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正念 is one of the Noble Eightfold Paths of Buddhism. Right Mindfulness, along with Right Effort and Right Concentration constitute the path to Concentration or Perfect Thought.
Right Mindfulness is about remaining focused on one's body, feelings, mind and mental qualities. It's also about being ardent, aware, and mindful, and supposes that you've already put aside worldly desire and aversion.
Monk Bhikkhu Bodhi described this as: The mind is deliberately kept at the level of bare attention, a detached observation of what is happening within us and around us in the present moment. In the practice of right mindfulness the mind is trained to remain in the present, open, quiet, and alert, contemplating the present event.
Another definition: Ongoing mindfulness of body, feelings, thinking, and objects of thought.
This term is exclusively used by devout Buddhists. It is not a common term, and is remains an unknown concept to most Japanese and Chinese people.
記憶 is a Japanese Kanji, old Korean Hanja, and Chinese word that means "to remember".
This can also be translated as memory, to recall, recollection, or remembrance.
猴 is the character for monkey in Chinese.
猴 means ape in Japanese due to a error made long ago as Japan absorbed Chinese characters.
If you were born in the year of the monkey, you . . .
Are smart, brave, active and competitive.
Like new things.
Have a good memory.
Are quick to respond
Have an easy time winning people's trust.
Are however, not very patient.
See also our Chinese Zodiac page.
Note: This character does have the meaning of monkey in Korean Hanja but is not used very often.
銘記 means to keep in mind, to take note of, or simply to remember, in Chinese characters and Japanese Kanji.
The first character means to engrave, to inscribe, or to carve an inscription.
The second character means to remember, to note, mark, sign, to record, history, chronicle, or annals.
When used in the context of a person, this means to engrave on the heart, or to inscribe a memory in one's mind. In short, it's the idea of deeply remembering something, some event, or someone forever.
These are the eight tenets of the Buddhist Noble Eightfold Path written altogether.
Here's this list of tenets in English:
1. Right View / Right Understanding / Right Perspective / Perfect View
2. Right Resolve / Right Thought / Right Intention / Perfect Resolve
3. Right Speech / Right Talk / Perfect Speech
4. Right Action / Perfect Conduct
5. Right Living / Right Livelihood / Perfect Livelihood
6. Right Effort / Right Endeavor / Perfect Effort
7. Right Mindfulness / Right Memory / Perfect Mindfulness
8. Right Concentration / Perfect Concentration
念 is the simplest way to write "mindfulness" in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
念 can be defined these ways: To read; to study (a degree course); to read aloud; to miss somebody (keeping them in your mind); idea; remembrance; sense; thought; feeling; desire; concern; attention; recollection; memory; to think on/about; reflect; repeat, intone; a moment.
Obviously, the context in which the character is used determines which definition or meaning is perceived. As a single character, it's open and perhaps ambiguous. Thus, it can be read with any or all of these meanings.
念 is used in a Buddhist context (often written as 正念 or "right mindfulness") with similar meanings of thought and contemplation.
In Japanese, this character is sometimes used as a name "Nen".
The most literal translation to English of this ancient Chinese proverb is:
"Past events not forgotten serve as teachers for later events".
However, it's been translated several ways:
Don't forget past events, they can guide you in future.
Benefit from past experience.
Past experience, if not forgotten, is a guide for the future.
Past calamity is my teacher.
A good memory for the past is a teacher for the future.
The remembrance of the past is the teacher of the future.
If one remembers the lessons of the past; They will serve as a guide to avoid mistakes in the future.
This proverb comes from the 5th century B.C. just before the Warring States Period in the territory now known as China.
The head of the State of Jin, Zhi Bo, seized power in a coup. He did this with help from the armies of the State of Han and Wei. Instead of being grateful for the help from Han and Wei, he treacherously took the land of Han and Wei. Never satisfied, Zhi Bo employed the armies of Han and Wei to attack and seize the State of Zhao.
The king of Zhao took advice from his minister Zhang Mengtan and secretly contacted the Han and Wei armies to reverse their plans and attack the army of Zhi Bo instead. The plan was successful, and the State of Zhao was not only saved but was set to become a powerful kingdom in the region.
Zhang Mengtan immediately submitted his resignation to a confused king of Zhao. When asked why, Zhang Mengtan said, "I've done my duty to save my kingdom but looking back at past experience, I know sovereign kings are never satisfied with the power or land at hand. They will join others and fight for more power and more land. I must learn from past experiences, as those experiences are the teachers of future events".
The king could not dispute the logic in that statement and accepted Zhang Mengtan's resignation.
For generations, the State of Zhao continued to fight for power and land until finally being defeated and decimated by the State of Qin (which lead to the birth of the Qin Dynasty in 221 B.C.).
The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji (Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|7. Right Mindfulness|
|正念||sei nen / seinen||zhèng niàn|
|Remember||記憶||kioku||jì yì / ji4 yi4 / ji yi / jiyi||chi i / chii|
|Monkey||猴||hóu / hou2 / hou|
|Remember||銘記||mei ki / meiki||míng jì / ming2 ji4 / ming ji / mingji||ming chi / mingchi|
|All Tenets of the Noble Eightfold Path||正見正思唯正語正業正命正精進正念正定|
|shouken shoushiyui shougo shougo shoumyou shoushoujin shounen shoujou|
shoken shoshiyui shogo shogo shomyo shoshojin shonen shojo
|zhèng jiàn zhèng sī wéi zhèng yǔ zhèng yè zhèng mìng zhèng jīng jìn zhèng niàn zhèng dìng|
zheng4 jian4 zheng4 si1 wei2 zheng4 yu3 zheng4 ye4 zheng4 ming4 zheng4 jing1 jin4 zheng4 nian4 zheng4 ding4
zheng jian zheng si wei zheng yu zheng ye zheng ming zheng jing jin zheng nian zheng ding
|cheng chien cheng ssu wei cheng yü cheng yeh cheng ming cheng ching chin cheng nien cheng ting|
|Mindfulness||念||nen||niàn / nian4 / nian||nien|
|Past experience is the teacher for the future.||前事不忘后事之師|
|qián shì bú wàng hòu shí zhī shī|
qian2 shi4 bu2 wang4 hou4 shi2 zhi1 shi1
qian shi bu wang hou shi zhi shi
|ch`ien shih pu wang hou shih chih shih
chien shih pu wang hou shih chih shih
|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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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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