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The name Zen Meditation in Chinese / Japanese...

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Personalize your custom “Zen Meditation” project by clicking the button next to your favorite “Zen Meditation” title below...


  1. Content and Motionless

  2. Appreciation of Truth by Meditation

  3. Koan

  4. Inner Bliss and Peace from Meditation

  5. Ken Zen Ichi Nyo

  6. Meditation

  7. Sit in Meditation

  8. Truth Flashed Through The Mind

  9. Zen Contemplation

10. Zen Garden

11. Zen Understanding

12. Zen / Chan / Meditation

13. Zendo / The Zen Way

14. Zen Heart / Zen Mind

15. Zen Do Kai / Zendokai


Content and Motionless

The condition of perfect meditation

 an juu fu dou
Content and Motionless Scroll

安住不動 means at peace and immovable.

The first two Kanji mean being content with one's present position or well-composed.
The last two Kanji mean immobile, firmness, fixed, and/or motionless.

In the Zen school, this is being well-composed and immovable - the ideal state of Zen meditation.

Appreciation of Truth by Meditation

 xīn yìn
 shin nin
Appreciation of Truth by Meditation Scroll

心印 is a Buddhist concept that simply stated is “appreciation of truth by meditation.”

It's a deep subject, but my understanding is that you can find truth through meditation, and once you've found the truth, you can learn to appreciate it more through further meditation. This title is not commonly used outside of the Buddhist community (your Asian friends may or may not understand it). The literal translation would be something like “the mind seal,” I've seen this term translated this way from Japanese Buddhist poetry. But apparently, the seal that is stamped deep in your mind is the truth. You just have to meditate to find it.

Soothill defines it this way: Mental impression, intuitive certainty; the mind is the Buddha-mind in all, which can seal or assure the truth; the term indicates the intuitive method of the Chan (Zen) school, which was independent of the spoken or written word.


Reference: Soothill-Hodous Dictionary of Chinese Buddhism


See Also:  Zen

 gōng àn
 kouan
Koan Scroll

In the Buddhist context, 公案 is a Zen question for meditation.

From the Buddhist dictionary, this is:
Problems set by Zen masters, upon which thought is concentrated as a means to attain inner unity and illumination.

The secular meaning of this word can mean a judge's desk, a complex legal case, a contentious issue, a dossier, a case record, public laws, regulations, or case law.

Inner Bliss and Peace from Meditation

 chán yuè
Inner Bliss and Peace from Meditation Scroll

禪悅 is a title that refers to the inner bliss and peace you can achieve from meditation.

This term transcends a few religions, including Taoism and Buddhism. It can also be translated as “joy of the mystic trance” or simply “meditative bliss.”

Amazing that such a complex idea can be expressed in just two Chinese characters. Note that the first character is Chan/Zen (Chinese/Japanese), which means “meditation” in both languages.

Ken Zen Ichi Nyo

 ken zen ichi nyo
Ken Zen Ichi Nyo Scroll

拳禪一如 is a Japanese phrase that is often translated as “train both body and spirit.”

Here's the breakdown of the words in this phrase:
拳 means fist.
禅 is zen, which means meditation.
一如 is a word that means “to be just like,” “oneness,” “true nature,” or “true character.”

So to get to the translation of “train both body and spirit,” you must understand that “fist” is representing “body” and the idea of meditation is representing “mind.”

I have to say, this is not how I would translate this. To me, it's really about training with your mind and remembering that meditation is a huge part of training, not just your fist. As the Shaolin Buddhist monks show us, meditation is just as important as physical training in martial arts.

 míng xiǎng
 mei sou
Meditation Scroll

This encompasses the idea of meditation.

It's also a term used to describe a deep form of daydreaming, exploring one's imagination, the act of contemplating, or the idea of contemplation. 冥想 is often associated with Buddhism; however, the word “Zen” in Japanese (or “Chan” in Chinese) is probably more commonly used (or better known in the west).


See Also:  Zen

Sit in Meditation

Zazen

 zuò chán
 za zen
Sit in Meditation Scroll

坐禪 describes the act of sitting in a state of deep meditation.

You'll notice that the second character is Chan/Zen (often used to title the meditative form of Buddhism).

