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10. Shaolin Chan
13. Ken Zen Ichi Nyo
18. Zen Garden
This encompasses the idea of meditation.
It's also a term used to describe a deep form of day-dreaming, 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
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 soooo 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 the practice of meditation.
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 a lot 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has evolved a little in Japan, and the two boxes (kou) that you see at the top of the right side of the character have been replaced by three dots with tails. 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 in Tensho and Reisho versions of Zen since they are ancient character styles that existed long before Japan had a written language.
There 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.
This describes the act of sitting in the state of deep meditation. You'll notice that the second character is Chan/Zen, which is often used to title the meditative form of Buddhism. In Korean Hanja, this means "religious meditation" (basically the same as the Chinese definition). This can also be defined as abstract meditation, fixed abstraction, or contemplation.
Buddhists may define this as, sitting in dhyāna, abstract meditation, fixed abstraction, or contemplation.
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.
This title is used in Taoism and Qi Gong to describe the state you can reach while sitting quietly in meditation. It contains the ideas of achieving a highly-tranquil and peaceful state. Some may describe this state as "sleeping while still awake".
If you have a relaxation or meditation room, this is the calming wall scroll that you would want hanging in that room.
These two Chinese characters create a title that means to reach peace and calm through meditation.
安禪 is an excellent wall scroll for your relaxation or meditation room.
安禪 is also a Buddhist-related term that encompasses the idea of entering into dhyana meditation.
安禪 is also used in Japanese, but in modern times, the second character has changed, so it's 安禅 now. If you want the modern Japanese version, just choose a Japanese calligrapher, and let me know when you place your order.
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.
See Also: Zen
This title refers to the inner bliss and peace that 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.
This title can be defined as Zen contemplation in Japanese, or sit quietly in (Buddhist) meditation in Chinese. It also carries a similar meaning in Korean Hanja. Therefore, this is a rather 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.
少林禪 literally translates as "Little Forest Meditation".
少林禪 is part of a movement to provide spiritual and mental health by integrating the practices of martial arts and meditation.
More information at Shaolin Chan Foundation.
三昧 is the Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja way to write Samādhi.
Samadhi is the state of intense concentration achieved through meditation.
Some will define Samādhi as putting together, composing the mind, intent contemplation, perfect absorption, or union of the meditator with the object of meditation.
This title 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 own research, or decide what this means for you.
This can also be defined in a more complex way as "thoroughly penetrating with meditative insight".
This Japanese phrase 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 mediation 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 mediation 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.
反省 is the Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja means several things including: to reflect upon oneself; to examine one's conscience; to question oneself; to search one's soul; reflection; reconsideration; introspection; meditation; contemplation; regret; repentance; remorse.
This title is used in certain contexts but is not widely-known by the general population of China or Japan.
From 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.
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.
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.
禪園 literally means "meditation garden".
The first character happens to be known as Zen in the west (pronunciation coming from Japanese) but this title is not often used in Japan (won't be recognized as a Japanese title).
In fact, the title "Zen Garden" is basically made up by westerners.
In Buddhist context, this 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, complex legal case, contentious issue, a dossier, case record, public laws, regulations, or case-law.
This is sometimes translated as the "Devotion to the Law of the Lotus Flower Scripture".
This is a meditation chant and homage to the Lotus Sutra, used by Nichiren Buddhists in Japan.
This is also a chant used in China by certain sects of Buddhism that celebrate the deity Guanyin.
Also romanized as "Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō" or without accents as "Nam Myoho Renge Kyo".
The last character was originally written as seen on the left. Sometimes, you will see it written in the Japanese variant form as shown on the right. If you want this Japanese variant, click on the "Modern Japanese Variant" text instead of the button up by the main title of this entry.
定 is the single-character way to express the idea of Samadhi in Chinese and Japanese.
A single-character title like this is open to a lot of interpretation. So 定 can mean to set, to fix, to determine, to decide, to order, certainly, truly, settle, or composing the mind.
In the Buddhist context, this means, "Perfect absorption of thought into the one object of meditation", "The mind fixed in one direction", "Internal state of imperturbability or tranquility", or "Exempt from all external sensations".
正精進 is one of the Noble Eightfold Paths of Buddhism. Right Effort, along with Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration constitute the path to Concentration or Perfect Thought.
Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake in each moment, the effort to overcome laziness and defilement, the effort to make each activity of our day meditation. This concept is about pursuing wholesome things that promote good karma.
Another definition: Cultivation of what is karmically wholesome and avoidance of what is karmically unwholesome.
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.
十法 is the title of the ten perfect or perfecting Mahāyāna rules.
The order of rules are as follows:
1. right belief.
2. right conduct.
3. right spirit.
4. joy of the bodhi mind.
5. joy in the dharma.
6. joy in meditation.
7. pursuing the correct dharma.
8. obedience to, or accordance with dharma.
9. departing from pride, desire, etc.
10. comprehending the inner teaching of Buddha and taking no pleasure attaining such knowledge or noting the ignorance of others.
This title is only used in the context of Buddhism. Japanese and Chinese people who are not familiar with Buddhism will not recognize this title.
太極拳 is the famous Taoist meditation and martial art exercise. The direct translation of these characters would be something like "grand ultimate fist" but that does not quite hit the mark for what this title really means.
An early-morning walk through any city in China near a park or open area will yield a view of Chinese people practicing this ancient technique.
The typical scene is an old man of no less than 80 years on this earth, with a wispy white beard and perhaps a sword in one hand. He makes slow moves that are impossibly smooth. He is steady-footed, and always in balance. For him, time is meaningless and proper form and technique is far more important than speed.
For the younger generation, faster moves may look impressive and seem smooth to the casual observer. But far more discipline and mental strength is needed to create perfectly smooth moves in virtual slow motion.
