Buy a wall scroll with Experience is the Mother of Wisdom characters written on it...
See also our Wisdom Page
17. Omoi / Desire
19. No Pain No Gain
21. Great Wisdom
This literally translates as: Only after you have a baby, you would appreciate your parents (feel the way they do, etc).
This is a bit like the "walk a mile in another man's shoes" saying. Basically, it's about you cannot fully understand the plight of others until you experience it yourself. It also shows appreciation for the plight of parents.
This Japanese proverb can also be translated a few more ways:
No man knows what he owes to his parents till he comes to have children of his own.
One knows not what one owes to one's parents till one comes to have children of one's own.
Only after you have a baby, you will appreciate your parents or feel the way they do.
Only after becoming a parent yourself do you realize how much you owe [how indebted you are] to your own parents.
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
This literally means, "bird wounded by an arrow".
Figuratively, this refers to a wounded or damaged person. It's very similar to the western proverb, "a person once bitten is twice shy". To explain further, this is about someone who has become overly cautious due to a bad experience.
This phrase is used in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
This Chinese proverb literally translates as: [Even a general who has won a] hundred victories [may be] hard put to see through the enemy's [strategy], [but one who has] broken [his] arm three [times] [will] be a good doctor.
Figuratively, this means: One cannot always depend on past successes to guarantee future success but one can always learn from lessons drawn from failure.
It's been said that wisdom comes from good judgment, and good judgment comes from experience, while experience comes from a series of times when you used bad judgment.
This Chinese proverb makes the simplest connection between experience and wisdom.
This Japanese proverb means exactly what you think.
Every failure that you experience is a chance to learn from it and find success.
Knowing what does not work is just as important as finding out what does work.
Note: This is the Japanese version of an ancient Chinese proverb.
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
See Also: Experience is the Mother of Wisdom
Part of life in this universe is suffering.
All living things experience some form of suffering according to Buddhist teaching. This title is about accepting and understanding that the world is full of suffering.
This term is exclusively used by devout Buddhists. It is not a common term, and is remains an unknown concept to most Chinese, Japanese and Korean people.
上帝 is how Chinese Christians and Jews refer to God, AKA The Judeo-Christian God.
Yes, there are Chinese Jews whose ancestry dates back to Jewish traders on the silk road. They are known as the Kaifeng Jews. Most have left China for Israel now.
There are also plenty of Christians in China of both the Protestant and Catholic variety. However, the churches are basically run by the government, and the Chinese Catholic church does not recognize the Pope.
Oddly, in my experience, I found the Chinese Protestant church to be much less political compared to Baptist and other Protestant churches that I have visited in America.
上帝 is also the typically-used title for God in Japanese.
While you may find this term in old Korean dictionaries, it is an obscure, and rarely-used title for God in modern Korean.
In short, kansei engineering involves collecting data on human experiences with a product, and then designing or engineering improvements based on those experiences or "senses". Some may define this as "engineering around the human experience".
There is a lot more to know about kansei but if you are looking for this word, you probably already know the big picture.
Note: This term is very new in China, and only used by businesses, factories, and engineers that are implementing TQM principles. While the characters have the same base meaning in both languages, this is really a Japanese title that is flowing back into the Chinese language (in history, most things flowed from China to Japan). To a Chinese person that is not familiar with this concept, they may interpret this as "sense vocational studies", which doesn't make much sense. You may have to explain the intended meaning to some Chinese viewers. But that can make it a great conversation piece.
感性工學 is also a newer term in Korean, and is only used in certain parts of industry, with the definition of "Sensory Engineering". Not yet in widespread use in Korea.
See Also: Kaizen
Generally the same meaning as Satori but referring to the initial state or initial experience of enlightenment. 見性 is a Zen Buddhist term that is not widely known outside of the religion. Used more in Japan than China.
This term is exclusively used by devout Buddhists. It is not a common term, and is remains an unknown concept to most Japanese and Chinese people. Some Japanese people will dispute whether this title is valid in the Japanese language. Only order this if you are sure this title is right for you.
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.
This Chinese proverb suggests looking at the circumstances and toils of those you proceeded before you, and learning from their experience.
This more literally means, "the cart in front overturns, a warning to the following cart".
前車之覆后車之鑒 is figuratively translated as, "draw lesson from the failure of one's predecessor", "learn from past mistakes", or compared to the English idiom, "once bitten twice shy".
Other more-direct translations:
Make the overturning of the chariot in front a warning for the chariot behind.
Learn caution through an unpleasant experience.
The wrecked coach in front should be a warning.
