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The Five Tenets of Confucius in Chinese / Japanese...

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  1. The Five Tenets of Confucius

  2. Justice / Rectitude / Right Decision

  3. Benevolence

  4. Respect

  5. Wisdom

  6. Believe / Faith / Trust


The Five Tenets of Confucius

The Five Cardinal Rules / Virtues of Confucius
rén yì lǐ zhì xìn
jin gi rei tomo nobu
The Five Tenets of Confucius Scroll

仁義禮智信 are the core of Confucius philosophy.

Simply stated:
仁 = Benevolence / Charity
義 = Justice / Rectitude
禮 = Courtesy / Politeness / Tact
智 = Wisdom / Knowledge
信 = Fidelity / Trust / Sincerity

Many of these concepts can be found in various religious teachings. Though it should be clearly understood that Confucianism is not a religion but should instead be considered a moral code for a proper and civilized society.

This title is also labeled, "5 Confucian virtues".


礼 If you order this from the Japanese calligrapher, expect the middle Kanji to be written in a more simple form (as seen to the right). This can also be romanized as "jin gi rei satoshi shin" in Japanese. Not all Japanese will recognize this as Confucian tenets but they will know all the meanings of the characters.


See Also:  Confucius Teachings | Ethics

Justice / Rectitude / Right Decision

Also means: honor loyalty morality righteousness
gi
Justice / Rectitude / Right Decision Scroll

義 is about doing the right thing or making the right decision, not because it's easy but because it's ethically and morally correct.

No matter the outcome or result, one does not lose face if tempering proper justice.

義 can also be defined as righteousness, justice, morality, honor, or "right conduct". In more a more expanded definition, it can mean loyalty to friends, loyalty to the public good, or patriotism. This idea of loyalty and friendship comes from the fact that you will treat those you are loyal to with morality and justice.

義 is also one of the five tenets of Confucius doctrine.

儀 There's also an alternate version of this character sometimes seen in Bushido or Korean Taekwondo tenets. It's just the addition of a radical on the left side of the character. If you want this version, click on the image to the right instead of the button above.


This is also a virtue of the Samurai Warrior
See our page with just Code of the Samurai / Bushido here


See Also:  Judgment | Impartial | Confucius Tenets

rén
jin
Benevolence Scroll

Beyond benevolence, 仁 can be also be defined as "charity" or "mercy" depending on context.

The deeper meaning suggests that one should pay alms to the poor, care for those in trouble, and take care of his fellow man (or woman).

仁 is one of the five tenets of Confucius. In fact, it is a subject in which Confucius spent a great deal of time explaining to his disciples.

I have also seen this benevolent-related word translated as perfect virtue, selflessness, love for humanity, humaneness, goodness, good will, or simply "love" in the non-romantic form.

仁 is so important to me that I named my second daughter with this character. Her name is "Renni" which means "Benevolent Girl".
-Gary.


This is also a virtue of the Samurai Warrior
See our page with just Code of the Samurai / Bushido here


See Also:  Altruism | Kindness | Charity | Confucius

Respect

Politeness, Gratitude and Propriety
rei
Respect Scroll

We show respect by speaking and acting with courtesy. We treat others with dignity and honor the rules of our family, school, and nation. Respect yourself, and others will respect you.

礼 is also one of the five tenets of Confucius.

礼, beyond respect, can also be translated as propriety, good manners, politeness, rite, worship or an expression of gratitude.

禮 Chinese RespectPlease note that Japanese use this simplified 礼 version of the original 禮 character for respect. 礼 also happens to be the same simplification used in mainland China. While 禮 is the traditional and original version, 礼 has been used as a shorthand version for many centuries. Click on the big 禮 character to the right if you want the Traditional Chinese and older Japanese version.


This is also a virtue of the Samurai Warrior
See our page with just Code of the Samurai / Bushido here


See Also:  Confucius

zhì
chi / tomo
Wisdom Scroll

智 is the simplest way to write wisdom in Chinese, Korean Hanja, and Japanese Kanji.

Being a single character, the wisdom meaning is open to interpretation, and can also mean intellect, knowledge or reason, resourcefulness, or wit.

智 is also one of the five tenets of Confucius.

智 is sometimes included in the Bushido code but usually not considered part of the seven key concepts of the code.


See our Wisdom in Chinese, Japanese and Korean page for more wisdom-related calligraphy.


See Also:  Learn From Wisdom | Confucius

Believe / Faith / Trust

śraddhā
xìn
shin
Believe / Faith / Trust Scroll

信 can mean to believe, truth, faith, fidelity, sincerity, trust and confidence in Chinese, old Korean Hanja and Japanese Kanji.

This single character is often part of other words with similar meanings.

It is one of the five basic tenets of Confucius.

In Chinese, it sometimes has the secondary meaning of a letter (as in the mail) depending on context but it will not be read that way when seen on a wall scroll.

In Buddhist context, this is śraddhā (faith through hearing or being taught).


See Also:  Faith | Trust | Confucius




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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...

Title CharactersRomaji (Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
The Five Tenets of Confucius仁義禮智信
仁义礼智信
jin gi rei tomo nobu
jingireitomonobu
rén yì lǐ zhì xìn
ren2 yi4 li3 zhi4 xin4
ren yi li zhi xin
renyilizhixin
jen i li chih hsin
jenilichihhsin
Justice
Rectitude
Right Decision

giyì / yi4 / yii
Benevolencejinrén / ren2 / renjen
Respect
reilǐ / li3 / li
Wisdomchi / tomozhì / zhi4 / zhichih
Believe
Faith
Trust
shinxìn / xin4 / xinhsin
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.


Many custom options...


Believe / Faith / Trust Scroll
Believe / Faith / Trust Scroll
Believe / Faith / Trust Scroll
Believe / Faith / Trust Scroll


And formats...

Believe / Faith / Trust Vertical Portrait
Believe / Faith / Trust Horizontal Wall Scroll
Believe / Faith / Trust Vertical Portrait
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A nice Chinese calligraphy wall scroll

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A professional Chinese Calligrapher

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.

Trying to learn Chinese calligrapher - a futile effort

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.

A high-ranked Chinese master calligrapher that I met in Zhongwei

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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