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9. Free Will
理念 / 理唸 means idea, notion, concept, principle, theory, philosophy*, or doctrine in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
理念 / 理唸 is OK for a wall scroll, although it's more commonly used as an oral/informal word in Asia.
* 理念 / 理唸 is not the title for philosophy but rather is about having a certain philosophy or approach to something.
Daoist / Taoist Tenet
Wu Wei is a Daoist (Taoist) tenet, that speaks to the idea of letting nature take its course.
Some will say it's about knowing when to take action and when not to. In reality, it's more about not going against the flow. What is going to happen is controlled by the Dao (Tao), for which one who follows the Dao will not resist or struggle against.
There is a lot more to this concept but chances are, if you are looking for this entry, you already know the expanded concept.
Warning: Outside of Daoist context, this means idleness or inactivity (especially in Japanese where very few know this as a Daoist concept).
武産合氣 is one of the core spiritual concept developed by Morihei Ueshiba to support his practice of Aikido.
Breaking down the characters:
武 - Bu (as in Bushido) is read as "Take" here. It means martial.
産 - Musu, means innocent or naive, but also refers to the idea of birth and creation.
合氣 - Aiki as in Aikido - unifying spirit.
活在今天 is not really an eastern concept, so it does not translate into a phrase that seems natural on a wall scroll.
However, if this is your philosophy, the characters shown here do capture your idea of living for today or living in the moment. 活在今天 literally say "Live in today" and they are grammatically correct in Chinese.
Note: This kind of makes sense in Korean Hanja but the grammar is Chinese, so it’s not that natural in Korean.
Single character for Buddhist Karma
業 is the simplest way to express the idea of Karma. 業 is the Buddhist concept of actions committed in a former life affecting the present and future.
Out of the context of Buddhism, this Karma character means one's profession in life, trade, occupation, business, study, or career.
The Karma definition applies to both Chinese and Japanese for this character. This also works as Korean Hanja as Karma; although the meaning can vary depending on context (my Korean dictionary gives the definition of profession/occupation).
See Also: Buddhism
This can be defined as relief, peace of mind, feeling at ease, to be relieved, set one's mind at rest, easiness.
安心 is a nice word that encompasses great meanings within just two characters. Some of the other meanings include to pacify, to settle the mind, peace of mind, and it's also the idea of feeling a sense of security, safety, and confidence in your state of well-being.
This can be used by everyone, but some consider it to be a Buddhist concept (You'll find it in your Zen dictionary).
Note: Can be romanized as Anshin or Anjin in Japanese.
五行 is the title of the five elements which are: wood, fire, water, earth, and metal.
The first character means "5" and the second character is simply "elements".
According to ancient Chinese science, all matter in the world is made up of these elements. One idea presented with the five elements is that when energy is added, matter is believed to expand. When energy is removed, matter contracts. Oddly, this concept is not far from Einstein's theories, and modern science. Just a few thousand years before Einstein.
More info: Wikipedia - Five Elements (Wu Xing).
This concept has existed for thousands of years that humans have the ability to understand right and wrong, then make a decision one way or the other (thus affecting their own fate).
Sources such as Confucius, Buddhist scriptures, the Qur'an and the Bible all address this idea.
As for the characters shown here, the first two mean free, freedom, or liberty. The last two simply mean "will".
Can be romanized from Japanese as jiyū-ishi, jiyuu-ishi, and sometimes jiyuu-ishii.
It's 자유의지 or jayuu-yiji in Korean, and zìyóu yìzhì in Chinese.
慈 is the simplest way to express the idea of compassion.
This can also mean love for your fellow humans, humanity, or living creatures. Sometimes this is extended to mean charity.
This term is often used with a Buddhist or Christian context. The concept was also spoken of by Laozi (Lao Tzu) in the Dao De Jing (Tao Te Ching).
慈 is considered the direct translation of the Sanskrit word मैत्री (maitrī) Pali word मेत्ता (mettā). In this context, it means benevolence, loving-kindness, and goodwill.
This Chinese character is understood in Japanese but is usually used in compound words (not seen alone). Also used in old Korean Hanja, so it's very universal.
This controversial Buddhist koan means, "On encountering Buddha, you should kill him".
佛に逢っては佛を殺す is the short concise Japanese version of an original statement by ninth-century Chinese Buddhist monk Linji Yixuan, "If You Meet The Buddha On The Road, Kill Him".
This takes some explaining... The concept here is that if you think you have seen, experienced, or achieved true enlightenment, the chances that you really have are so slim that you should kill or dismiss that idea.
Another suggestion is that one's path to becoming a Buddha is one's own, and one should not get caught up in religious fervor, and avoid "showing off" that they are a Buddhist.
Helpful references for this concept:
Lion's Roar addresses "If You Meet The Buddha On The Road, Kill Him"
Kill the Buddha
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
自他共榮 can be translated a few different ways. Here are some possibilities:
Benefit mutually and prosper together.
Mutual welfare and benefit.
A learning concept of mutual benefit and welfare (that applies to all fields of society).
The first two characters are easy to explain. They are "self" and "others". Together, these two characters create a word which means "mutual" (literally "me and them").
The third character can have different meanings depending on context. Here, it means "in common" or "to share".