The overturned cart in front serves as a warning to the carts behind.
This Chinese proverb means, "fellow sufferers empathize with each other" or to match it with a western idiom, "misery loves company". 同病相憐 is also somewhat known in Korean Hanja.
This could be two people who were just dumped by a girlfriend/boyfriend or just divorced. They're drawn together either by their misery, or because of the need to share their miserable experience with someone else.
同病相憐 is probably the saddest proverb in our collection.
Literally the characters mean:
同 together with
病 illness, sickness, disease (in this case, just the mental anguish after some kind of event or life issue)
相 mutual, reciprocal, each other
憐 pity, sympathize
In Japanese, this is written with two extra Hiragana on the end like this: 同病相憐れむ
If you want the Japanese version, don’t use the button above but click here instead: Misery Loves Company in Japanese
This literally translates as:
[One who has] not been a monk [does not] know the suffering of [being on a] vegetarian diet.
不當和尚不知齋戒苦 is a bit like the "walk a mile in another man's shoes" saying. Basically it's about you cannot fully understand the plight of others until you experience it yourself.
母 is a way to say mother in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
This can also be an honorary title for an elderly female relative.
Sometimes this can refer to the origin or source of something. Examples: A spring might be the mother of a river, or experience could be the mother of success.
溫故知新 is a proverb from Confucius that is used in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cultures.
It can be translated several ways:
Coming up with new ideas based on things learned in the past.
Examine things of the past, and obtain the new knowledge.
Developing new ideas based on the study of the past.
Gain new insights through restudying old issues.
Understand the present by reviewing the past.
Learning from the past.
Review the old and know the new.
Taking a lesson from the past.
Taking a lesson from the wisdom of the ancients.
Follow the old ways.
The direct translation would be, "By asking old things know new things".
The Character meanings breakdown this way:
溫故 = ask old
知新 = know new
Explained: To learn new things that are outside of your experience, you can learn from old things of the past. You can find wisdom from history.
Note: Japanese use a variant of the first Kanji in modern times.
Therefore if you order this from a Japanese calligrapher, expect the first Kanji to look like 温 instead of 溫.
In addition to 温故知新 as mentioned above, this is sometimes written as 温古知新 in Japan.
The most literal translation to English of this ancient Chinese proverb is:
"Past events not forgotten serve as teachers for later events".
However, it's been translated several ways:
Don't forget past events, they can guide you in future.
Benefit from past experience.
Past experience, if not forgotten, is a guide for the future.
Past calamity is my teacher.
A good memory for the past is a teacher for the future.
The remembrance of the past is the teacher of the future.
If one remembers the lessons of the past; They will serve as a guide to avoid mistakes in the future.
This proverb comes from the 5th century B.C. just before the Warring States Period in the territory now known as China.
The head of the State of Jin, Zhi Bo, seized power in a coup. He did this with help from the armies of the State of Han and Wei. Instead of being grateful for the help from Han and Wei, he treacherously took the land of Han and Wei. Never satisfied, Zhi Bo employed the armies of Han and Wei to attack and seize the State of Zhao.
The king of Zhao took advice from his minister Zhang Mengtan and secretly contacted the Han and Wei armies to reverse their plans and attack the army of Zhi Bo instead. The plan was successful, and the State of Zhao was not only saved but was set to become a powerful kingdom in the region.
Zhang Mengtan immediately submitted his resignation to a confused king of Zhao. When asked why, Zhang Mengtan said, "I've done my duty to save my kingdom but looking back at past experience, I know sovereign kings are never satisfied with the power or land at hand. They will join others and fight for more power and more land. I must learn from past experiences, as those experiences are the teachers of future events".
The king could not dispute the logic in that statement and accepted Zhang Mengtan's resignation.
For generations, the State of Zhao continued to fight for power and land until finally being defeated and decimated by the State of Qin (which lead to the birth of the Qin Dynasty in 221 B.C.).
般若 means great wisdom or wondrous knowledge.
In the Buddhist context, this is prajna or prajñā, to know, to understand, to have the wisdom required to attain enlightenment.
Since this is a wisdom which transcends the realm of logic, the pure, absolute wisdom beyond the reach of words and concepts, it is not obtained through learning, but is realized for the first time through a religious experience.
This Chinese character means to read. It can also refer to observing (the world, and learning from it), or gaining life experiences. 閱 is a good character to relay the idea of being "well read", which can include reading books, studying, and learning through experience.
The dictionary definition also includes: to inspect; to review; to peruse; to go through; to experience.
Technically, this is also a Japanese Kanji but it only used by some Japanese Buddhists (most of the population will not recognize it).
