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11. Destiny / Fate
19. The Red String
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
卡瑪 is the most common transliteration to Mandarin Chinese for the name Karma.
Note: This sounds like Karma but does not have the meaning of Karma in Chinese. See our other entry if you are looking for the Buddhist idea of Karma.
In fact, if your name is Karma, I strongly suggest that you use a word that means Karma, rather than this one which sounds like Karma (meaning is more important and universal in Chinese/Japanese/Korean).
宿業 is the Buddhist concept of Past Karma. To put it simply, it's the sum of all the good and bad from all previous lives (and perhaps earlier in your current life). This term is not commonly used outside of the Buddhist faith (you'll have a tough time finding a non-Buddhist Asian person that knows this word).
Other ways to translate this: "The karma of previous existence," "The karma remaining from prior existences," or simply "Former karma."
See Also: Buddhism
有緣 means: related; brought together by fate; same karma; those who have the cause, link, or connection.
有緣 is a common word in Chinese but usually only used in the context of Buddhism in Japanese.
Buddhists will say this refers to those that are influenced by and responsive to the Buddha.
These two characters mean, "Destiny that brings lovers together." It can also be translated technically as, "Predestined matrimonial affinity" (wow, talk about taking the romance out of this word - that was from the Oxford C-E dictionary).
Basically, this is talking about the fate (or karma) that brings a husband and wife together. I would translate this as "Together by fate" or "Joined by destiny" but in the context of marriage. You could use this for non-married lovers but the first character has a suggestion that this refers to those that are married.
The first two characters mean "all things" or "everything."
The middle character kind of means, "in all cases."
The last two characters create a complex word that can be defined many ways such as, "karma," "cause and effect," "fate," "every cause has its effect, as every effect arises from a cause."
Keep in mind, Chinese grammar is a bit different than English, so trust me that this makes a natural proverb that means, "Everything happens for a reason" in Chinese.
These two characters contain the ideas of "fate," "destiny," "fortune" and "luck." You can also say that it means "what life throws at you" or "your lot in life" because the first character contains the idea of "life" or "living."
This version is really only used in Chinese. There's another version with just the characters reversed that is more universal. In fact, just skip this one. The opposite character order is better.
This is a work in progress. We're still trying to decide the best way to express this in Japanese. If you order this, we might have a discussion about the best version that fits you. Here's how the characters break down by meaning (keep in mind, Japanese grammar and sentence construction is very different from English, so it doesn't make complete sense in English)...
物事 = things, everything
全て all, the whole, entirely
あっ be, exist, have, take place, happens
起きる to occur, to happen; to take place (usually unfavorable incidents)
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
緣 / 縁 is a complicated single character. It can mean a lot of different things depending on how you read it.
In Japanese, it can mean fate; destiny; a mysterious force that binds two people together; a relationship between two people; bond; link; connection; family ties; affinity; opportunity; chance (to meet someone and start a relationship). It can also mean "someone to rely on," relative, reminder, memento, or the female given name, Yori.
It's basically the same in Chinese, where it's defined as cause, reason, karma, fate, or predestined affinity.
In Buddhist context, it's Pratyaya. 緣 / 縁 is the concept of indirect conditions, as opposed to direct causes. It's when something happens (meeting someone) by circumstance, or a contributing environment. Instead of a direct cause or act, it is a conditioning cause without direct input or action by the involved people.
Occasionally, this character is used in a facetious way to say hem, seam, or edge of clothing. In this case, it's the seam that brings or holds the clothing together.
Note: Japanese will tend to use the variant of this Kanji shown to the right. If you want this version (and are ordering this from the Japanese master calligrapher), click on the Kanji at the right instead of the button above.
These two characters contain the ideas of "fate," "destiny," "fortune" and "luck" in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
運命 is often defined as "a person's fate" in various dictionaries.
These two characters can be reversed (written in either order) and yield roughly the same meaning.
This particular character order happens to be more common in old Korean and less common in modern Chinese.
This Japanese proverb means, "Evil cause, evil effect" or "Bad causes bring bad results."
The English equivalent is probably, "Sow evil and reap evil" or more commonly, "You reap what you sow."
Note: 悪因悪果 is also considered to be a Buddhist phrase encompassing the idea of karmic retribution.
轉世 is the Buddhist idea of reincarnation or transmigration.
Other definitions of this term: "Attainer of Nirvana from within the desire realm," "A practitioner who enters directly into Nirvana from the desire realm, without traversing the form and formless realms. One of the 27 kinds of Hinayana sages," or simply, "to return again to this life."
轉世 is also a Japanese title but the first Kanji was slightly simplified after WWII. Just let us know if you want the modern Japanese version when you order.
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.
樂天 is about being optimistic and also making the best of whatever life throws at you.
樂天 / 楽天 is hard to define. One dictionary defines this as, "acceptance of fate and happy about it." There is one English word equivalent which is sanguinity or sanguinary.
You can also say that this means, "Be happy with whatever Heaven provides," or "Find happiness in whatever fate Heaven bestows upon you." 樂天 suggests being an optimist in life.
