Spiritual Essence in Chinese / Japanese...

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Spirit / Spiritual Essence

shén
shin / kami
Spirit / Spiritual Essence Scroll

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.

Life Energy / Spiritual Energy

Chi Energy: Essence of Life / Energy Flow

ki
Life Energy / Spiritual Energy Scroll

This energy flow is a fundamental concept of traditional Asian culture.

氣 is romanized as "Qi" or "Chi" in Chinese, "Gi" in Korean, and "Ki" in Japanese.
Chi is believed to be part of everything that exists, as in "life force" or "spiritual energy". It is most often translated as "energy flow", or literally as "air" or "breath". Some people will simply translate this as "spirit" but you have to take into consideration the kind of spirit we're talking about. I think this is weighted more toward energy than spirit.

The character itself is a representation of steam (or breath) rising from rice. To clarify, the character for rice looks like this: 米
Steam was apparently seen as visual evidence of the release of "life energy" when this concept was first developed. The Qi / Chi / Ki character is still used in compound words to mean steam or vapor.
The etymology of this character is a bit complicated. It's suggested that the first form of this character from bronze script (about 2500 years ago) looked like these samples: 氣氣
However, it was easy to confuse this with the character for the number three. So the rice radical was added by 221 B.C. (the exact time of this change is debated). This first version with the rice radical looks like this: 氣
The idea of Qi / Chi / Ki is really a philosophical concept. It's often used to refer to the "flow" of metaphysical energy that sustains living beings. Yet there is much debate that has continued for thousands of years as to whether Qi / Chi / Ki is pure energy, or consists partially, or fully of matter.

You can also see the character for Qi / Chi / Ki in common compound words such as Tai Chi / Tai Qi, Aikido, Reiki and Qi Gong / Chi Kung.

In the modern Japanese Kanji, the rice radical has been changed into two strokes that form an X.

気 The original and traditional Chinese form is still understood in Japanese but we can also offer that modern Kanji form in our custom calligraphy. If you want this Japanese Kanji, please click on the character to the right, instead of the “Select and Customize” button above.


More language notes: This is pronounced like “chee” in Mandarin Chinese, and like “key” in Japanese.
This is also the same way to write this in Korean Hanja where it is Romanized as “gi” and pronounced like “gee” but with a real G-sound, not a J-sound.
Though Vietnamese no longer use Chinese characters in their daily language, this character is still widely known in Vietnam.


See Also:  Energy | Life Force | Vitality | Life | Birth | Soul




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Below are some entries from our dictionary that may match your spiritual essence search...

Characters

If shown, 2nd row is Simp. Chinese

Pronunciation
Romanization
Simple Dictionary Definition

精神

see styles
jīng shen
    jing1 shen5
ching shen
 seishin / seshin
    せいしん
Life Energy / Spiritual Energy Scroll
vigor; vitality; drive; spiritual
(1) mind; spirit; soul; heart; ethos; (2) attitude; mentality; will; intention; (3) spirit (of a matter); essence; fundamental significance; (given name) Seishin
Vitality; also the pure and spiritual, the subtle, or recondite.

