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This is referred to as passage or chapter 33 of the Dao De Jing (often Romanized as “Tao Te Ching”).
These are the words of the philosopher Laozi (Lao Tzu).
During our research, the Chinese characters shown here are probably the most accurate to the original text of Laozi. These were taken for the most part from the Mawangdui 1973 and Guodan 1993 manuscripts which pre-date other Daodejing texts by about 1000 years.
Grammar was a little different in Laozi’s time. So you should consider this to be the ancient Chinese version. Some have modernized this passage by adding, removing, or swapping articles and changing the grammar (we felt the oldest and most original version would be more desirable). You may find other versions printed in books or online - sometimes these modern texts are simply used to explain to Chinese people what the original text really means.
This language issue can be compared in English by thinking how the King James (known as the Authorized version in Great Britain) Bible from 1611 was written, and comparing it to modern English. Now imagine that the Daodejing was probably written around 403 BCE (2000 years before the King James Version of the Bible). To a Chinese person, the original Daodejing reads like text that is 3 times more detached compared to Shakespeare’s English is to our modern-day speech.
While on this Biblical text comparison, it should be noted, that just like the Bible, all the original texts of the Daodejing were lost or destroyed long ago. Just as with the scripture used to create the Bible, various manuscripts exist, many with variations or copyist errors. Just as the earliest New Testament scripture (incomplete) is from 170 years after Christ, the earliest Daodejing manuscript (incomplete) is from 100-200 years after the death of Laozi.
The reason that the originals were lost probably has a lot to do with the first Qin Emperor. Upon taking power and unifying China, he ordered the burning and destruction of all books (scrolls/rolls) except those pertaining to Chinese medicine and a few other subjects. The surviving Daodejing manuscripts were either hidden on purpose or simply forgotten about. Some were not unearthed until as late as 1993.
We compared a lot of research by various archeologists and historians before deciding on this as the most accurate and correct version. But one must allow that it may not be perfect, or the actual and original as from the hand of Laozi himself.
In Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja, 神明 title refers to deities or gods (can be the singular or plural form).
Depending on the context, this could also mean “divine.”
Specifically, in Japanese, this can refer to Amaterasu (as an enshrined deity).
In some Buddhist contexts, this also means deity but can also refer to “intelligence” (as in all-knowing).
聖靈 is the title for the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost as used by Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant (and other Christian) Chinese people.
And yes, Chinese Jews do exist, but there are not many of them.
The first character means Holy, Sacred, Saint, or Sage. The second means ghost, spirit, efficacious, or intelligence.
This is valid in Chinese characters and old Korean Hanja. This will be recognized in Japan but see the note below...
These two characters mean intelligence or intelligent.
The first character means wisdom, intellect, or knowledge.
The second means ability, talent, skill, capacity, capable, able, and can even mean competent.
Together, 知能 can mean “capacity for wisdom,” “useful knowledge,” or even “mental power.” Obviously, this translates more clearly into English as “intelligence.”
Note: This is not the same word used to mean “military intelligence.” See our other entry for that.
In modern Japan, they tend to use a version of the first character without the bottom radical. If your audience for this artwork is Japanese, please click on the Kanji to the right instead of the button above.
If you are a government spy, engaged in business espionage, or in some military intelligence department, 情報 is both the title of what you are doing and what you are collecting about your enemy.
It is suggestive by itself of military intelligence but applies to corporate intelligence if you are keeping an eye on your competition in business.
意 is the Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja for an idea, intention, meaning, thought, wish, desire, intention, feelings, and thoughts.
In Buddhism, this is the last of the six means of perception (the others are sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch, and this one represents the mind). It does not literally mean “mind,” but rather something more like mental powers, intellect, intelligence, faculty of thought, or understanding in the Buddhist context.
軍事情報 is the full way to say “Military Intelligence.”
The first two characters mean “military affairs.”
The second two characters mean “intelligence” or “information-gathering.”
If you work in the G2 section of your military unit, this is the wall scroll for you.
See Also: Military
哲 is a Japanese name that is often romanized as Tetsu.
The meaning of the character can be: philosophy; wise; sage; wise man; philosopher; disciple; sagacity; wisdom; intelligence.
哲 can also be romanized as: Yutaka; Masaru; Hiroshi; Tooru; Tetsuji; Choru; Satoru; Satoshi; Akira; Aki.
三人寄れば文殊の知恵 literally means “when three people meet, wisdom is exchanged.”
Some will suggest this means when three people come together, their wisdom is multiplied.
That wisdom part can also be translated as wit, sagacity, intelligence, or Buddhist Prajna (insight leading to enlightenment).
In the middle of this proverb is “monju,” suggesting “transcendent wisdom.” This is where the multiplication of wisdom ideas comes from.
Note: This is very similar to the Chinese proverb, "When 3 people meet, one becomes a teacher."
