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3. Sky / Void
This single character means empty, void, hollow, vacant, vacuum, blank, nonexistent, vacuity, voidness, emptiness, non-existence, immateriality, unreality, the false or illusory nature of all existence, being unreal.
In Buddhist context, this relates to the doctrine that all phenomena and the ego have no reality but are composed of a certain number of skandhas or elements, which disintegrate. The void, the sky, space. The universal, the absolute, complete abstraction without relativity. The doctrine further explains that all things are compounds, or unstable organisms, possessing no self-essence, i.e. are dependent, or caused, come into existence only to perish. The underlying reality, the principle of eternal relativity, or non-infinity, i.e. śūnya, permeates all phenomena making possible their evolution.
From Sanskrit and/or Pali, this is the translation to Chinese and Japanese of the title śūnya or śūnyatā.
In Japanese, when pronounced as "ron" (sounds like "roan") this can be a given name. It should be noted that this Kanji has about 5 different possible pronunciations in Japanese: kuu, kara, sora, ron, and uro. 空 is also an element in the Japanese version of the five elements.
虛空 means empty space, empty sky, or void.
In the Buddhist context, it can mean "emptiness of the material world". This can also be used as an adjective to modify other words with a meaning of unreal or insubstantial.
虛空 means void, hollow, empty, space, sky, atmosphere, heaven, or ether.
虛空 is the Chinese and Japanese version of the Sanskrit word ākāśa (or akasa / akash) which beyond the sky or space meaning can be the immaterial universe behind all phenomena in the Buddhist context.
According to Soothill 眞空妙有 means:
The true void is the mysteriously existing; truly void, or immaterial, yet transcendentally existing.
眞空妙有 is the state of being absolutely nonexistent after removing all errant worldly influences. 眞空妙有 is achieved when all forms of existence is seen for their real nature.
This is a complex Buddhist concept. Feel free to add to the conversation about this concept here: Asian Forum: Shinku Myou
空無 is "nothingness" in a Buddhist context.
The first character means empty but can also mean air or sky (air and sky have no form).
The second character means have not, no, none, not or to lack.
Together these characters reinforce each other into a word that means "absolute nothingness".
I know this is a term used in Buddhism but I have not yet figured out the context in which it is used. I suppose it can be the fact that Buddhists believe that the world in a non-real illusion, or perhaps it's about visualizing yourself as "nothing" and therefore leaving behind your desire and worldliness.
Buddhist concepts and titles often have this element of ambiguity or rather "mystery". Therefore, such ideas can have different meanings to different people, and that's okay. If you don't get it right in this lifetime, as there will be plenty more lifetimes to master it (whatever "it" is, and if "it" really exists at all).
Soothill defines this as "Unreality, or immateriality, of things, which is defined as nothing existing of independent or self-contained nature".
地水火風空 is the specifically-Japanese version of the five elements.
地水火風空 is a little different than the ancient or original Chinese version.
The elements are written in this order:
1. Earth / Terra / Ground
4. Wind / Air
5. Sky / Emptiness / Void / Ether
Note: This set of Kanji can also be romanized as "ji sui ka fuu kuu", "jisuikafuukuu", or "jisuikafuku".
These can also be written in the order 地火風水空 (chi ka sui fuu kuu). Let me know when you place your order if you want the Kanji to be in this character order.
無 is the simple way to express "nothing".
However, this single character leaves a bit of mystery as to what you might really mean if you hang it as a wall scroll. I'm not saying that's a bad thing; as you can decide what it means to you, and you won't be wrong if you stay within the general context.
More info: 無 is usually used as a suffix or prefix for Chinese and Japanese words (also old Korean). It can be compared to "un-" or "-less" in English. It can also mean "not to have", no, none, not, "to lack", or nothingness.
三諦 is a Buddhist term that means "threefold truth" or "three dogmas".
The three truths are:
1. All things are void (卽空).
2. All things are temporary (卽假).
3. All things are in the middle state between these two (卽中).
In Japanese, first Kanji means "self-effacing", "humble oneself", "condescend", "be modest". The second means "void" or "emptiness".
謙虚 is the most common way to say humble or modest in Japanese without a derogatory meaning (some other words suggest weakness but this version holds a better humble meaning).
See Also: Moderation
五大 is the Japanese title for the five elements.
In Japan, the five elements differ slightly from the original Chinese. Therefore, in Japanese philosophy you have: earth, water, fire, wind and void (space).
The meaning of the first character is 5, but the second character means great or large. Some translate this as the five majors. 大 is only understood to be "elements" when you have 五 in front of it.
In Buddhism, this can be short for 五大明王, or the five great and wise kings.
The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji (Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|空||kuu / kara / sora / ron|
ku / kara / sora / ron
ku / kara / sora / ron
|kōng / kong1 / kong||k`ung / kung|
|kokuu / koku||xū kōng / xu1 kong1 / xu kong / xukong||hsü k`ung / hsükung / hsü kung|
|kokū||xū kōng / xu1 kong1 / xu kong / xukong||hsü k`ung / hsükung / hsü kung|
|True Emptiness Yields Transcendent Existence||眞空妙有||shin kuu myou u|
shin ku myo u
|zhēn kōng miào yǒu|
zhen1 kong1 miao4 you3
zhen kong miao you
|chen k`ung miao yu
chen kung miao yu
|kuu mu / kuumu / ku mu / kumu||kōng wú / kong1 wu2 / kong wu / kongwu||k`ung wu / kungwu / kung wu|
|chi sui ka fuu kuu|
chi sui ka fu ku
|mu||wú / wu2 / wu|
|天空||ten kuu / tenkuu / ten ku / tenku||tiān kōng|
|The Three Truths||三諦|
|san dai / san tai|
sandai / santai
|sān dì / san1 di4 / san di / sandi||san ti / santi|
|謙虚||ken kyo / kenkyo||qiān xū / qian1 xu1 / qian xu / qianxu||ch`ien hsü / chienhsü / chien hsü|
|五大||godai||wǔ dà / wu3 da4 / wu da / wuda||wu ta / wuta|
|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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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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