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Life is Simple in Chinese / Japanese...

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Life is Short

A 100-year-old is but a traveler passing through this life
bǎi suì guāng yīn rú guò kè
Life is Short Scroll

百歲光陰如過客 directly translates as: [Even a] hundred-year-old [person] is [just a] traveler passing by.

The simple message is, "Human life is short". Of course, there is an unspoken suggestion that you should make the best of the time you have here on earth.


Simplicity Scroll

簡 expresses the idea of something simple, or the essence of simplicity in life in Chinese.

This can also refer to a simple slip of bamboo for taking notes or writing a letter (especially in Korean Hanja).

Technically this is a word meaning simple and brevity in Japanese but it's rarely used in modern Japanese. Therefore, you should probably only select this character if your audience is Chinese.

See Also:  Brevity

A Life of Serenity Yields Understanding

dàn bó yǐ míng zhì, níng jìng ér zhì yuǎn
A Life of Serenity Yields Understanding Scroll

This is a kind of complex ten-character proverb composed by Zhuge Liang about 1800 years ago.

This Chinese proverb means "Leading a simple life will yield a clear mind, and having inner peace will help you see far (into the world)".

What I have translated as "simple life" means NOT being materialistic and NOT competing in the rat race.

The last word means "far" but the deeper meaning is that you will surpass what you can currently see or understand. Perhaps even the idea of opening up vast knowledge and understanding of complex ideas.

The whole phrase has a theme that suggests if you are NOT an aggressive cut-throat person who fights his way to the top no matter how many people he crushes on the way, and instead seek inner peace, you will have a happier existence and be more likely to understand the meaning of life.

See Also:  Serenity

Tanjun / Simplicity

Tanjun / Simplicity Scroll

Tanjun is a Japanese word that means simplicity, simple, and/or uncomplicated.

Do you want to live the "tanjun lifestyle"? Maybe this wall scroll will remind you to uncomplicate your life.

Work Unselfishly for the Common Good

kè jǐ fèng gōng
Work Unselfishly for the Common Good Scroll

This can also mean: "Place Strict Standards on Oneself in Public Service".
This Chinese proverb is often used to express how one should act as a government official. Most of us wish our public officials would hold themselves to higher standards. I wish I could send this scroll, along with the meaning to every member of Congress, and the President (or if I was from the UK, all the members of Parliament, and the PM)

The story behind this ancient Chinese idiom:
A man named Cai Zun was born in China a little over 2000 years ago. In 24 AD, he joined an uprising led by Liu Xiu who later became the emperor of the Eastern Han Dynasty.

Later, the new emperor put Cai Zun in charge of the military court. Cai Zun exercised his power in strict accordance with military law, regardless of the offender's rank or background. He even ordered the execution of one of the emperor's close servants after the servant committed a serious crime.

Cai Zun led a simple life but put great demands on himself to do all things in an honorable way. The emperor rewarded him for his honest character and honorable nature by promoting him to the rank of General and granting him the title of Marquis.

Whenever Cai Zun would receive an award, he would give credit to his men and share the reward with them.
Cai Zun was always praised by historians who found many examples of his selfless acts that served the public interest.
Sometime, long ago in history, people began to refer to Cai Zun as "ke ji feng gong".

See Also:  Unselfish | Selflessness | Altruism

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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...

Title CharactersRomaji (Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
Life is Short百歲光陰如過客
bǎi suì guāng yīn rú guò kè
bai3 sui4 guang1 yin1 ru2 guo4 ke4
bai sui guang yin ru guo ke
pai sui kuang yin ju kuo k`o
pai sui kuang yin ju kuo ko
kanjiǎn / jian3 / jianchien
A Life of Serenity Yields Understanding淡泊以明志寧靜而致遠
dàn bó yǐ míng zhì, níng jìng ér zhì yuǎn
dan4 bo2 yi3 ming2 zhi4, ning2 jing4 er2 zhi4 yuan3
dan bo yi ming zhi, ning jing er zhi yuan
tan po i ming chih, ning ching erh chih yüan
Work Unselfishly for the Common Good克己奉公kè jǐ fèng gōng
ke4 ji3 feng4 gong1
ke ji feng gong
k`o chi feng kung
ko chi feng kung
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.

Not the results for life is simple that you were looking for?

Below are some entries from our dictionary that may match your life is simple search...


If shown, 2nd row is Simp. Chinese

Simple Dictionary Definition


see styles
dàn bó / dan4 bo2
tan po
 tanbaku / たんぱく
living a simple life
(noun or adjectival noun) (1) light (color, colour, taste); simple; plain; (2) frank; candid; ingenuous; indifferent


see styles
xiǎo rì zi / xiao3 ri4 zi5
hsiao jih tzu
simple life


see styles
 yakushabaka / やくしゃばか (yoji) good actor who is inept in all other matters; demon for acting who is utterly indifferent to all other concerns; skilled actor who knows little of life; person who excels in one occupation (profession) but lacks simple common sense


see styles
dàn bó míng zhì / dan4 bo2 ming2 zhi4
tan po ming chih
living a simple life as one's ideal (idiom)


see styles
 tanshihyouin / tanshihyoin / たんしひょういん (obscure) (yoji) (from the Analects of Confucius) simple food and drink; being content with a frugal life; a bamboo dish of rice and a gourd of drink


see styles
 soisoshoku / そいそしょく (yoji) simple life; frugal life


see styles
 shinpururaifu / シンプルライフ simple life



see styles
lǎo pó hái zi rè kàng tou / lao3 po2 hai2 zi5 re4 kang4 tou5
lao p`o hai tzu je k`ang t`ou / lao po hai tzu je kang tou
wife, kids and a warm bed (idiom); the simple and good life


see styles
 shinpuru raifu / シンプル・ライフ simple life


see styles
 ittannoshiippyounoin / ittannoshippyonoin / いったんのしいっぴょうのいん (exp,n) (idiom) (from the Analects of Confucius) simple food and drink; being content with a frugal life; a bamboo dish of rice and a gourd of drink


see styles
 shinpururaifu;shinpuru raifu / シンプルライフ;シンプル・ライフ simple life


see styles
 wabi / わび (1) taste for the simple and quiet; rustic simplicity; austere refinement; wabi; (2) enjoyment of a quiet life

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Work Unselfishly for the Common Good Scroll
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A nice Chinese calligraphy wall scroll

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single-character wall scroll.
We also offer custom wall scrolls in small, medium, and an even-larger jumbo size.

A professional Chinese Calligrapher

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.

Trying to learn Chinese calligrapher - a futile effort

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.

A high-ranked Chinese master calligrapher that I met in Zhongwei

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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