In Korean Hanja, this means “religious meditation” (roughly the same as the Chinese definition).

Buddhists may define this as sitting in dhyāna, abstract meditation, fixed abstraction, or contemplation.


座禅Japanese note: This will make sense in Japanese but the Kanji shown to the left are partially in ancient/traditional Japanese form. Japanese Buddhists may use 坐禪, 坐禅, 座禪, or 座禅. The most standard/modern Japanese form of this word is shown to the right. Click on the Kanji to the right (instead of the button above) if you want this specifically Japanese version.

Truth Flashed Through The Mind

 cān wù
Truth Flashed Through The Mind Scroll

參悟 is a Chan / Zen Buddhism concept that means “to understand (mystery) from meditation” or “to see truth flash through the mind.”

參悟 is a pretty deep idea; therefore, your study and contemplation may be required before fully appreciating it.

Zen Contemplation

 rù dìng
Zen Contemplation Scroll

入定 is a title that can be defined as Zen contemplation in Japanese or sitting quietly in (Buddhist) meditation in Chinese. It also carries a similar meaning in Korean Hanja. Therefore, this is a universal term for meditation in the context of Buddhism throughout the Orient.

Can also be translated as “Meditatively equipoised” or “enter into meditation by stilling the karmic activities of deed, speech, and thought.”

The original Sanskrit word is samapanna. In Tibetan: snyoms par zhugs pa.

 chán yuán
 zen sono
Zen Garden Scroll

禪園 literally means “meditation garden.”

The first character happens to be known as Zen in the west (the pronunciation comes from Japanese) but this title is not often used in Japan (won't be recognized as a Japanese title).

The title “Zen Garden” was made up by westerners I'm afraid.

Zen Understanding

 cān chán
Zen Understanding Scroll

參禪 is a title that speaks of reaching an understanding (of Zen or the world). It also means “to practice meditation.” The two concepts lead you to the idea that meditation leads to understanding. 參禪 is pretty deep, so you can do your research or decide what this means for you.

This can also be defined in a more complex way as “thoroughly penetrating with meditative insight.”

Zen / Chan / Meditation

...as in Zen Buddhism

 chán
 zen
 
Zen / Chan / Meditation Scroll

First, let's correct something: The Japanese romanization for this character, “Zen” has penetrated the English language. In English, it's almost always incorrectly used for phrases like “That's so zen.” Nobody says, “That's so meditation” - right? As the title of a sect, this would be like saying, “That's so Baptist!"

禪 by itself just means “meditation.” In that context, it should not be confined to use by any one religion or sect.

Regardless of the dictionary definition, more often than not, this character is associated with Buddhism. And here is one of the main reasons:
Zen is used as the title of a branch of Mahayana Buddhism, which strongly emphasizes meditation practice.
However, it should be noted that Buddhism came from India, and “Chan Buddhism” evolved and developed in medieval China. The Chinese character “Chan” was eventually pronounced as “Zen” in Japanese. Chan Buddhists in China have much in common with Zen Buddhists in Japan.

More about the history of Zen Buddhism here.

Please also note that the Japanese Kanji character for Zen has evolved a little in Japan, and the two boxes (kou) that you see at the top of the right side of the character have been replaced by three dots with tails. Japanese Zen Kanji The original character would still be generally understood and recognized in Japanese (it's considered an ancient version in Japan) but if you want the specifically modern Japanese version, please click on the zen Kanji to the right. Technically, there is no difference between the Tensho and Reisho versions of Zen since they are ancient character styles that existed long before Japan had a written language.

Chinese Zen/Chan CharacterThere is also an alternate/shorthand/simplified Chinese version, which has two dots or tails above the right-side radical. This version is also popular for calligraphy in China. If you want this version, just click the character to the right.


Further notes: Zen is just one of seven sects of Buddhism practiced in Japan. The others are 律 Ritsu (or Risshū), 法相 Hossō, 論 Sanron 華嚴 Kegon, 天台 Tendai, and 眞言 Shingon.

Zendo / The Zen Way

 chán dào
 zen dou
Zendo / The Zen Way Scroll

禪道 is a title used in certain contexts but is not widely known by the general population of China or Japan.