三身

see styles
sān shēn
    san1 shen1
san shen
 sanjin; sanshin
    さんじん; さんしん
{Buddh} trikaya (three bodies of the Buddha); (surname) Sanmi
trikāya. 三寶身 The threefold body or nature of a Buddha, i.e. the 法, 報, and 化身, or dharmakāya, sambhogakāya, and nirmāṇakāya. The three are defined as 自性, 受用, and 變化, the Buddha-body per se, or in its essential nature; his body of bliss, which he "receives" for his own "use" and enjoyment; and his body of transformation, by which he can appear in any form; i.e. spiritual, or essential; glorified; revealed. While the doctrine of the trikāya is a Mahāyāna concept, it partly results from the Hīnayāna idealization of the earthly Buddha with his thirty-two signs, eighty physical marks, clairvoyance, clairaudience, holiness, purity, wisdom, pity, etc. Mahāyāna, however, proceeded to conceive of Buddha as the Universal, the All, with infinity of forms, yet above all our concepts of unity or diversity. To every Buddha Mahāyāna attributed a three-fold body: that of essential Buddha; that of joy or enjoyment of the fruits of his past saving labours; that of power to transform himself at will to any shape for omnipresent salvation of those who need him. The trinity finds different methods of expression, e.g. Vairocana is entitled 法身, the embodiment of the Law, shining everywhere, enlightening all; Locana is 報身; c.f. 三賓, the embodiment of purity and bliss; Śākyamuni is 化身 or Buddha revealed. In the esoteric sect they are 法 Vairocana, 報 Amitābha, and 化 Śākyamuni. The 三賓 are also 法 dharma, 報 saṅgha, 化 buddha. Nevertheless, the three are considered as a trinity, the three being essentially one, each in the other. (1) 法身 Dharmakāya in its earliest conception was that of the body of the dharma, or truth, as preached by Śākyamuni; later it became his mind or soul in contrast with his material body. In Mādhyamika, the dharmakāya was the only reality, i.e. the void, or the immateria1, the ground of all phenomena; in other words, the 眞如 the tathāgatagarbha, the bhūtatathatā. According to the Huayan (Kegon) School it is the 理or noumenon, while the other two are氣or phenomenal aspects. "For the Vijñānavāda... the body of the law as highest reality is the void intelligence, whose infection (saṃkleҫa) results in the process of birth and death, whilst its purification brings about Nirvāṇa, or its restoration to its primitive transparence" (Keith). The "body of the law is the true reality of everything". Nevertheless, in Mahāyāna every Buddha has his own 法身; e.g. in the dharmakāya aspect we have the designation Amitābha, who in his saṃbhogakāya aspect is styled Amitāyus. (2) 報身Sambhogakāya, a Buddha's reward body, or body of enjoyment of the merits he attained as a bodhisattva; in other words, a Buddha in glory in his heaven. This is the form of Buddha as an object of worship. It is defined in two aspects, (a) 自受用身 for his own bliss, and (b) 他受用身 for the sake of others, revealing himself in his glory to bodhisattvas, enlightening and inspiring them. By wisdom a Buddha's dharmakāya is attained, by bodhisattva-merits his saṃbhogakāya. Not only has every Buddha all the three bodies or aspects, but as all men are of the same essence, or nature, as Buddhas, they are therefore potential Buddhas and are in and of the trikāya. Moreover, trikāya is not divided, for a Buddha in his 化身 is still one with his 法身 and 報身, all three bodies being co-existent. (3) 化身; 應身; 應化身 nirmāṇakāya, a Buddha's transformation, or miraculous body, in which he appears at will and in any form outside his heaven, e.g. as Śākyamuni among men; three bodies [of the Buddha]

法身

see styles
fǎ shēn
    fa3 shen1
fa shen
 hosshin; houshin / hosshin; hoshin
    ほっしん; ほうしん
{Buddh} (See 三身) dharmakaya (dharma body, Buddhism's highest form of existence); (surname) Hotsushin
dharmakāya, embodiment of Truth and Law, the "spiritual" or true body; essential Buddhahood; the essence of being; the absolute, the norm of the universe; the first of the trikāya, v.三身. The dharmakāya is divided into 總 unity and 別 diversity; as in the noumenal absolute and phenomenal activities, or potential and dynamic; but there are differences of interpretation, e.g. as between the 法相 and 法性 schools. Cf. 法身體性. There are many categories of the dharmakāya. In the 2 group 二法身 are five kinds: (1) 理 "substance" and 智 wisdom or expression; (2) 法性法身 essential nature and 應化法身 manifestation; the other three couples are similar. In the 3 group 三法身 are (1) the manifested Buddha, i.e. Śākyamuni; (2) the power of his teaching, etc.; (3) the absolute or ultimate reality. There are other categories; dharma-body

無神我


无神我

see styles
wú shén wǒ
    wu2 shen2 wo3
wu shen wo
 mu jinga
no spiritual essence; no soul; no spiritual essence; no soul

