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To Know Hardship One Must Experience It in Chinese / Japanese...

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To Know Hardship, One Must Experience It

China bù dāng hé shàng bù zhī tóu lěng
To Know Hardship, One Must Experience It Vertical Wall Scroll

This Chinese proverb literally translates as: [One who has] not been a monk [does] not know [the feeling of a] cold head.
I need to explain that a Chinese Buddhist monk always has a shaved head, and thus a cold head in winter.

Figuratively, this means: One cannot know the true meaning of hardship until one has experienced it oneself.


This is an idiom in Chinese, so the figurative meaning is what people perceive when they hear or read this phrase. Just as in English, when someone says, "The grass is always greener," one will think about the idea of jealousy, rather than the quality of one's lawn.

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To Know Hardship, One Must Experience It Vertical Wall Scroll
To Know Hardship, One Must Experience It Vertical Wall Scroll
To Know Hardship, One Must Experience It Vertical Wall Scroll


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

Title CharactersVarious forms of Romanized Chinese
To Know Hardship, One Must Experience It不當和尚不知頭冷
不当和尚不知头冷
bù dāng hé shàng bù zhī tóu lěng
bu4 dang1 he2 shang4 bu4 zhi1 tou2 leng3
bu dang he shang bu zhi tou leng
pu tang ho shang pu chih t`ou leng
pu tang ho shang pu chih tou leng
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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A nice Chinese calligraphy wall scroll

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.

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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