Samsara in Chinese / Japanese...

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Samsara / Endless Cycle of Rebirth

lún huí
Samsara / Endless Cycle of Rebirth Scroll

輪廻 is one of a few ways to express संसार or Saṃsāra in Chinese, Japanese, and old Korean.

The Buddhist term can be translated several ways, including:
Endless cycle of death and rebirth.
The turning of the wheel.
To revolve.
Transmigration in the six ways.
The wheel of transmigration.
The round of existence.

Reincarnation / Transmigration of Souls

lún huí
rin ne
Reincarnation / Transmigration of Souls Scroll

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.

廻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.

See Also:  Buddhism | Rebirth

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

Title CharactersRomaji (Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
Endless Cycle of Rebirth
rinnelún huí / lun2 hui2 / lun hui / lunhui
Transmigration of Souls
輪回 / 輪廻
rin ne / rinnelún 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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Below are some entries from our dictionary that may match your samsara search...


If shown, 2nd row is Simp. Chinese

Simple Dictionary Definition



see styles
lún huí
    lun2 hui2
lun hui
Reincarnation / Transmigration of Souls Scroll
(noun/participle) (Buddhist term) samsara; endless cycle of death and rebirth; (female given name) Rinne
輪轉 saṃsāra, the turning of the wheel, to revolve, i.e. transmigration in the six ways, the wheel of transmigration; the round of existence.


see styles
sān shèng
    san1 sheng4
san sheng
(surname) Minori
Triyāna, the three vehicles, or conveyances which carry living beings across saṁsāra or mortality (births-and-deaths) to the shores of nirvāṇa. The three are styled 小,中, and 大. Sometimes the three vehicles are defined as 聲聞 Śrāvaka, that of the hearer or obedient disciple; 緣覺Pratyeka-buddha, that of the enlightened for self; these are described as 小乘 because the objective of both is personal salvation; the third is 菩薩Bodhisattva, or 大乘 Mahāyāna, because the objective is the salvation of all the living. The three are also depicted as 三車 three wains, drawn by a goat, a deer, an ox. The Lotus declares that the three are really the One Buddha-vehicle, which has been revealed in three expedient forms suited to his disciples' capacity, the Lotus Sūtra being the unifying, complete, and final exposition. The Three Vehicles are differently explained by different exponents, e.g. (1) Mahāyāna recognizes (a) Śrāvaka, called Hīnayāna, leading in longer or shorter periods to arhatship; (b) Pratyeka-buddha, called Madhyamayāna, leading after still longer or shorter periods to a Buddhahood ascetically attained and for self; (c) Bodhisattva, called Mahayana, leading after countless ages of self-sacrifce in saving others and progressive enlightenment to ultimate Buddhahood. (2) Hīnayāna is also described as possessing three vehicles 聲, 緣, 菩 or 小, 中, 大, the 小 and 中 conveying to personal salvation their devotees in ascetic dust and ashes and mental annihilation, the 大 leading to bodhi, or perfect enlightenment, and the Buddha's way. Further definitions of the Triyāna are: (3) True bodhisattva teaching for the 大; pratyeka-buddha without ignorant asceticism for the 中; and śrāvaka with ignorant asceticism for the 小. (4) (a) 一乘 The One-Vehicle which carries all to Buddhahood: of this the 華嚴 Hua-yen and 法華 Fa-hua are typical exponents; (b) 三乘法 the three-vehicle, containing practitioners of all three systems, as expounded in books of the 深密般若; (c) 小乘 the Hīnayāna pure and simple as seen in the 四阿合經 Four Āgamas. Śrāvakas are also described as hearers of the Four Truths and limited to that degree of development; they hear from the pratyeka-buddhas, who are enlightened in the Twelve Nidānas 因緣; the bodhisattvas make the 六度 or six forms of transmigration their field of sacrificial saving work, and of enlightenment. The Lotus Sūtra really treats the 三乘. Three Vehicles as 方便 or expedient ways, and offers a 佛乘 Buddha Vehicle as the inclusive and final vehicle.



