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13. Mind Body Spirit
18. Soul / Spirit
19. Beautiful Soul
23. Inner Peace
24. Lingering Mind
25. Morality of Mind
靈 is spirit or soul in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
If you look in the dictionary, you'll also find definitions for this character like:
quick; alert; efficacious; effective; departed soul; coffin; spiritual; energy; effective; clever.
神 is the simplest way to write spirit in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean.
This single character alone will conjure up ideas of the spiritual world. 神 can also be translated as “vital awareness” as in the fact that one must know they exist to exist (I think, therefore, I am).
Other translations include:
God, deity, mysterious, divine essence, lively, spiritual being, divinity, supernatural, soul, mind, nerves, and energy. In some extended context, it can mean genius or unusual.
Japanese romanizations vary a lot when this character is combined into other words. However, shin is the original pronunciation taken from Chinese into Japanese. You'll also see it romanized as kami, gami, jin, and a few others, depending on context.
魂魄 is a Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja term for ghost, soul, or spirit.
It's used in the context of Buddhism as:
Animus and anima; the spiritual nature or mind, and the animal soul; the two are defined as mind and body or mental and physical, the invisible soul inhabiting the visible body, the former being celestial, the latter terrestrial.
龍馬精神 is an old proverb that is used to wish someone good health and success combined as a great compliment.
The meaning is “The vigor and spirit of the legendary dragon-horse.” These four characters are often accompanied by four more which mean “...and the power and prestige of the tiger.” Here we are just offering the first part which is considered the short version.
By giving a wall scroll like this to someone, you were either wishing or telling them that they have an amazing quality. There is also a suggestion of good health - at least anyone with the vigor of a dragon horse would seem to also be in good health.
Note: In Japanese, this would be read as the spirit of 坂本龍馬 (Sakamoto_Ryōma), a beloved rebel who help abolish the old Japanese feudal system. This can be confusing, so I am declaring this proverb to be Chinese only.
龍馬精神虎虎生威 is an old proverb that is used to wish someone great health and success combined as a great compliment.
The meaning is “The vigor and spirit of the legendary dragon-horse and the power and prestige of the tiger.”
By giving a wall scroll like this to someone, you were either wishing or telling them that they have these qualities. There is also a suggestion of good health - at least anyone with the vigor of a dragon horse would seem to also be in good health.
龍神 is a Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja title that can mean “dragon god,” “dragon king,” or “dragon spirit.”
In the context of Buddhism, this is one of eight kinds of spiritual beings found in Mahāyāna texts.
龍虎精神 means the spirit of the dragon and tiger.
It speaks to the vitality and vigor that is the nature of these two creatures.
Beyond “spirit,” the last two characters can also mean mind, soul, or heart. Therefore, you can also say this means “Heart of the Dragon and Tiger,” etc.
龍虎精神 is often titled “Ryukoseishin” in many Japanese martial arts.
心 would often be translated as “heart.”
However, because it was believed in Chinese culture for thousands of years that your consciousness and thoughts came from the big red organ in the middle of your chest, it also means “mind” or “spirit” and sometimes even “soul.”
In Korean, beyond heart, mind, and spirit, this character can mean moral, nature, mind, affections, intentions, core, and center. In fact, it is used in Chinese to mean “center” as well but only with another character in front of it. For instance, “medical center” or even “shopping center.” Separately and alone, it will not be read with that “center” meaning unless thought of as “the center of your soul.”
獨立心 means independent spirit or independent heart in Japanese.
The first two characters mean independent or independence. The third character means spirit, heart, or mind.
獨立心 is a Japanese term, although Chinese people could guess the meaning (the characters make sense individually in Chinese but are not often used this way). Also, the first character would be written 獨 in Traditional Chinese versus 独 which is the Simplified Chinese and modern Japanese version.
身心靈 is probably the best way to express the idea of “Body, Mind, and Spirit” in Chinese and old Korean Hanja. We are actually using the word “heart” here because, for thousands of years, the heart was thought to be the place where your thoughts, feelings, and emotions came from. We do something similar in the west when we say “warm-hearted” or “I love you with all of my heart.” In this context, heart = mind in Asian language and culture.
The very literal translation of these three characters is “body, heart & spirit,” which could also be interpreted as “body, mind & soul.”
We have arranged these characters in this order because it simply “feels” like the proper order in the Chinese language. Word lists like this are not so common for calligraphy artwork, so we must be careful to put them in the most natural order. It should be noted that this is not a common title in Asia, nor is it considered an actual phrase (as it lacks a clear subject, verb, and object).
In Japanese Kanji, they use an alternate form of the character for soul or spirit. If you want this using the Japanese alternate, please click on the Kanji shown to the right instead of the button above.
Japanese disclaimer: This is not a natural phrase/list in Japanese. While not totally-natural in Chinese, this word list is best if your audience is Chinese.
A Japanese martial arts title/concept
The first Kanji alone means to wash, bathe, primness, cleanse or purify.
The second Kanji means heart, mind, soul, or essence.
Together, these two Kanji create a word defined as “purified spirit” or “enlightened attitude” within Japanese martial arts.