胎藏界

see styles
tāi zàng jiè
    tai1 zang4 jie4
t`ai tsang chieh
    tai tsang chieh
 taizō kai
Garbhadhātu, or Garbhakośa-(dhātu), the womb treasury, the universal source from which all things are produced; the matrix; the embryo; likened to a womb in which all of a child is conceived— its body, mind, etc. It is container and content; it covers and nourishes; and is the source of all supply. It represents the 理性 fundamental nature, both material elements and pure bodhi, or wisdom in essence or purity; 理 being the garbhadhātu as fundamental wisdom, and 智 acquired wisdom or knowledge, the vajradhātu. It also represents the human heart in its innocence or pristine purity, which is considered as the source of all Buddha-pity and moral knowledge. And it indicates that from the central being in the maṇḍala, viz. the Sun as symbol of Vairocana, there issue all the other manifestations of wisdom and power, Buddhas, bodhisattvas, demons, etc. It is 本覺 original intellect, or the static intellectuality, in contrast with 始覺 intellection, the initial or dynamic intellectuality represented in the vajradhātu; hence it is the 因 cause and vajradhātu the 果 effect; though as both are a unity, the reverse may be the rule, the effect being also the cause; it is also likened to 利他 enriching others, as vajradhātu is to 自利 enriching self. Kōbō Daishi, founder of the Yoga or Shingon 眞言 School in Japan, adopted the representation of the ideas in maṇḍalas, or diagrams, as the best way of revealing the mystic doctrine to the ignorant. The garbhadhātu is the womb or treasury of all things, the universe; the 理 fundamental principle, the source; its symbols are a triangle on its base, and an open lotus as representing the sun and Vairocana. In Japan this maṇḍala is placed on the east, typifying the rising sun as source, or 理. The vajradhātu is placed west and represents 智 wisdom or knowledge as derived from 理 the underlying principle, but the two are essential one to the other, neither existing apart. The material and spiritual; wisdom-source and intelligence; essence and substance; and similar complementary ideas are thus portrayed; the garbhadhātu may be generally considered as the static and the vajradhātu as the dynamic categories, which are nevertheless a unity. The garbhadhātu is divided into 三部 three sections representing samādhi or quiescence, wisdom-store, and pity-store, or thought, knowledge, pity; one is called the Buddha-section, the others the Vajra and Lotus sections respectively; the three also typify vimokṣa, prajñā, and dharmakāya, or freedom, understanding, and spirituality. There are three heads of these sections, i. e. Vairocana, Vajrapāṇi, and Avalokiteśvara; each has a mother or source, e. g. Vairocana from Buddha's-eye; and each has a 明王 or emanation of protection against evil; also a śakti or female energy; a germ-letter, etc. The diagram of five Buddhas contains also four bodhisattvas, making nine in all, and there are altogether thirteen 大院 or great courts of various types of ideas, of varying numbers, generally spoken of as 414. Cf. 金剛界; 大日; 兩部; womb-container world

生佛一如

see styles
shēng fó yī rú
    sheng1 fo2 yi1 ru2
sheng fo i ju
 shōbutsu ichinyo
生佛一體; 生佛不二; 凡聖一如 The living and the Buddha are one, i. e. all are the one undivided whole, or absolute; they are all of the same substance: all are Buddha, and of the same 法身 dharmakāya, or spiritual nature; all are of the same 空 infinity; sentient beings and buddha are of the same essence

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

Title CharactersRomaji (Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
Spirit
Spiritual Essence
shin / kamishén / shen2 / shen
Life Energy
Spiritual Energy

气 / 気
kiqì / qi4 / qich`i / chi
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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Life Energy / Spiritual Energy Scroll
Life Energy / Spiritual Energy Scroll
Life Energy / Spiritual Energy Scroll
Life Energy / Spiritual Energy Scroll


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Life Energy / Spiritual Energy Vertical Portrait
Dictionary

Lookup Spiritual Essence in my Japanese & Chinese Dictionary


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A nice Chinese calligraphy wall scroll

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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

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.


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