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5. Good Heart
善良 means good and honest, kind-hearted, goodness, excellence, and/or virtue.
善 means goodness, virtue, good deed, charitable, benevolent, well-disposed, nice, pleasant, kind, or simply, "good".
善 is the kind of good that applies to someone's good character, or a good person in general.
Referring to someone with this word means that they have a well-aimed moral compass, are charitable, giving, wise, and honest. Basically, this is a blanket statement for every good trait a human can have, or all the things that make someone good.
In another context, it can mean to improve or perfect something or refer to someone who is good at something.
This literally reads, "Good Heart" but is used to refer to the ideas of kindness, benevolence, philanthropy, virtuous intentions, moral sense, and conscience.
Some will also translate this as morality of mind (as the character for heart is often used to mean mind).
In Japanese, this can be the given name Yoshinaka.
This can also mean: "Place Strict Standards on Oneself in Public Service".
This Chinese proverb is often used to express how one should act as a government official. Most of us wish our public officials would hold themselves to higher standards. I wish I could send this scroll, along with the meaning to every member of Congress, and the President (or if I was from the UK, all the members of Parliament, and the PM)
The story behind this ancient Chinese idiom:
A man named Cai Zun was born in China a little over 2000 years ago. In 24 AD, he joined an uprising led by Liu Xiu who later became the emperor of the Eastern Han Dynasty.
Later, the new emperor put Cai Zun in charge of the military court. Cai Zun exercised his power in strict accordance with military law, regardless of the offender's rank or background. He even ordered the execution of one of the emperor's close servants after the servant committed a serious crime.
Cai Zun led a simple life but put great demands on himself to do all things in an honorable way. The emperor rewarded him for his honest character and honorable nature by promoting him to the rank of General and granting him the title of Marquis.
Whenever Cai Zun would receive an award, he would give credit to his men and share the reward with them.
Cai Zun was always praised by historians who found many examples of his selfless acts that served the public interest.
Sometime, long ago in history, people began to refer to Cai Zun as "ke ji feng gong".
This proverb from the Analects of Confucius translates as:
Resolve yourself in the Dao/Tao/Way.
Rely on Virtue.
Reside in benevolence.
Revel in the arts.
According to Confucius, these are the tenets of good and proper conduct.
This was written over 2500 years ago. The composition is in ancient Chinese grammar and phrasing. A modern Chinese person would need a background in Chinese literature to understand this without the aid of a reference.
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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|
|善良||zen ryou / zenryou / zen ryo / zenryo||shàn liáng|
|Truth Goodness and Beauty||真善美||shin zen bi|
|zhēn shàn měi|
zhen1 shan4 mei3
zhen shan mei
|chen shan mei
|Ultimate Goodness of Water||上善若水||shàng shàn ruò shuǐ|
shang4 shan4 ruo4 shui3
shang shan ruo shui
|shang shan jo shui
|善||zen||shàn / shan4 / shan|
|Good Heart||善心||yoshinaka||shàn xīn / shan4 xin1 / shan xin / shanxin||shan hsin / shanhsin|
|Work Unselfishly for the Common Good||克己奉公||kè jǐ fèng gōng|
ke4 ji3 feng4 gong1
ke ji feng gong
|k`o chi feng kung
ko chi feng kung
|The Foundation of Good Conduct||誌于道據于德依于仁遊于藝|
|zhì yú dào jù yú dé yī yú rén yóu yú yì|
zhi4 yu2 dao4 ju4 yu2 de2 yi1 yu2 ren2 you2 yu2 yi4
zhi yu dao ju yu de yi yu ren you yu yi
|chih yü tao chü yü te i yü jen yu yü i|
|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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