see styles
sān chē
    san1 che1
san ch`e
    san che
triyāna. 三乘 or 三乘法門 (1) The three vehicles across saṃsāra into nirvāṇa, i.e. the carts offered by the father in the Lotus Sutra to lure his children out of the burning house: (a) goat carts, representing śrāvakas; (b) deer carts, pratyekabuddhas; (c) bullock carts, bodhisattvas. (2) The three principal schools of Buddhism— Hīnayāna, Madhyamayāna, Mahāyāna; three carts


see styles
liù dù
    liu4 du4
liu tu
(surname) Rokudo
The six things that ferry one beyond the sea of mortality to nirvana, i. e. the six pāramitās 波羅蜜 (波羅蜜多): (1) 布施 dāna, charity, or giving, including the bestowing of the truth on others; (2) 持戒 śīla, keeping the command rents; (3) 忍辱 kṣānti, patience under insult; (4) 精進 vīrya, zeal and progress; (5) 闡定 dhyāna, meditation or contemplation; (6) 智慧 prajñā; wisdom, the power to discern reality or truth. It is the last that carries across the saṃsāra (sea of incarnate life) to the shores of nirvana. The opposites of these virtues are meanness, wickedness, anger, sloth, a distracted mind, and ignorance. The 唯識論 adds four other pāramitās: (7) 方便 upāya, the use of appropriate means; (8) 願 praṇidhāna, pious vows; (9) 力 bala, power of fulfillment; (10) 智 jñāna knowledge; six perfections



see styles
yàn xīn
    yan4 xin1
yen hsin
Disgusted with, or rejoicing in; wearied of [saṃsāra] rejoicing in [nirvāṇa]


see styles
bǐ àn
    bi3 an4
pi an
the other shore; (Buddhism) paramita
(1) equinoctial week (when Buddhist services are held); (2) (abbreviation) (See 彼岸会) Buddhist services during the equinoctial week; (3) {Buddh} (See 此岸) nirvana
波羅 parā, yonder shore i. e. nirvāṇa. The saṃsāra life of reincarnation is 此岸 this shore; the stream of karma is 中流 the stream between the one shore and the other. Metaphor for an end to any affair. pāramitā (an incorrect etymology, no doubt old) is the way to reach the other shore.; The other shore; nirvāṇa.



see styles
liú zhuǎn
    liu2 zhuan3
liu chuan
to be on the move; to roam or wander; to circulate (of goods or capital)
saṃsāra, transmigration, flowing and returning, flowing back again; continuity


see styles
shēng sǐ
    sheng1 si3
sheng ssu
 seishi(p); shoushi; shouji / seshi(p); shoshi; shoji
    せいし(P); しょうし; しょうじ
life or death
(1) life and death; (2) (しょうし, しょうじ only) {Buddh} samsara (cycle of death and rebirth); (3) (しょうし, しょうじ only) death
saṃsāra: birth and death: rebirth and redeath; life and death; 生死, 死生; 生生死死 ever-recurring saṃsāra or transmigrations; the round of mortality. There are two, three, four, seven, and twelve kinds of 生死; the two are 分斷生死 the various karmaic transmigrations, and 不思義變易生死 (or simply 變易生死) the inconceivable transformation life in the Pure Land. Among the twelve are final separation from mortality of the arhat, with 無餘 no remains of it causing return; one final death and no rebirth of the anāgāmin; the seven advancing rebirths of the srota-āpanna; down to the births-cum-deaths of hungry ghosts.


see styles
pò yǒu
    po4 you3
p`o yu
    po yu
To refute the belief in the reality of things; to break the power of transmigration as does the Buddha; destroy the bonds of existence—saṃsāra



see styles
lún huí
    lun2 hui2
lun hui
variant of 輪迴|轮回[lun2 hui2]
(irregular kanji usage) (noun/participle) (Buddhist term) samsara; endless cycle of death and rebirth; (female given name) Meguru


see styles
nì liú
    ni4 liu2
ni liu
 gyakuryuu / gyakuryu
against the stream; adverse current; a countercurrent; fig. reactionary tendency; to go against the trend
(n,vs,adj-no) counter-current; adverse tide; regurgitation (of blood)
To go against the current, i.e. the stream of transmigration, and enter the path of Nirvana, also called 預流, the srota-āpanna, or śrāvaka first stage; resisting the flow (of saṃsāra)


see styles
dào sú
    dao4 su2
tao su
 douzoku / dozoku
monks and laity
Monks and laymen; domains of nirvāṇa and saṃsāra



see styles
shùn liú
    shun4 liu2
shun liu
Going with the stream, i.e. of transmigration, custom, etc; acquiescing to the flow (of saṃsāra)


see styles
jiāng suō luò
    jiang1 suo1 luo4
chiang so lo
saṃsāra, course, transmigration, v. 散 and 生死.