In Japanese, you will see this title romanized as “zendo,” which is the brand name of a board game, and also a title used by some martial arts studios and karate dojos. Oddly, many translate this as “zen fist,” although there is no “fist” in the title. If you literally translated this title, it would be “meditation way” or “meditation method.”

In Chinese, this would be “chan dao” with the same literal meaning as the Japanese title. It's used in China by just a handful of martial arts styles/studios.

You should only order this title if you really understand the meaning, and it has some personal connection to you (such as practicing a martial art style that uses this title, or if you love the board game Zendo). Many who see your wall scroll will not be familiar with this title, and you'll have some explaining to do.


禪The first character can also be written in a more complex traditional way as shown to the right. Let us know in the special instructions for your calligraphy project if you want this style.

禅If you order this from the Japanese master calligrapher, the first character will automatically be written with an extra dot on top. This is the variant form of the original Chinese character which is commonly used in modern Japan Kanji. See sample to the right.

Zen Heart / Zen Mind

 chán xīn
 zen shin
Zen Heart / Zen Mind Scroll

禪心 represents an image of your meditation coming from and filling your heart.

The meaning of the first character is “meditation” and the second character is usually defined as “heart” or sometimes “mind.”

There is a two-fold meaning here, as a good meditation session must start with a centered heart or mind. Yet at the same time, meditation serves to cleanse, focus, and center the heart and mind.

Zen Do Kai / Zendokai

 zen dou kai
Zen Do Kai / Zendokai Scroll

This is the martial arts title Zendokai.

The first two characters refer to Zen ascetic practices or Zen teachings. Noting that Zen or 禅 means meditation and Dou/Do or 道 means way.

Kai or 会 (originally written 會) in this context means society, association, or club.

Zendokai Karate beyond the normal fighting skills invites the practitioner to notice and observe their own body with mindfulness and self-awareness and can re-acquire and hone their genuine self.




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

Title CharactersRomaji (Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
Content and Motionless安住不動
安住不动
an juu fu dou
anjuufudou
an ju fu do
Appreciation of Truth by Meditation心印shin nin / shinninxīn yìn / xin1 yin4 / xin yin / xinyinhsin yin / hsinyin
Koan公案kouan / koangōng àn / gong1 an4 / gong an / gongankung an / kungan
Inner Bliss and Peace from Meditation禪悅
禅悦
chán yuè / chan2 yue4 / chan yue / chanyuech`an yüeh / chanyüeh / chan yüeh
Ken Zen Ichi Nyo拳禪一如
拳禅一如
ken zen ichi nyo
kenzenichinyo
Meditation冥想mei sou / meisou / mei somíng xiǎng
ming2 xiang3
ming xiang
mingxiang
ming hsiang
minghsiang
Sit in Meditation坐禪
坐禅
za zen / zazenzuò chán / zuo4 chan2 / zuo chan / zuochantso ch`an / tsochan / tso chan
Truth Flashed Through The Mind參悟
参悟
cān wù / can1 wu4 / can wu / canwuts`an wu / tsanwu / tsan wu
Zen Contemplation入定rù dìng / ru4 ding4 / ru ding / rudingju ting / juting
Zen Garden禪園
禅园
zen sono / zensonochán yuán
chan2 yuan2
chan yuan
chanyuan
ch`an yüan
chanyüan
chan yüan
Zen Understanding參禪
参禅
cān chán / can1 chan2 / can chan / canchants`an ch`an / tsanchan / tsan chan
Zen
Chan
Meditation

zenchán / chan2 / chanch`an / chan
Zendo
The Zen Way
禅道 / 禪道
禅道
zen dou / zendou / zen dochán dào / chan2 dao4 / chan dao / chandaoch`an tao / chantao / chan tao
Zen Heart
Zen Mind
禪心
禅心
zen shin / zenshinchán xīn / chan2 xin1 / chan xin / chanxinch`an hsin / chanhsin / chan hsin
Zen Do Kai
Zendokai
禅道会zen dou kai
zendoukai
zen do kai
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.


Dictionary

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A professional Chinese Calligrapher

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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.

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

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