Note: 樂天 / 楽天 is sometimes a given name in China.
八正道 is a complex set of steps that Buddhists much take to cleanse karma, achieve enlightenment, eventually cease the cycle of rebirth and live in a state of Nirvana.
If the idea of 8 separate wall scrolls plus this title is too much for you, we can custom-arrange all eight of these concepts on a single wall scroll. Just contact me, and we can discuss options.
Note: This term is exclusively used by devout Buddhists. It is not a common term and remains an unknown concept to most Japanese and Chinese people.
正精進 is one of the Noble Eightfold Paths of Buddhism. Right Effort, along with Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration constitute the path to Concentration or Perfect Thought.
Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake in each moment, the effort to overcome laziness and defilement, the effort to make each activity of our day meditation. This concept is about pursuing wholesome things that promote good karma.
Another definition: Cultivation of what is karmically wholesome and avoidance of what is karmically unwholesome.
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.
This literally translates as, "the red string" or "the red thread" in Japanese but the real meaning is much deeper...
In Japanese culture, it's believed that fate, destiny, or karma joins lovers by an unseen string, tied around one little finger of each. 赤い糸 is how soul mates fine and are drawn to each other.
The Japanese concept of the red thread of fate, by most estimations, comes from Chinese folklore, where it's known as 姻緣紅線. The only difference being that in China, the celestial red thread is tied around the ankles of the lovers (versus what is usually represented to be the pinky finger in Japan).
輪回 / 輪廻 is a universal word in Japanese and Chinese that expresses the Buddhist idea of "reincarnation," "transmigration of souls" or "the eternal cycle of birth and death."
In some context, this can also mean "karma," and others will say it represents "samsara."
The first character means wheel, ring, turn, circle, loop or rotate.
The second character can be thought of as a suffix meaning "-times." This second character can also refer to something that revolves, returns, goes back, or a counter for the number of occurrences of some event.
Together the sum supersedes the parts and it means reincarnation. But knowing the seeing the essence of each character may help you understand some of the meaning behind the word.
Shown to the right is the more common way to write the second character in Japanese. It's an alternate form of this character in Chinese (so neither way is technically wrong in either language). If you select a Japanese calligrapher, expect that is will look like the Kanji to the right.
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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|
|gou / go||yè / ye4 / ye||yeh|
|kǎ mǎ / ka3 ma3 / ka ma / kama||k`a ma / kama / ka ma|
|Karma (of your past lives)||宿業|
|shukugou / shukugo||sù yè / su4 ye4 / su ye / suye||su yeh / suyeh|
|Shadow of Karma|
Dogged by Karma
|gou you / gouyou / go yo / goyo||yè yǐng / ye4 ying3 / ye ying / yeying||yeh ying / yehying|
|Karma - Cause and Effect||因果||inga||yīn guǒ / yin1 guo3 / yin guo / yinguo||yin kuo / yinkuo|
|Wheel of Karma||業輪|
|gōrin||yè lún / ye4 lun2 / ye lun / yelun||yeh lun / yehlun|
|uen||yǒu yuán / you3 yuan2 / you yuan / youyuan||yu yüan / yuyüan|
|The Karma/Fate/Destiny that Brings Lovers Together||姻緣|
|yīn yuán / yin1 yuan2 / yin yuan / yinyuan||yin yüan / yinyüan|
|Everything Happens for a Reason||萬事皆因果|
|wàn shì jiē yīn guǒ|
wan4 shi4 jie1 yin1 guo3
wan shi jie yin guo
|wan shih chieh yin kuo
|mìng yùn / ming4 yun4 / ming yun / mingyun||ming yün / mingyün|
|Everything Happens for a Reason||物事は全て理由があって起きる||monogoto ha subete riyuu ga at te okiru |
monogoto ha subete riyu ga at te okiru
|The Mysterious Bond Between People||緣 / 縁|
|en||yuán / yuan2 / yuan||yüan|
|un mei / unmei||yùn mìng / yun4 ming4 / yun ming / yunming||yün ming / yünming|
|Evil Cause, Evil Result||悪因悪果||akuin akka / akuinakka / akuin aka / akuinaka|
|ten sei / tensei||zhuǎn shì|
因缘 / 因縁
|in nen / innen||yīn yuán / yin1 yuan2 / yin yuan / yinyuan||yin yüan / yinyüan|
Happy With Your Fate
|樂天 / 楽天|
|raku ten / rakuten||lè tiān / le4 tian1 / le tian / letian||le t`ien / letien / le tien|
|The Noble Eightfold Path||八正道||ha sshou dou|
ha sho do
|bā zhèng dào|
ba1 zheng4 dao4
ba zheng dao
|pa cheng tao
Love by Fate
|6. Right Effort|
|sei shou jin|
sei sho jin
|zhèng jīng jìn|
zheng4 jing1 jin4
zheng jing jin
|cheng ching chin
|The Red String||赤い糸||akai ito / akaiito|
Transmigration of Souls
|輪回 / 輪廻|
|rin ne / rinne||lún huí / lun2 hui2 / lun hui / lunhui|
|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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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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