see styles
fǎn liú wèi
    fan3 liu2 wei4
fan liu wei
 honru i
a position from which one is acting counter to the flow of saṃsāra


see styles
sàn tà luō
    san4 ta4 luo1
san t`a lo
    san ta lo
saṃsāra, course, passage, transmigration.


see styles
yǒu lòu dào
    you3 lou4 dao4
yu lou tao
 uro dō
(or 有漏路) The way of mortal saṃsāra, in contrast with 無漏道 that of nirvāṇa; contaminated path


see styles
nì liú dào
    ni4 liu2 dao4
ni liu tao
 gyakuru dō
path of reversing the flow (of saṃsāra)



see styles
suí liú shì
    sui2 liu2 shi4
sui liu shih
 zuiru ji
situations, events, etc., that go along with the flow of saṃsāra



see styles
suí liú wèi
    sui2 liu2 wei4
sui liu wei
 zuiru i
from the perspective of going along with the flow of saṃsāra


see styles
shùn liú zhōu
    shun4 liu2 zhou1
shun liu chou
(saṃsāra, like a) boat that flows with the current



see styles
jiǔ fú yī tuō
    jiu3 fu2 yi1 tuo1
chiu fu i t`o
    chiu fu i to
 ku baku ichi datsu
The nine states of bondage and the one state of liberation. The nine states are the hells of fire, of blood, of swords; asuras, men, devas, māras, nirgranthas, form and formless states; these are all saṃsāra states, i.e. of reincarnation. The one state of freedom, or for obtaining freedom, is nirvāṇa.



see styles
èr zhǒng shēng sǐ
    er4 zhong3 sheng1 si3
erh chung sheng ssu
 nishu shōji
two kinds of saṃsāra



see styles
nèi wài chén shā
    nei4 wai4 chen2 sha1
nei wai ch`en sha
    nei wai chen sha
 naige jinja
the innumerable details in and out of saṃsāra


see styles
fēn duàn shēng sǐ
    fen1 duan4 sheng1 si3
fen tuan sheng ssu
 bundan shōji
分段死, 分段身, 分段三道 all refer to the mortal lot, or dispensation in regard to the various forms of reincarnation; delimited saṃsāra


see styles
fǎn chū shēng sǐ
    fan3 chu1 sheng1 si3
fan ch`u sheng ssu
    fan chu sheng ssu
 honshutsu shōji
One of the seven kinds of mortality, i. e. escape from it into nirvana; the saṃsāra of escape



see styles
fǎn liú guī yuán
    fan3 liu2 gui1 yuan2
fan liu kuei yüan
 honru kigen
to go against the flow of saṃsāra and return to the original fount of nirvāṇa, or enlightenment


see styles
fǎn liú suǒ yuán
    fan3 liu2 suo3 yuan2
fan liu so yüan
 honnu sakugen
to go against the flow of saṃsāra and return to the original fount of nirvāṇa, or enlightenment



see styles
fǎn liú dá yuán
    fan3 liu2 da2 yuan2
fan liu ta yüan
 honru datsugen
to go against the flow of saṃsāra and return to the original fount of nirvāṇa, or enlightenment



see styles
yǒu wéi shēng sǐ
    you3 wei2 sheng1 si3
yu wei sheng ssu
 ui shōji
The mortal saṃsāra life of births and deaths, contrasted with 無爲生死 effortless mortality, e. g. transformation such as that of the Bodhisattva; conditioned birth and death

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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

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

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Some people may refer to this entry as Samsara Kanji, Samsara Characters, Samsara in Mandarin Chinese, Samsara Characters, Samsara in Chinese Writing, Samsara in Japanese Writing, Samsara in Asian Writing, Samsara Ideograms, Chinese Samsara symbols, Samsara Hieroglyphics, Samsara Glyphs, Samsara in Chinese Letters, Samsara Hanzi, Samsara in Japanese Kanji, Samsara Pictograms, Samsara in the Chinese Written-Language, or Samsara in the Japanese Written-Language.

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