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
In Chinese, 纔智 means “ability and wisdom” or “ability and intelligence.”
纔智 can also be defined as brilliance or genius.
In Japanese, 纔智 takes on a meaning more of “wit and intelligence.”
Note that the ancient/traditional form is shown above. After WWII, in both Japan and China, the first character was simplified. If you want this reformed/simplified version, just click on the characters to the right, instead of the button above. This is a good choice if your audience is Japanese.
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 is 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.
賢明 is a Japanese word that refers to wisdom, intelligence, and prudence.
賢明 was originally a Chinese word that referred to a wise person or enlightened ruler. It means wise and able, sagacious now in China.
Beyond wisdom, 智慧 can be translated as knowledge, sagacity, sense, and intelligence.
The first character means “wise” or “smart,” and the second character means “intelligence.”
Note: 智慧 is used commonly in Chinese and is a less-common word in Japanese and Korean. If your audience is Japanese, I suggest our other Japanese wisdom option.
This means intellect or wisdom in Japanese too but is a more unusual way to write this word (though both versions are pronounced the same in Japanese).
See Also: Learn From Wisdom
賢 is used to refer to being a wise, trustworthy, and virtuous person. But it also contains the ideas of intelligence, genius, scholarship, virtue, sage, saint, good, and excellent in character.
賢 is used in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja. Also used in a Buddhist context with the same meaning.
Note: Can also be the male given name, Masaru, in Japanese.
These search terms might be related to Intelligence:
The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Romaji (Romanized Japanese)
|Various forms of Romanized Chinese
Tao Te Ching - Chapter 33
|zhī rén zhě zhī yě zì zhī zhě míng yě shèng rén zhě yǒu lì yě zì shèng zhě qiáng yě zhī zú zhě fù yě qiáng xíng zhě yǒu zhì yě bù zhī qí suǒ zhě jiǔ yě sǐ ér bù wáng zhě shòu yě
zhi1 ren2 zhe3 zhi1 ye3 zi4 zhi1 zhe3 ming2 ye3 sheng4 ren2 zhe3 you3 li4 ye3 zi4 sheng4 zhe3 qiang2 ye3 zhi1 zu2 zhe3 fu4 ye3 qiang2 xing2 zhe3 you3 zhi4 ye3 bu4 zhi1 qi2 suo3 zhe3 jiu3 ye3 si3 er2 bu4 wang2 zhe3 shou4 ye3
zhi ren zhe zhi ye zi zhi zhe ming ye sheng ren zhe you li ye zi sheng zhe qiang ye zhi zu zhe fu ye qiang xing zhe you zhi ye bu zhi qi suo zhe jiu ye si er bu wang zhe shou ye
|chih jen che chih yeh tzu chih che ming yeh sheng jen che yu li yeh tzu sheng che ch`iang yeh chih tsu che fu yeh ch`iang hsing che yu chih yeh pu chih ch`i so che chiu yeh ssu erh pu wang che shou yeh
chih jen che chih yeh tzu chih che ming yeh sheng jen che yu li yeh tzu sheng che chiang yeh chih tsu che fu yeh chiang hsing che yu chih yeh pu chih chi so che chiu yeh ssu erh pu wang che shou yeh
|jin myou / jinmyou / jin myo
|聖靈 / 聖霊
|sei rei / seirei
|shin tou / shintou / shin to
|xīn dēng / xin1 deng1 / xin deng / xindeng
|hsin teng / hsinteng
|智能 / 知能
|chinou / chino
|zhì néng / zhi4 neng2 / zhi neng / zhineng
|chih neng / chihneng
|jouhou / joho
|qíng bào / qing2 bao4 / qing bao / qingbao
|ch`ing pao / chingpao / ching pao
|yì / yi4 / yi
|jūn shì qíng bào
jun1 shi4 qing2 bao4
jun shi qing bao
|chün shih ch`ing pao
chün shih ching pao
|zhé / zhe2 / zhe
|When Three People Gather, Wisdom is Multiplied
|san nin yore ba monju no chie
|e / kei
|huì / hui4 / hui
|sai chi / saichi
|cái zhì / cai2 zhi4 / cai zhi / caizhi
|ts`ai chih / tsaichih / tsai chih
|chi / tomo
|zhì / zhi4 / zhi
|ken mei / kenmei
|zhì huì / zhi4 hui4 / zhi hui / zhihui
|chih hui / chihhui
|Wise and Virtuous
|xián / xian2 / xian
|chuuoujouhoukyoku / chuojohokyoku
chuojohokyoku / chuojohokyoku
|zhōng yāng qíng bào jú
zhong1 yang1 qing2 bao4 ju2
zhong yang qing bao ju
|chung yang ch`ing pao chü
chung yang ching pao chü
|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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