洗心 is one of the five spirits of the warrior (budo) and is often used as a Japanese martial arts tenet. Under that context, it's often defined as a spirit that protects and harmonizes the universe. Senshin is a spirit of compassion that embraces and serves all humanity and whose function is to reconcile discord in the world. It holds all life to be sacred. It is the Buddha mind.
This title will only be familiar to Japanese who practice certain martial arts. Others may not recognize this word at all.
洗心 does not show up as a word in too many Chinese dictionaries, but it can be read and has the same meaning in Chinese.
There is an issue with the first character. The original, and probably most correct version is shown above. However, many dojo documents and other sources have used a more simple first character. Arguments ensue about which version is correct. If you want to be correct in the Japanese language, use the "Select and Customize" button above. If you want to match the Kanji used by your dojo, click the Kanji shown to the right. There is a slightly different meaning with this first character which means before, ahead, previous, future, precedence.
勇士精神 can be translated as the warrior's spirit or warrior's soul. The first two characters can be translated as “warrior” or literally “brave soldier/man,” although some will translate this word as “hero.” Therefore, this is also how to say “heroic spirit.”
The second two characters mean vigor, vitality, drive, spirit, mind, heart, mental essence, and psychological component. Basically “your soul.”
We have two versions of this phrase. The only difference is the first two and last two characters are swapped. The version here suggests that you admire or like the idea of the spirit of a warrior. The other version suggests that you are the warrior or hero.
魂 means soul or spirit as in the immortal soul that can be detached from the body.
This can also refer to one's Yang energy or spirit.
In the Buddhist context, this can be the soul, conscious mind, or vijñāna.
初心 is often translated in Japanese as “beginner's mind” or “beginner's spirit.”
In Chinese, the dictionary definition is “one's original intention.”
The first character means first, initial, primary, junior, beginning, or basic.
The second character means heart, mind, soul, or essence.
初心 is one of the five spirits of the warrior (budo) and is often used as a Japanese martial arts tenet. Under that context, places such as the Budo Dojo define it this way: The state of shoshin is that of a beginners mind. It is a state of awareness that always remains fully conscious, aware, and prepared to see things for the first time. The attitude of shoshin is essential to continued learning.
專心 makes a word that means “paying attention with your heart.”
It's often translated as “dedication,” as in “be absorbed in” or “concentrate one's efforts.” It's also used to mean “with the single mind,” “whole-heartedly,” “paying attention,” “undivided attention,” “concentration (-ed),” “engrossed,” “devotionally (listening/watching),” and/or “attentive.”
The first character means “for a particular person, occasion, or purpose,” “focused on one single thing,” “concentrated,” and sometimes, “special.”
The second character means “heart” or “mind” by itself.
My favorite translation, which comes from the Oxford Advanced Chinese/English Dictionary, is, “wholehearted devotion.”
If it seems like the meaning of this word is quite open, you are correct. The context in which the word is used matters a lot. It can mean different things depending on how you use it. This makes it kind of nice as you can decide what this means to you (within some limits). This is always positive in meaning, so even if a Chinese person reads it differently than you, it will still have a good meaning.
In Japanese, they tend to use a variation of the second character which has one less stroke. If you want your calligraphy written this Japanese form, please click on the Kanji shown to the right instead of the button above. Note: Japanese and Chinese people will recognize either form.
熱心 literally means “warm-hearted” (can also mean warm-spirited or warm-souled).
This is one of a few ways to say Enthusiasm in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
熱心 is also used to express the ideas of earnestness or eagerness.
Can mean “zeal” in Japanese.
內心平靜 is a Chinese and Japanese phrase that is a direct translation of the western idea of inner peace.
The first two characters contain the idea of “heart,” “innermost being,” or “deep in the/your inner mind.”
The last two characters mean “tranquil” and “serene.”
I have seen this phrase used as “inner peace” for art prints and even on the side of coffee cups. But I think the translation is too literal. It feels like a direct translation from English rather than a nicely composed Chinese or Japanese phrase. See my other entries for “inner peace.”
First off, 殘心 should only be used in the context of Japanese martial arts. In Chinese, it's a rather sad title (like a broken heart). In Chinese, the first character alone means destroyed, spoiled, ruined, injured, cruel, oppressive, savage, incomplete, or disabled. However, in Japanese, it's remainder, leftover, balance, or lingering.
The second character means heart, mind, soul, or essence in both languages.
殘心 is one of the five spirits of the warrior (budo) and is often used as a Japanese martial arts tenet. Under that context, places such as the Budo Dojo define it this way: The spirit of zanshin is the state of the remaining or lingering spirit. It is often described as a sustained and heightened state of awareness and mental follow-through. However, true zanshin is a state of focus or concentration before, during, and after the execution of a technique, where a link or connection between uke and nage is preserved. Zanshin is the state of mind that allows us to stay spiritually connected, not only to a single attacker but to multiple attackers and even an entire context; a space, a time, an event.
In modern Japan (and Simplified Chinese), they use a different version of the first character, as seen to the right. Click on this character to the right instead of the button above if you want this modern Japanese version of lingering mind / zanshin.
