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The first character means "for a particular person, occasion, or purpose", "focused on one single thing", "concentrated" and sometimes, "special".
The second character means "heart" or "mind" by itself.
Together, these two characters make a word that means, "paying attention with your heart". It's often translated as, "dedication", as in "be absorbed in" or "concentrate one's efforts". It's also used to mean, "with single mind", "whole-heartedly", "paying attention", "undivided attention", "concentration (-ed)", "engrossed", "devotionally (listening/watching)", and/or "attentive".
My favorite translation, which comes from the Oxford Advanced Chinese/English Dictionary is, "wholehearted devotion".
If it seems like the meaning of this word is quite open, you are correct. The context in which the word is used matters a lot. It can mean different things depending on how you use it. This makes it kind of nice as you can decide what this means to you (within some limits). 專心 / 専心 / 耑心 is always positive in meaning, so even if a Chinese person reads it differently than you, it will still have a good meaning.
In Japanese, they tend to use a variation of the second character which has one less stroke. If you want your calligraphy written this Japanese form, please click on the Kanji shown to the right instead of the button above. Note: Japanese and Chinese people will recognize either form.
Samyak Smriti / Samyak Smrti / Samma Sati
正念 is one of the Noble Eightfold Paths of Buddhism. Right Mindfulness, along with Right Effort and Right Concentration constitute the path to Concentration or Perfect Thought.
Right Mindfulness is about remaining focused on one's body, feelings, mind and mental qualities. It's also about being ardent, aware, and mindful, and supposes that you've already put aside worldly desire and aversion.
Monk Bhikkhu Bodhi described this as: The mind is deliberately kept at the level of bare attention, a detached observation of what is happening within us and around us in the present moment. In the practice of right mindfulness the mind is trained to remain in the present, open, quiet, and alert, contemplating the present event.
Another definition: Ongoing mindfulness of body, feelings, thinking, and objects of thought.
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.
心澄淨 is the Buddhist concept of the pure and calm mind. It is believed that once you achieve a meditative state of pure focused thought, the mind becomes clear and calm. Although, others will say this means that achieving a calm mind will allow you to reach pure thought.
From Sanskrit, this is known as citta-prasāda. The concept of citta-prasāda is sometimes defined as, "clear heart-mind", or "the single and definitive aspiration".
(complete bodily devotion)
獻身 is used to describe being so devoted to something that you will make sacrifices for that goal/thing/person.
You can also translate this word as any of the following:
This can be a dedication to or for someone but more often is used in reference to a dedication or making sacrifices for your country, public service, or a cause. For instance, an Olympic athlete makes great sacrifices to train in his/her sport for their country and compatriots.
While the form shown to the upper-left is considered an ancient Japanese version, in modern Japan, they use the simplified version of the first Kanji (shown to the right). Click on the Kanji at the right instead of the button above if you want this modern Japanese version.
If you are looking for a more religious meaning of devotion, see Faith.
念 is the simplest way to write "mindfulness" in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja.
念 can be defined these ways: To read; to study (a degree course); to read aloud; to miss somebody (keeping them in your mind); idea; remembrance; sense; thought; feeling; desire; concern; attention; recollection; memory; to think on/about; reflect; repeat, intone; a moment.
Obviously, the context in which the character is used determines which definition or meaning is perceived. As a single character, it's open and perhaps ambiguous. Thus, it can be read with any or all of these meanings.
念 is used in a Buddhist context (often written as 正念 or "right mindfulness") with similar meanings of thought and contemplation.
In Japanese, this character is sometimes used as a name "Nen".
This Chinese, Japanese, and Korean word holds the dictionary definition of "determination" but literally means, "determined heart".
The first character means "to determine" or "determined".
The second character means "heart", "mind" or "soul", so you can imagine that this form of "determination" partially means to put your heart into something. It can also be translated as resolve, resolution, or decision (as in a decision made and followed).
This Chinese and Korean word conveys the idea of extreme self-control and perhaps self-sacrifice, and obedience.
紀律 matches the kind of "discipline" I was in the Marine Corps. There is also an additional idea of maintaining order or being orderly in your tasks.
This idea would also fit an athlete training for the Olympics who gives up many pleasures to stay focused on their training.
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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|
|專心 / 専心 / 耑心|
|sen shin / senshin||zhuān xīn|
|7. Right Mindfulness|
|正念||sei nen / seinen||zhèng niàn|
|Purity of Mind||心澄淨||shin chou jou|
shin cho jo
|xīn chéng jìng|
xin1 cheng2 jing4
xin cheng jing
|hsin ch`eng ching
hsin cheng ching
|ken shin / kenshin||xiàn shēn|
|Mindfulness||念||nen||niàn / nian4 / nian||nien|
|kesshin / keshin||jué xīn / jue2 xin1 / jue xin / juexin||chüeh hsin / chüehhsin|
|jì lǜ / ji4 lv4 / ji lv / jilv||chi lü / chilü|
|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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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.
Check out my lists of Japanese Kanji Calligraphy Wall Scrolls and Old Korean Hanja Calligraphy Wall Scrolls.
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