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Live for the Now in Chinese / Japanese...

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Live In The Moment / Live In The Now

China xiàn shì
Japan gen sei
Live In The Moment / Live In The Now Vertical Wall Scroll

現世 is a very short way to write "live in the moment" or "live in the now" in Japanese.

This short word is open to interpretation. It's used in Japanese Buddhism to mean "the current epoch" or "the current age" (the current age is but a brief moment in the greater scope of existence). When used in that context, this is pronounced "utsushiyo" or "ustusiyo" in Japanese. Otherwise, it's pronounced "gensei" in Japanese.

Other translation possibilities include:

Live for now
Earthly world
This world
This life
Earthly life
Present life
Present generation
Present incarnation
Current age
This existence
This (momentary) reality


Note: This is also a word in Chinese and old Korean Hanja. While the meaning is more or less the same, this is not recommended for a wall scroll if your audience is Chinese or Korean. This selection is best if your audience is Japanese.

Day

China
Japan hi / nichi
Day Vertical Wall Scroll

日 is how to write "day" in Chinese, Japanese and Korean Hanja.

This can also mean "Sun," the star in the middle of the Solar system in which we live. In Japanese, it can also mean "sunshine" or even "Sunday."

When writing the date in modern Chinese and Japanese, putting a number in front of this character indicates the day of the month. Of course, you need to indicate the month too... The month is expressed with a number followed by the character for the moon. So "three moons ten suns" would be "March 10th" or "3/10."

Note: 日 is also the first character for the proper name of Japan. Remember that Japan is "The land of the rising sun"? Well, the first character for Japan means "sun" the second means "origin" so you get the real meaning now. Sometimes, in China, this sun character can be a short name for Japan or a suffix for something of or from Japan.

Frightful Demon / Asura

China ē xiū luó
Japan ashura
Frightful Demon / Asura Vertical Wall Scroll

This demon title comes from the ancient Sanskrit word Asura.

阿修羅 is often used in Buddhism when describing various demons. Sometimes defined as "Fighting and battling giant demon."

In the context of Buddhism: This title originally meant a spirit, spirits, or even the gods (perhaps before 1700 years ago). It now generally indicates titanic demons, enemies of the gods, with whom, especially Indra, they wage constant war. They are defined as "not devas," and "ugly," and "without wine." There are four classes of asuras, separated according to their manner of rebirth. They can be egg-born, womb-born, transformation-born, and spawn- or water-born. Their abode is in the ocean, north of Sumeru but certain of the weaker dwell in a western mountain cave. They have realms, rulers, and palaces, as have the devas.

In terms of power, Asuras rank above humans but below most of the other deities. They live in the area near the coastal foot of Mount Sumeru (on the northern side). Their domain is partially or wholly in the ocean.

Better Late Than Never

It's Never Too Late Too Mend
China wáng yáng bǔ láo yóu wèi wéi wǎn
Better Late Than Never Vertical Wall Scroll

Long ago in what is now China, there were many kingdoms throughout the land. This time period is known as "The Warring States Period" by historians because these kingdoms often did not get along with each other.

Some time around 279 B.C. the Kingdom of Chu was a large but not particularly powerful kingdom. Part of the reason it lacked power was the fact that the King was surrounded by "yes men" who told him only what he wanted to hear. Many of the King's court officials were corrupt and incompetent which did not help the situation.

The King was not blameless himself, as he started spending much of his time being entertained by his many concubines.

One of the King's ministers, Zhuang Xin, saw problems on the horizon for the Kingdom, and warned the King, "Your Majesty, you are surrounded by people who tell you what you want to hear. They tell you things to make you happy, and cause you to ignore important state affairs. If this is allowed to continue, the Kingdom of Chu will surely perish, and fall into ruins."

This enraged the King who scolded Zhuang Xin for insulting the country and accused him of trying to create resentment among the people. Zhuang Xin explained, "I dare not curse the Kingdom of Chu but I feel that we face great danger in the future because of the current situation." The King was simply not impressed with Zhuang Xin's words.
Seeing the King's displeasure with him and the King's fondness for his court of corrupt officials, Zhuang Xin asked permission of the King that he may take leave of the Kingdom of Chu, and travel to the State of Zhao to live. The King agreed, and Zhuang Xin left the Kingdom of Chu, perhaps forever.

