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9. Open Door
門 is the Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja for gate, door, gateway, doorway, opening, entrance, valve, or switch.
Most commonly, this is simply gate or door.
門 is also a Chinese surname that romanizes as Men.
In Japanese, this can be surnames romanizing as Yuki, Mon, To, or Kado.
In the Buddhist context, beyond door or gate, this can be a counter for a Buddhist sect, teaching, or school (we might say "slice" of bread, this would be "gate" of teaching). In this way, it kind of refers to one of several doors that lead to salvation or nirvana.
In modern Japanese, 門主 is the title of a head priest of temple or monastery.
This can also refer to the spiritual leader of the sect and/or direct descendant of its founder.
In the past, this could refer to the founder of a Buddhist sect.
The literal meaning of 門主 is gatekeeper or keeper of the gate.
When I look in the Chinese Buddhist dictionary, this entry comes up as, the controller of a gate, or sect. However, this term is not commonly used in Chinese.
大道無門 is a Buddhist proverb that means "The Great Way has no entrance", "The Great Way is gateless" or "The Great Path lacks a gate".
This can be translated in many other ways.
This concept was authored within a long sacred text by 無門慧開 (known as Wúmén Huìkāi in Chinese or Mumon Ekai in Japanese). He was a Chinese Chan Master (in Japanese a Zen Master) who lived between 1183 and 1260 AD. His most famous work was a 48-koan collection titled "The Gateless Barrier" or "The Gateless Gate" (無門關 Wú Mén Guān in Chinese, or 無門関 Mu Mon Kan in Japanese). This calligraphy title is a notable line from this collection.
I like this reference to the source of this proverb: The Gateless Gate 無門關
無門關 is the ancient title for "The Gateless Barrier".
This has both direct meaning and is the title of a 13th-century collection of koans, compiled by a Chinese Chan Master known as Wumen in China (known in Japan as Zen Master Mumon).
While this is the original title, you may see this written as 無門関 in Japan where the last character, 關, was simplified to 関 after 1945.
無門関 is the specifically Japanese title for "The Gateless Barrier".
This has both direct meaning and is the title of a 13th-century collection of koans, compiled by Zen Master Mumon (actually a Chinese Chan Master known as Wumen in China).
The original title is 無門關, but the last Kanji was simplified to 関 in modern Japan.
開門 means "to open a door", "opening gate" or figuratively, "to open for business".
絕處逢生 is a Chinese proverb/idiom that talks of coming back from death's door, or an unexpected rescue from danger.
Figuratively, this can be to recover from a seemingly impossible situation, or to find a way out of a predicament.
If you have survived from a near-death experience, or serious illness, this might be an appropriate wall scroll for you.
This literally translates as: [If one does] not do bad things in the daytime, one need not be alarmed at knocks on the door in the middle of the night.
The meaning is something like, "A quiet conscience sleeps in thunder". Basically, the message is, "don't commit crimes and you won't be jumpy every time the doorbell rings (so don't do anything wrong and your life will have fewer worries and you can sleep at night)".
The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji (Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|mon||mén / men2 / men|
|Dharma Gate of Bliss||安樂の法門||an raku no hou mon|
an raku no ho mon
|monshu||mén zhǔ / men2 zhu3 / men zhu / menzhu||men chu / menchu|
|The Great Path has No Gate||大道無門|
|dai dou mu mon|
dai do mu mon
|dà dào wú mén|
da4 dao4 wu2 men2
da dao wu men
|ta tao wu men
|The Gateless Gate||無門關|
|mu mon kan / mumonkan||wú mén guān|
wu2 men2 guan1
wu men guan
|wu men kuan
The Gateless Gate
|無門関||mu mon kan / mumonkan|
|Black Flag Gate|
Hek Ki Boen
|hēi qí mén|
hei1 qi2 men2
hei qi men
|hei ch`i men
hei chi men
|Door of Great Wisdom||大智慧門|
|dai chi e mon|
|dà zhì huì mén|
da4 zhi4 hui4 men2
da zhi hui men
|ta chih hui men
|kai mon / kaimon||kāi mén / kai1 men2 / kai men / kaimen||k`ai men / kaimen / kai men|
|Return From Death’s Door||絕處逢生|
|jué chǔ féng shēng|
jue2 chu3 feng2 sheng1
jue chu feng sheng
|chüeh ch`u feng sheng
chüeh chu feng sheng
|One Who Does Not Do Bad Things, Worries Not of Knocks at His Door||白天不做虧心事夜半敲門不吃驚|
|bái tiān bú zuò kuī xīn shì yè bàn qiāo mén bù chī jīng|
bai2 tian1 bu2 zuo4 kui1 xin1 shi4 ye4 ban4 qiao1 men2 bu4 chi1 jing1
bai tian bu zuo kui xin shi ye ban qiao men bu chi jing
|pai t`ien pu tso k`uei hsin shih yeh pan ch`iao men pu ch`ih ching
pai tien pu tso kuei hsin shih yeh pan chiao men pu chih ching
|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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