In both Chinese and Japanese Buddhism, this means: Examine, inspect, look over.
This is a lifelong suggestion for expanding your horizons by gaining knowledge, experience, and seeing the world.
Of course, this was written long ago when it was hard to travel 10,000 miles (at least 1000 years before the invention of the airplane).
With air travel and the business I'm in, I often achieve that lifetime goal on a monthly basis.
However, I am a little behind in the book count.
Note: An ancient Chinese mile (里 or lǐ) referred to in this proverb is about a third of a British/American mile. However, at that time, this was a great distance to travel.
仁妮 is a name Renni in Mandarin Chinese. The name literally means "benevolent girl" in Chinese.
I kind of made up this name when my second daughter was born. The idea came for a feeling I got after performing a benevolent act for a poor family in Southern China. I want my daughter to follow that mode, and experience the same feeling one can only experience by doing benevolent acts.
絕處逢生 is a Chinese proverb/idiom that talks of coming back from death's door, or an unexpected rescue from danger.
Figuratively, this can be to recover from a seemingly impossible situation, or to find a way out of a predicament.
If you have survived from a near-death experience, or serious illness, this might be an appropriate wall scroll for you.
心技体 is the Japanese title "shin gi tai" or "shingitai".
This can refer to the three elements of Sumo wrestlers or martial artists, "heart-technique-physique".
Here is what each character represents:
心 (shin) mind, heart and spirit.
技 (gi) skill, knowledge and experience.
体 (ti) body and physical effort.
心技体 have the same meanings in Chinese, though this title is used much more often in Japanese.
This literally translates as: [Only one who does] not sleep, learns how long the night is; [Only by] long acquaintance [does one] learn a person ['s true] character.
Basically, this proverb suggests that we really need to experience something intimately and for a long time to really know everything about it.
This can also be translated as, "Spending years with someone is the only way to know them".
Note: Sometimes this proverb is split into just the first or second idea alone (first 5 or last 5 characters only).
This can be translated as, "with all one's strength", "with all one's heart", "to the limits of your heart", or "to the end of your heart/emotions".
The character breakdown:
思い (omoi) thought; mind; heart; feelings; emotion; sentiment; love; affection; desire; wish; hope; expectation; imagination; experience
切り (kiri) bounds; limits.
Note: Because this selection contains some special Japanese Hiragana characters, it should be written by a Japanese calligrapher.
Taidō (The Way of the Body) is a style of Karate practiced in Japan and popular around the world.
Taidō or 躰道 traces a lineage from Genseiryū (玄制流) which came from Shuri-te (首里手), one of the original martial arts schools of ancient Okinawa.
The first character 躰 is a variant of the original Chinese character 體. In modern Japan, they tend to use 体, a more simple form of the character. 体 is also the modern Simplified Chinese form of 體.
The 躰 character is correct for this 躰道 martial arts title. But it can be confusing with so many variants out there, not to mention other homophonic Japanese words that also romanize as Taidō or Taidou.
To have a bit more fun with this 躰 character, it has a 身 radical on the left, which sets it apart. The meaning doubles up on the "body" as 身 (shin) is a character that also means body in Japanese and Chinese. On the right is 本 which often means root, stem, origin, source, or fundamental (but can also mean "book" in some contexts). This has deviated from the original 體 which was 骨 (bone) + 豊 (vessel). Hence, body was your "bone vessel" in ancient Asia.
The meaning of 躰, as well as 體 and 体, is usually translated as body. When related to the physical body, it can also refer to the torso, trunk, build, physique, or constitution of a person. As an extension of this, it can also refer to someone's health (good body = good health).
However, depending on context, it can encompass other meanings such as: form; style; system; to experience; aspect; corpus, corporeal; the substance, the essentials.
The second character, 道, is recognized and well-known as the "Way" and is the same "do" as in Karate-do or Aikido.
This translates a few ways:
To travel ten-thousand miles beats reading ten-thousand books.
Better to travel ten thousand li than to read ten thousand books. (a "li" is an ancient Chinese mile)
Travelling thousands of miles is better than reading thousands of books.
No matter how you slice it, this Chinese proverb is claiming that experience is more profound and meaningful than what you can get from a book. Go do it! Don't just read about it.
This is a nice Asian proverb if you know a vintner or wine seller - or wine lover - although the actual meaning might not be exactly what you think or hope.
The literal meaning is that someone drinking wine is more likely to let the truth slip out. It can also be translated as, "People speak their true feelings after drinking alcohol".