The idea of 心德 or “morality of mind” goes along with 行德 or “wu de” (martial morality or virtues of the warrior).
Here, the first character is a representation of your heart or mind.
The second character refers to morality or virtue.
This can also be translated as “morality of heart,” “virtue of heart,” or “virtue of the mind.”
Since ancient times in Asia, the idea of your mind (where your soul resides and your thought originates) has been associated with the heart. Just as in western culture, where we say “it comes from the heart” or “heartfelt emotions,” there is a belief that your heart and mind are one and the same (medical science now begs to differ).
心道 means “The Way of the Heart” or “The Way of the Soul.” The first character means “heart” but can also mean soul, spirit, mind, or your essence. In this case, it is most accurately translated with the heart or soul meaning.
The second character is Dao as in Daoism. Please note, this is the same thing as Tao as in Taoism (just Romanized differently - it's always been the same in Chinese for about 2300 years.
精神勇士 can be translated as the spirit or soul of a warrior. The first two characters can be translated as vigor, vitality, drive, spirit, mind, heart, mental essence, and psychological component. Basically, “your soul.”
The second two characters mean “warrior” or literally “brave soldier/man,” although some will translate this word as “hero.” Therefore, this is also how to say “soul of a hero.”
Note: This title is best for Chinese and old Korean. It does make sense in Japanese but is not a common or natural Kanji combination in Japanese.
We have two versions of this phrase. The only difference is the first two and last two characters are swapped. The version here suggests that you are the warrior or hero. The other version suggests that you admire or like the idea of the spirit of a warrior.
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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|
|ryou / ryo||líng / ling2 / ling|
|神||shin / kami||shén / shen2 / shen|
|魂魄||kon paku / konpaku||hún pò / hun2 po4 / hun po / hunpo||hun p`o / hunpo / hun po|
|měi lì de xīn líng|
mei3 li4 de xin1 ling2
mei li de xin ling
|mei li te hsin ling
|Beautiful Spirit||美しい精神||utsukushi seishin|
|The Spirit of the Dragon Horse||龍馬精神|
|lóng mǎ jīng shén|
long2 ma3 jing1 shen2
long ma jing shen
|lung ma ching shen
|The Spirit of the Dragon Horse and Power of a Tiger||龍馬精神虎虎生威|
|lóng mǎ jīng shén hǔ hǔ shēng wēi|
long2 ma3 jing1 shen2 hu3 hu3 sheng1 wei1
long ma jing shen hu hu sheng wei
|lung ma ching shen hu hu sheng wei|
|ryuu jin / ryuujin / ryu jin||lóng shén|
|The Spirit of Dragon and Tiger||龍虎精神|
|ryu ko sei shin|
|lóng hǔ jīng shén|
long2 hu3 jing1 shen2
long hu jing shen
|lung hu ching shen
|心||kokoro||xīn / xin1 / xin||hsin|
Beauty of Spirit
|nèi zài měi|
nei4 zai4 mei3
nei zai mei
|nei tsai mei
Beauty of Spirit
|内面美||nai men bi / naimenbi|
|Mind Body Spirit||身心靈 / 身心霊|
|mi shin rei|
|shēn xīn líng|
shen1 xin1 ling2
shen xin ling
|shen hsin ling
|sen shin / senshin||xǐ xīn / xi3 xin1 / xi xin / xixin||hsi hsin / hsihsin|
|勇士精神||yǒng shì jīng shén|
yong3 shi4 jing1 shen2
yong shi jing shen
|yung shih ching shen
Spirit of a Fighter
|戦士魂||senshi damashii |
Soul of a Wolf
|狼魂||routama / ookami tamashii |
routama / ookamitamashii
rotama / okami tamashi
|láng hún / lang2 hun2 / lang hun / langhun|
|魂||tamashi / kon||hún / hun2 / hun|
|měi lì de líng hún|
mei3 li4 de ling2 hun2
mei li de ling hun
|mei li te ling hun
|Beautiful Soul||美しい魂||utsukushii tamashii|
|Beautiful Soul||美魂||bi tamashi / bitamashi|
|Mind of the Beginner||初心||sho shin / shoshin||chū xīn / chu1 xin1 / chu xin / chuxin||ch`u hsin / chuhsin / chu hsin|
|專心 / 専心 / 耑心|
|sen shin / senshin||zhuān xīn|
|nesshin / neshin||rè xīn / re4 xin1 / re xin / rexin||je hsin / jehsin|
|nèi xīn píng jìng|
nei4 xin1 ping2 jing4
nei xin ping jing
|nei hsin p`ing ching
nei hsin ping ching
|zan shin / zanshin||cán xīn / can2 xin1 / can xin / canxin||ts`an hsin / tsanhsin / tsan hsin|
|Morality of Mind||心德||xīn dé / xin1 de2 / xin de / xinde||hsin te / hsinte|
Dao of the Heart
|心道||xīn dào / xin1 dao4 / xin dao / xindao||hsin tao / hsintao|
|Soul of a Warrior||精神勇士||jīng shén yǒng shì|
jing1 shen2 yong3 shi4
jing shen yong shi
|ching shen yung shih
|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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