Actions in Chinese / Japanese...

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  1. Soldiers Adapt Actions to the Situation

  2. Good Conduct

  3. Morality of Deed

  4. Filial Piety / Filial Conduct

  5. 4. Right Action / Perfect Conduct

  6. Goodness / Good Deed

  7. Wu Wei / Without Action

  8. One Good Deed Each Day

  9. A Deliberate Inaction is Better than a Blind Action

10. Do not take action until the time is right

11. The Foundation of Good Conduct


Soldiers Adapt Actions to the Situation

bīng lái jiàng dǎng shuǐ lái tǔ yǎn
Soldiers Adapt Actions to the Situation Scroll

This Chinese military proverb means, counter soldiers with arms, and counter water with an earthen dam.

This is about how different situations call for different action. You must adopt measures appropriate to the actual situation.

To explain the actual proverb, one would not attack a flood of water with gunfire, nor would you counter-attack soldiers by building an earth weir. You must be adaptable and counter whatever threatens with relevant action.

Good Conduct

shàn xíng
zenkou
Good Conduct Scroll

善行 means good actions, good deed, good conduct, or benevolence.

This can be the given name Yoshiyuki in Japanese.

Morality of Deed

xíng dé
Morality of Deed Scroll

The idea of "morality of deed" goes along with "wu de" (martial morality or virtues of the warrior).

Here, the first character is a representation of the actions or deeds that you engage in.
The second character refers to morality or virtue.

This translates better in English in the opposite order, as the Chinese order is literally "deed morality".


See Also:  Morality of Mind | Martial Morality

Filial Piety / Filial Conduct

xiào xìng
koukou
Filial Piety / Filial Conduct Scroll

These two characters express the idea of filial piety or filial conduct.

While the first character means filial piety by itself, the second character adds "action". Therefore this represents the actions you take to show your respect and obedience to your elders or ancestors.

Confucius is probably the first great advocate for filial piety.

4. Right Action / Perfect Conduct

Samyak Karmanta / Samma Kammanta

zhèng yè
sei gyou
4. Right Action / Perfect Conduct Scroll

正業 is one of the Noble Eightfold Paths of Buddhism. Right Action, along with Right Speech and Right Living constitute the path to Virtue.

The five precepts of Right Action are:
1. To refrain from destroying living beings (no murder, or any form of taking a life).
2. To refrain from stealing.
3. To refrain from sexual misconduct (adultery, rape, etc.).
4. To refrain from false speech (lying or trickery).
5. To refrain from intoxicants which lead to heedlessness (no drugs or alcohol).

This concept can be summarized as, "Avoidance of actions that conflict with moral discipline".

Note: In Japanese, when read by a non-Buddhist, this will mean "the right job/vocation".


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.


See Also:  Buddhism | Enlightenment | Noble Eightfold Path

Goodness / Good Deed

shàn
zen
Goodness / Good Deed Scroll

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.

Wu Wei / Without Action

Daoist / Taoist Tenet

wú wéi
mui
Wu Wei / Without Action Scroll

Wu Wei is a Daoist (Taoist) tenet, that speaks to the idea of letting nature take its course.

Some will say it's about knowing when to take action and when not to. In reality, it's more about not going against the flow. What is going to happen is controlled by the Dao (Tao), for which one who follows the Dao will not resist or struggle against.

There is a lot more to this concept but chances are, if you are looking for this entry, you already know the expanded concept.

Warning: Outside of Daoist context, this means idleness or inactivity (especially in Japanese where very few know this as a Daoist concept).

One Good Deed Each Day

yī rì yī shàn
ichi nichi ichi zen
One Good Deed Each Day Scroll

This Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja phrase suggests doing a good deed each day, or doing one good turn a day.

It literally reads, "One Day, One Good (Deed)".

A Deliberate Inaction is Better than a Blind Action

yí dòng bù rú yí jìng
A Deliberate Inaction is Better than a Blind Action Scroll

Sometimes this is translated by others as "Look before you leap" but the more accurate and direct translation is the one I used in the title.

While somewhat military in its origin, this proverb can apply to any situation where a decision needs to be made, but perhaps there are still some "unknowns".

This phrase suggests that in our "action based" world, sometimes the "smarter move" is "no move at all".


See Also:  Better to Choose Nothing Rather Than Make a Poor Choice

Do not take action until the time is right

bù dào huǒ hou bù jiē guō
Do not take action until the time is right Scroll

This literally translates as: Don't take the lid off the pot until the food is done.

Figuratively, this means: Don't take action until the time is right.

You can take this as a call to be patient, or picking just the right time to do something (not too early, not too late).

The Foundation of Good Conduct

Quote from Confucius

zhì yú dào jù yú dé yī yú rén yóu yú yì
The Foundation of Good Conduct Scroll

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.


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

Title CharactersRomaji (Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
Soldiers Adapt Actions to the Situation兵來將擋水來土掩
兵来将挡水来土掩
bīng lái jiàng dǎng shuǐ lái tǔ yǎn
bing1 lai2 jiang4 dang3 shui3 lai2 tu3 yan3
bing lai jiang dang shui lai tu yan
ping lai chiang tang shui lai t`u yen
ping lai chiang tang shui lai tu yen
Good Conduct善行zenkou / zenkoshàn xíng
shan4 xing2
shan xing
shanxing
shan hsing
shanhsing
Morality of Deed行德xíng dé / xing2 de2 / xing de / xingdehsing te / hsingte
Filial Piety
Filial Conduct
孝行koukou / kokoxiào xìng
xiao4 xing4
xiao xing
xiaoxing
hsiao hsing
hsiaohsing
4. Right Action
Perfect Conduct
正業
正业
sei gyou / seigyou / sei gyozhèng yè / zheng4 ye4 / zheng ye / zhengyecheng yeh / chengyeh
Goodness
Good Deed
zenshàn / shan4 / shan
Wu Wei
Without Action
無為
无为
muiwú wéi / wu2 wei2 / wu wei / wuwei
One Good Deed Each Day一日一善ichi nichi ichi zen
ichinichiichizen
yī rì yī shàn
yi1 ri4 yi1 shan4
yi ri yi shan
yiriyishan
i jih i shan
ijihishan
A Deliberate Inaction is Better than a Blind Action一動不如一靜
一动不如一静
yí dòng bù rú yí jìng
yi2 dong4 bu4 ru2 yi2 jing4
yi dong bu ru yi jing
yidongburuyijing
i tung pu ju i ching
itungpujuiching
Do not take action until the time is right不到火候不揭鍋
不到火候不揭锅
bù dào huǒ hou bù jiē guō
bu4 dao4 huo3 hou bu4 jie1 guo1
bu dao huo hou bu jie guo
budaohuohoubujieguo
pu tao huo hou pu chieh kuo
putaohuohoupuchiehkuo
The Foundation of Good Conduct誌于道據于德依于仁遊于藝
志于道据于德依于仁游于艺
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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The Foundation of Good Conduct Scroll
The Foundation of Good Conduct Scroll
The Foundation of Good Conduct Scroll
The Foundation of Good Conduct Scroll


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The Foundation of Good Conduct Vertical Portrait
The Foundation of Good Conduct Horizontal Wall Scroll
The Foundation of Good Conduct Vertical Portrait
Dictionary

Lookup Actions in my Japanese & Chinese Dictionary


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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.


A nice Chinese calligraphy wall scroll

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.

A professional Chinese Calligrapher

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.

Trying to learn Chinese calligrapher - a futile effort

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.

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

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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