It's long-believed in many parts of Asia that one can not consciously hold up a facade of lies when getting drunk, and therefore the truth will come out with a few drinks.
I've had the experience where a Korean man would not trust me until I got drunk with him (I was trying to gain access to the black market in North Korea which is tough to do as an untrusted outsider) - so I think this idea is still well-practiced in many Asian countries.
Please note that there are two common ways to write the second character of this phrase. The way it's written will be left up to the mood of the calligrapher, unless you let us know that you have a certain preference.
You can translate this Chinese proverb a couple of ways.
The first is: You cannot gain knowledge without practice.
The second, and perhaps more popular way is: Wisdom comes from experience.
It literally means if you are inattentive to your affairs or situations you encounter, you will not gain or grow any wisdom or intellect.
不經一事 means, "You can't gain knowledge without practical experience".
不經一事 is the short form (first half) of a longer Chinese proverb. These 4 characters remind you that wisdom only comes from experience.
This Chinese proverb means, "Fall into a moat and you will gain wisdom from the experience".
It really suggests that the failures, troubles, frustrations, and setbacks that you encounter in your life are actually helping you to find wisdom. Some would also translate this proverb as, "Learn from your mistakes" or "Learn from your experience".
If you are studying Chinese, you will recognize the first character as "eat" but in this case, it means to "experience" (as used in this proverb, it is suggesting that you have fallen into a moat and/or had a hard time crossing it).
Literally translated character by character, this whole proverb is, "Experience one moat, gain one wisdom/knowledge".
Note: This can be pronounced in Korean but it's not a commonly used phrase.
The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji (Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|No man knows what he owes to his parents until he comes to have children of his own||子を持って知る親の恩||ko wo motte shiru oya no on|
|Bad Experience, Caution Lingers||傷弓之鳥|
|shou kyuu no tori|
sho kyu no tori
|shāng gōng zhī niǎo|
shang1 gong1 zhi1 niao3
shang gong zhi niao
|shang kung chih niao
|You May Learn from Victory, You Will Learn from Failure||百勝難慮敵三折乃良醫|
|bǎi shèng nán lǜ dí sān zhé nǎi liáng yī|
bai3 sheng4 nan2 lv4 di2 san1 zhe2 nai3 liang2 yi1
bai sheng nan lv di san zhe nai liang yi
|pai sheng nan lü ti san che nai liang i|
|Experience is the Mother of Wisdom||經驗是智慧之母|
|jīng yàn shì zhì huì zhī mǔ|
jing1 yan4 shi4 zhi4 hui4 zhi1 mu3
jing yan shi zhi hui zhi mu
|ching yen shih chih hui chih mu|
|Failure is the Mother of Success||失敗是成功之母|
|shī bài shì chéng gōng zhī mǔ|
shi1 bai4 shi4 cheng2 gong1 zhi1 mu3
shi bai shi cheng gong zhi mu
|shih pai shih ch`eng kung chih mu
shih pai shih cheng kung chih mu
|Failure is the Mother of Success||失敗は成功の母||shippai wa seikou no haha|
shipai wa seiko no haha
|Four Noble Truths: Suffering||苦諦|
|kutai||kǔ dì / ku3 di4 / ku di / kudi||k`u ti / kuti / ku ti|
|God of Zion|
God of Abraham
|上帝||joutei / jotei||shàng dì / shang4 di4 / shang di / shangdi||shang ti / shangti|
|gǎn xìng gōng xué|
gan3 xing4 gong1 xue2
gan xing gong xue
|kan hsing kung hsüeh
|Kensho - Initial Enlightenment||見性|
|ken shou / kenshou / ken sho / kensho||jiàn xìng|
|To Know Hardship, One Must Experience It||不當和尚不知頭冷|