The fourth character suggests the idea of "prosperity", "flourishing" or becoming "glorious".
It should be noted that these Kanji are used almost exclusively in the context of Judo martial arts. 自他共榮 is not a common or recognized Japanese proverb outside of Judo.
In modern Japanese Kanji, the last character looks like instead of . If you want this slightly-simplified version, please let us know when you place your order.
Buddhist idea of Fate
因緣 is the Buddhist concept of a chance meeting or an opportunity that presents itself by fate.
Sometimes this is used to describe a cosmic chain of events or cause and effect.
It also is used to describe predestined relationships between people - and sometimes married couples (although if you want one about marriage, try this: Fate / Destiny of Lovers.
因緣 can also be translated as origin, karma, destiny, affinity, connection, and relation. This all depends on context - seen alone on a wall scroll, this will be read with a "fate / chance" meaning by a Chinese person, or a Korean person who can read Hanja.
The more complex definition of this word would be, "Direct causes and indirect conditions, which underlie the actions of all things".
This concept is known as nidana in the original Sanskrit. Also sometimes presented as hetupratyaya (or "hetu and prataya") which I believe is Pali.
Note: Japanese will tend to use this version of the second Kanji:
If you order this from the Japanese master calligrapher, expect that you’ll get this version. However, this word often carries a negative connotation in Japanese (bad things happen), as it is used that way in a certain Japanese idiom. Therefore, this may not be the best choice if Japanese is your target language.
Chi Energy: Essence of Life / Energy Flow
This energy flow is a fundamental concept of traditional Asian culture.
氣 is romanized as "Qi" or "Chi" in Chinese, "Gi" in Korean, and "Ki" in Japanese.
Chi is believed to be part of everything that exists, as in "life force" or "spiritual energy". It is most often translated as "energy flow", or literally as "air" or "breath". Some people will simply translate this as "spirit" but you have to take into consideration the kind of spirit we're talking about. I think this is weighted more toward energy than spirit.
The character itself is a representation of steam (or breath) rising from rice. To clarify, the character for rice looks like this:
Steam was apparently seen as visual evidence of the release of "life energy" when this concept was first developed. The Qi / Chi / Ki character is still used in compound words to mean steam or vapor.
The etymology of this character is a bit complicated. It's suggested that the first form of this character from bronze script (about 2500 years ago) looked like these samples:
However, it was easy to confuse this with the character for the number three. So the rice radical was added by 221 B.C. (the exact time of this change is debated). This first version with the rice radical looks like this:
The idea of Qi / Chi / Ki is really a philosophical concept. It's often used to refer to the "flow" of metaphysical energy that sustains living beings. Yet there is much debate that has continued for thousands of years as to whether Qi / Chi / Ki is pure energy, or consists partially, or fully of matter.
You can also see the character for Qi / Chi / Ki in common compound words such as Tai Chi / Tai Qi, Aikido, Reiki and Qi Gong / Chi Kung.
In the modern Japanese Kanji, the rice radical has been changed into two strokes that form an X.
The original and traditional Chinese form is still understood in Japanese but we can also offer that modern Kanji form in our custom calligraphy. If you want this Japanese Kanji, please click on the character to the right, instead of the “Select and Customize” button above.
More language notes: This is pronounced like “chee” in Mandarin Chinese, and like “key” in Japanese.
This is also the same way to write this in Korean Hanja where it is Romanized as “gi” and pronounced like “gee” but with a real G-sound, not a J-sound.
Though Vietnamese no longer use Chinese characters in their daily language, this character is still widely known in Vietnam.
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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji (Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|理念 / 理唸|
|ri nen / rinen||lǐ niàn / li3 nian4 / li nian / linian||li nien / linien|
|mui||wú wéi / wu2 wei2 / wu wei / wuwei|
|Truth Flashed Through The Mind||參悟|
|cān wù / can1 wu4 / can wu / canwu||ts`an wu / tsanwu / tsan wu|
|Takemusu Aiki||武産合氣||take musu ai ki|
|Live For The Day||活在今天||huó zài jīn tiān|
huo2 zai4 jin1 tian1
huo zai jin tian
|huo tsai chin t`ien
huo tsai chin tien
|gou / go||yè / ye4 / ye||yeh|
Peace of Mind
|安心||an shin / anshin||ān xīn / an1 xin1 / an xin / anxin||an hsin / anhsin|
|Five Elements||五行||gogyou / gogyo||wǔ xíng / wu3 xing2 / wu xing / wuxing||wu hsing / wuhsing|
|Free Will||自由意志||jiyuu ishi / jiyuuishi / jiyu ishi||zì yóu yì zhì|
zi4 you2 yi4 zhi4
zi you yi zhi
|tzu yu i chih
|慈||ji||cí / ci2 / ci||tz`u / tzu|
|Meet the Buddha, Kill the Buddha||佛に逢っては佛を殺す||butsu ni atte wa butsu o korosu|
|Mutual Welfare and Benefit||自他共榮|
自他共荣 / 自他共栄
|ji ta kyou ei |
ji ta kyo ei
因缘 / 因縁
|in nen / innen||yīn yuán / yin1 yuan2 / yin yuan / yinyuan||yin yüan / yinyüan|
气 / 気
|ki||qì / qi4 / qi||ch`i / chi|
|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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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.
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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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