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This Chinese proverb means, the one who retreats 50 paces mocke the one who retreats 100 paces.
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".
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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|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
Below are some entries from our dictionary that may match your fear death search...
If shown, 2nd row is Simp. Chinese
|Simple Dictionary Definition|
to be jealous of; fear; dread; scruple; to avoid or abstain from; to quit; to give up something
(1) mourning; mourning period; (suffix noun) (2) anniversary of one's death
Avoid, tabu, dread; hate, jealous; taboo
| sǐ wèi
fear of death; fear of death
| wú sǐ wèi
wu2 si3 wei4
wu ssu wei
no fear of death; no fear of death
| shinokyoufu / shinokyofu
(exp,n) fear of death
| shě de yī shēn guǎ , gǎn bǎ huáng dì lā xià mǎ
she3 de5 yi1 shen1 gua3 , gan3 ba3 huang2 di4 la1 xia4 ma3
she te i shen kua , kan pa huang ti la hsia ma
one who does not fear the death of thousand cuts will dare to unhorse the emperor (proverb); to a fearless person, no fence is high enough
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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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