an Eye in Japanese Kanji, Eye for an Eye Pictograms, Eye for an Eye in the Chinese Written-Language, or Eye for an Eye in the Japanese Written-Language.