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仏 is the single Japanese Kanji can mean Buddha or Buddhism.
This Kanji was actually a shorthand way to write 佛 (Buddha) in Chinese (popular around the 13th century). Somehow, this became the version of this Chinese character that was absorbed into Japanese, and thus became part of standard Kanji. Centuries later, this character is not recognized in Chinese at all (except by those from China with a background in Chinese literature or language).
仏 is also a rare or derivative Korean Hanja form - but I doubt you will find any Korean that knows that.
佛 is the essence of the Buddha or Buddhism.
Depending on context, this word and character can be used to refer to the religion and lifestyle of Buddhism, or in some cases, the Buddha himself.
It is interesting to note that this word is separate from all others in the Chinese language. The sound of "fo" has only this meaning. 佛 is in contrast to many sounds in the Chinese language which can have one of four tones, and more than 20 possible characters and meanings. This language anomaly shows just how significant Buddhism has affected China since the ancient times.
More about Buddhism
佛 is also used with the same meaning in Korean Hanja.
It's used in the very religious context of Buddhism in Japan. It should be noted that there are two forms of this Kanji in use in Japan - this is the more formal/ancient version but it's rarely seen outside of religious artwork, and may not be recognized by all Japanese people.
It also acts as a suffix or first syllable for many Buddhist-related words in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
See our Buddhism & Zen page
The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji (Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|仏 / 佛|
|hotoke / butsu|
|佛||hotoke||fó / fo2 / fo|
|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.
Below are some entries from our dictionary that may match your hotoke search...
If shown, 2nd row is Simp. Chinese
|Simple Dictionary Definition|
Buddha; Buddhism; abbr. for 佛陀[Fo2 tuo2]
Buddha, from budh to "be aware of", "conceive", "observe", "wake"; also 佛陀; 浮圖; 浮陀; 浮頭; 浮塔; 勃陀; 勃馱; 沒馱; 母馱; 母陀; 部陀; 休屠. Buddha means "completely conscious, enlightened", and came to mean the enlightener. he Chinese translation is 覺 to perceive, aware, awake; and 智 gnosis, knowledge. There is an Eternal Buddha, see e.g. the Lotus Sutra, cap. 16, and multitudes of Buddhas, but the personality of a Supreme Buddha, an Ādi-Buddha, is not defined. Buddha is in and through all things, and some schools are definitely Pan-Buddhist in the pantheistic sense. In the triratna 三寳 commonly known as 三寳佛, while Śākyamuni Buddha is the first "person" of the Trinity, his Law the second, and the Order the third, all three by some are accounted as manifestations of the All-Buddha. As Śākyamuni, the title indicates him as the last of the line of Buddhas who have appeared in this world, Maitreya is to be the next. As such he is the one who has achieved enlightenment, having discovered the essential evil of existence (some say mundane existence, others all existence), and the way of deliverance from the constant round of reincarnations; this way is through the moral life into nirvana, by means of self-abnegation, the monastic life, and meditation. By this method a Buddha, or enlightened one, himself obtains Supreme Enlightenment, or Omniscience, and according to Māhāyanism leads all beings into the same enlightenment. He sees things not as they seem in their phenomenal but in their noumenal aspects, as they really are. The term is also applied to those who understand the chain of causality (twelve nidānas) and have attained enlightenment surpassing that of the arhat. Four types of the Buddha are referred to: (1) 三藏佛the Buddha of the Tripiṭaka who attained enlightenment on the bare ground under the bodhi-tree; (2) 通佛the Buddha on the deva robe under the bodhi-tree of the seven precious things; (3) 別佛the Buddha on the great precious Lotus throne under the Lotus realm bodhi-tree; and (4) 圓佛the Buddha on the throne of Space in the realm of eternal rest and glory where he is Vairocana. The Hīnayāna only admits the existence of one Buddha at a time; Mahāyāna claims the existence of many Buddhas at one and the same time, as many Buddhas as there are Buddha-universes, which are infinite in number.
| hotokei / hotoke
| guǒ tóu fó
guo3 tou2 fo2
kuo t`ou fo
kuo tou fo
kazu no hotoke
peak result buddha
| bái fó yán
bai2 fo2 yan2
pai fo yen
hotoke ni mōshi temō saku
...addressed the Buddha, saying...
| xīn wài wú fó
xin1 wai4 wu2 fo2
hsin wai wu fo
shinge ni hotoke nashi
outside of the mind there is noo Buddha
| fó yǐ yī yīn yǎn shuō fǎ
fo2 yi3 yi1 yin1 yan3 shuo1 fa3
fo i i yin yen shuo fa
hotoke ha itton wo motte hō wo enzetsu su
Buddha preaches the dharma with a single voice
|(1) Buddha; Shakyamuni; (2) Buddhist image; figure of Buddha; (3) the dead; dead person; departed soul; (4) merciful person|
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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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