Five months later, troops from the neighboring Kingdom of Qin invaded Chu, taking a huge tract of land. The King of Chu went into exile, and it appeared that soon, the Kingdom of Chu would no longer exist.

The King of Chu remembered the words of Zhuang Xin, and sent some of his men to find him. Immediately, Zhuang Xin returned to meet the King. The first question asked by the King was, "What can I do now?"

Zhuang Xin told the King this story:

A shepherd woke one morning to find a sheep missing. Looking at the pen saw a hole in the fence where a wolf had come through to steal one of his sheep. His friends told him that he had best fix the hole at once. But the Shepherd thought since the sheep is already gone, there is no use fixing the hole.
The next morning, another sheep was missing. And the Shepherd realized that he must mend the fence at once. Zhuang Xin then went on to make suggestions about what could be done to reclaim the land lost to the Kingdom of Qin, and reclaim the former glory and integrity in the Kingdom of Chu.

The Chinese idiom shown above came from this reply from Zhuang Xin to the King of Chu almost 2,300 years ago.
It translates roughly into English as...
"Even if you have lost some sheep, it's never too late to mend the fence."

This proverb is often used in modern China when suggesting in a hopeful way that someone change their ways, or fix something in their life. It might be used to suggest fixing a marriage, quit smoking, or getting back on track after taking an unfortunate path in life among other things one might fix in their life.

I suppose in the same way that we might say, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life" in our western cultures to suggest that you can always start anew.

Note: This does have Korean pronunciation but is not a well-known proverb in Korean (only Koreans familiar with ancient Chinese history would know it). Best if your audience is Chinese.

Tiger Rumor

China sān rén chéng hǔ
Tiger Rumor Vertical Wall Scroll

These four characters together relay the meaning that can be expressed in English as, "When three people say there's a tiger running in the street, you believe it."

Of course, there is an ancient story behind this idiom...

三人成虎 is actually a proverb that resulted from a conversation that occurred around 300 B.C.

The conversation was between the king of the Wei kingdom and one of the king's ministers named Pang Cong.

It was near the end of one of many wars, this time with the Zhao kingdom. Pang Cong was to be sent by the king to the Zhao kingdom with the king's son who was to be held hostage. It was common at the time for a king to make his son a hostage to secure stable peace between warring kingdoms.

Before minister Pang Cong departed, he asked his king, "If one person told you there was a tiger running in the street, would you believe it?."

"No," the king said.

The minister continued, "What if two people told you?"

The king replied, "Well, I would have my doubts but I might believe it."

The minister continued, "So, what if three people told you that there is a tiger running in the streets?"

The king replied, "Yes, I would believe it, it must be true if three people say it."

The minister then reminded the king, "Your son and I are now traveling far away to live in the distant Zhao kingdom - much farther from your palace than the street. Rumors may fly about me in my absence, so I hope your majesty will weight such rumors appropriately."

The king replied, "I have every trust in you, do not worry"

While the minister was gone, the king's enemies gossiped about minister Pang Cong on many occasions. At first, the king thought nothing of these comments and rumors. But slowly as the rumors mounted, the king began to suspect ill of his minister.

Some time later when peace was well-established, the minister and prince were freed and returned to the kingdom of Wei. The king received his son, BUT DID NOT EVEN SUMMON MINISTER PANG CONG TO THE PALACE!

Hopefully this story will help you see how dangerous words can be when used to promote rumors, or create ill will. And perhaps will inspire you to not believe everything you hear.

There is also a secondary suggestion in this idiom that gossip is as ferocious as a tiger. Some Chinese people who don't know the ancient story above may believe that this scroll means that rumors are as vicious as three tigers.

Note: This proverb appears in my Korean dictionary but is not well-known in Korea.

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If shown, 2nd row is Simp. Chinese

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