|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
|Knowledge from Experience||體會|
|tǐ huì / ti3 hui4 / ti hui / tihui||t`i hui / tihui / ti hui|
|Learn From Your Predecessors||前車之覆后車之鑒|
|qián chē zhī fù hòu chē zhī jiàn|
qian2 che1 zhi1 fu4 hou4 che1 zhi1 jian4
qian che zhi fu hou che zhi jian
|ch`ien ch`e chih fu hou ch`e chih chien
chien che chih fu hou che chih chien
|Misery Loves Company||同病相憐|
|doubyou shou awaremu|
dobyo sho awaremu
|tóng bìng xiāng lián|
tong2 bing4 xiang1 lian2
tong bing xiang lian
|t`ung ping hsiang lien
tung ping hsiang lien
|If you have not been a monk, how can you know what it is like to be a vegetarian?||不當和尚不知齋戒苦|
|bù dāng hé shang bù zhī zhāi jiè kǔ|
bu4 dang1 he2 shang bu4 zhi1 zhai1 jie4 ku3
bu dang he shang bu zhi zhai jie ku
|pu tang ho shang pu chih chai chieh k`u
pu tang ho shang pu chih chai chieh ku
|Mother||母||haha||mǔ / mu3 / mu|
|No arrogance in victory, No despair in defeat.||勝不驕敗不餒|
|shèng bù jiāo bài bù něi|
sheng4 bu4 jiao1 bai4 bu4 nei3
sheng bu jiao bai bu nei
|sheng pu chiao pai pu nei
|Learn New Ways From Old|
|on ko chi shin |
|wēn gù zhī xīn|
wen1 gu4 zhi1 xin1
wen gu zhi xin
|wen ku chih hsin
|No Pain No Gain||不痛不強|
|bú tòng bù qiáng|
bu2 tong4 bu4 qiang2
bu tong bu qiang
|pu t`ung pu ch`iang
pu tung pu chiang
|Past experience is the teacher for the future.||前事不忘后事之師|
|qián shì bú wàng hòu shí zhī shī|
qian2 shi4 bu2 wang4 hou4 shi2 zhi1 shi1
qian shi bu wang hou shi zhi shi
|ch`ien shih pu wang hou shih chih shih
chien shih pu wang hou shih chih shih
|Great Wisdom||般若||hannya||bō rě / bo1 re3 / bo re / bore||po je / poje|
|yuè / yue4 / yue||yüeh|
|Read 10,000 Books, Travel 10,000 Miles||讀萬卷書行萬里路|
|dú wàn juǎn shū, xíng wàn lǐ lù|
du2 wan4 juan3 shu1 xing2 wan4 li3 lu4
du wan juan shu xing wan li lu
|tu wan chüan shu hsing wan li lu|
|Renni||仁妮||rén nī / ren2 ni1 / ren ni / renni||jen ni / jenni|
|Return From Death’s Door||絕處逢生|
|jué chǔ féng shēng|
jue2 chu3 feng2 sheng1
jue chu feng sheng
|chüeh ch`u feng sheng
chüeh chu feng sheng
Shin Gi Tai
|心技体||shin gi tai|
|xīn jì tǐ|
xin1 ji4 ti3
xin ji ti
|hsin chi t`i
hsin chi ti
|Only the sleepless know the length of night||不眠之夜長久交知人心|
|bù mián zhī yè cháng jiǔ jiāo zhī rén xīn|
bu4 mian2 zhi1 ye4 chang2 jiu3 jiao1 zhi1 ren2 xin1
bu mian zhi ye chang jiu jiao zhi ren xin
|pu mien chih yeh ch`ang chiu chiao chih jen hsin
pu mien chih yeh chang chiu chiao chih jen hsin
|With all the strength of your heart||思い切り||omoi kiri / omoikiri|
|Taido||躰道||tai dou / taidou / tai do / taido|
|Better to Travel 10,000 Miles than Read 10,000 Books||行萬里路勝讀萬捲書|
|xíng wàn lǐ lù shèng dú wàn juǎn shū|
xing2 wan4 li3 lu4 sheng4 du2 wan4 juan3 shu1
xing wan li lu sheng du wan juan shu
|hsing wan li lu sheng tu wan chüan shu|
|In Wine there is Truth||酒后吐真言 / 酒後吐真言|
|jiǔ hòu tǔ zhēn yán|
jiu3 hou4 tu3 zhen1 yan2
jiu hou tu zhen yan
|chiu hou t`u chen yen
chiu hou tu chen yen
|Schooled by Experience and Hard Knocks||百戦錬磨||hyakusenrenma|
|Wisdom comes from Experience||不經一事不長一智|
|bù jīng yī shì bù zhǎng yī zhì|
bu4 jing1 yi1 shi4 bu4 zhang3 yi1 zhi4
bu jing yi shi bu zhang yi zhi
|pu ching i shih pu chang i chih
|Wisdom comes from Experience||不經一事|
|bù jīng yī shì|
bu4 jing1 yi1 shi4
bu jing yi shi
|pu ching i shih
|Each Time You Stumble and Fall, You Gain Experience and Wisdom||吃一塹長一智|
|chī yí qiàn, zhǎng yí zhì|
chi1 yi2 qian4 zhang3 yi2 zhi4
chi yi qian zhang yi zhi
|ch`ih i ch`ien chang i chih
chih i chien chang i chih
|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.
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.