Note: There are two ways to Romanize these Chinese characters as seen in the title above. The pronunciation and actual characters are the same in Chinese. If you really used English sounds/words to pronounce this, it would be something like "tie jee chew-on" (just make the "chew-on" as one flowing syllable).
Qigong is the title of a technique that is somewhere between a medical practice, meditation, and in some cases a religion. The definition is blurred depending on which school of Qigong you are following. In some cases, it is even incorporated with martial arts.
Some people (even Chinese people) mix this title with Tai Chi (Tai Qi) exercises.
Lately in China, people will claim to practice Tai Chi rather than Qigong because the Qigong title was recently used as a cover for an illegal pseudo-religious movement in China with the initials F.G. or F.D. (I can not write those names here for fear of our website being banned in China).
You can learn those names and more here: Further info about Qigong
If you are wondering about why I wrote "Qi Gong" and "Chi Kung" as the title of this calligraphy entry, I should teach you a little about the various ways in which Chinese can be Romanized. One form writes this as "Chi Kung" or "Chikung" (Taiwan). In the mainland and elsewhere, it is Romanized as "Qi Gong" or "Qigong". The actual pronunciation is the same in Taiwan, mainland, and Singapore Mandarin. Neither Romanization is exactly like English. If you want to know how to say this with English rules, it would be something like "Chee Gong" (but the "gong" has a vowel sound like the "O" in "go").
Romanization is a really confusing topic and has caused many Chinese words to be mispronounced in the west. One example is "Kung Pao Chicken" which should actually be more like "Gong Bao" with the "O" sounding like "oh" for both characters. Neither system of Romanization in Taiwan or the Mainland is perfect in my opinion and lead to many misunderstandings.
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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji (Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|Meditation||冥想||mei sou / meisou / mei so / meiso||míng xiǎng|
|zen||chán / chan2 / chan||ch`an / chan|
|Sit in Meditation||坐禪|
|za zen / zazen||zuò chán / zuo4 chan2 / zuo chan / zuochan||tso ch`an / tsochan / tso chan|
|Sit Quietly in Meditation||入靜|
|rù jìng / ru4 jing4 / ru jing / rujing||ju ching / juching|
|Reach Peace and Calm by Meditation||安禪|
|an zen / anzen||ān chán / an1 chan2 / an chan / anchan||an ch`an / anchan / an chan|
|Appreciation of Truth by Meditation||心印||shin nin / shinnin||xīn yìn / xin1 yin4 / xin yin / xinyin||hsin yin / hsinyin|
|Inner Bliss and Peace from Meditation||禪悅|
|chán yuè / chan2 yue4 / chan yue / chanyue||ch`an yüeh / chanyüeh / chan yüeh|
|Zen Contemplation||入定||rù dìng / ru4 ding4 / ru ding / ruding||ju ting / juting|
|Om||噢姆||mū / o1 mu1 / o mu / omu|
|sho rin zen|
|shǎo lín chán|
shao3 lin2 chan2
shao lin chan
|shao lin ch`an
shao lin chan
|Samadhi||三昧||san mai / sanmai||sān mèi / san1 mei4 / san mei / sanmei|
|cān chán / can1 chan2 / can chan / canchan||ts`an ch`an / tsanchan / tsan chan|
|Ken Zen Ichi Nyo||拳禪一如|
|ken zen ichi nyo|
|Truth Flashed Through The Mind||參悟|
|cān wù / can1 wu4 / can wu / canwu||ts`an wu / tsanwu / tsan wu|
|Reflect||反省||hansei / hanse||fǎn xǐng / fan3 xing3 / fan xing / fanxing||fan hsing / fanhsing|
The Zen Way
|禅道 / 禪道|
|zen dou / zendou / zen do / zendo||chán dào / chan2 dao4 / chan dao / chandao||ch`an tao / chantao / chan tao|
|Content and Motionless||安住不動|
|an juu fu dou|
an ju fu do
|zen sono / zensono||chán yuán|
|Koan||公案||kouan / koan||gōng àn / gong1 an4 / gong an / gongan||kung an / kungan|
|Namu Myoho Renge Kyo|
Homage to Lotus Sutra
|南無妙法蓮華經 / 南無妙法蓮華経|
|na mu myou hou ren ge kyou|
na mu myo ho ren ge kyo
|nán wú miào fǎ lián huá jīng|
nan2 wu2 miao4 fa3 lian2 hua2 jing1
nan wu miao fa lian hua jing
|nan wu miao fa lien hua ching
|Samadhi||定||sada||dìng / ding4 / ding||ting|
|6. Right Effort|
|sei shou jin|
sei sho jin
|zhèng jīng jìn|
zheng4 jing1 jin4
zheng jing jin
|cheng ching chin
|Ten perfect Mahayana rules||十法||jippou / jipo||shí fǎ / shi2 fa3 / shi fa / shifa||shih fa / shihfa|
|Tai Chi Chuan|
Tai Ji Quan
|tai kyoku ken|
|tài jí quán|
tai4 ji2 quan2
tai ji quan
|t`ai chi ch`üan
tai chi chüan
|kikou / kiko||qì gōng / qi4 gong1 / qi gong / qigong||ch`i kung / chikung / chi kung|
|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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Some people may refer to this entry as Meditation Kanji, Meditation Characters, Meditation in Mandarin Chinese, Meditation Characters, Meditation in Chinese Writing, Meditation in Japanese Writing, Meditation in Asian Writing, Meditation Ideograms, Chinese Meditation symbols, Meditation Hieroglyphics, Meditation Glyphs, Meditation in Chinese Letters, Meditation Hanzi, Meditation in Japanese Kanji, Meditation Pictograms, Meditation in the Chinese Written-Language, or Meditation in the Japanese Written-Language.
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