Darkness in Chinese / Japanese...

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  1. Darkness

  2. The Night is Darkest Before the Dawn

  3. You must endure a harsh winter to appreciate the warmth of springtime

  4. Comparison Leads to Truth and Enlightenment


 an koku
Darkness Scroll

暗黒 is the two-character Japanese word for darkness.

The first Kanji can mean unilluminated, dark, gloomy, hidden, or secret.
The second character means black or dark.

Together, these two Kanji will be understood as dark or darkness.

 hēi àn
Darkness Scroll

黑闇 is the two-character Chinese word for darkness.

The first character alone means black or dark.

The second character has several possible meanings, depending on context; They include: to shut the door, unilluminated, dark, gloomy, hidden, or secret.

Together, these two characters will, in most cases, be translated as dark or darkness.

 àn
 yami
 
Darkness Scroll

闇 is the shortest and universal way (in Chinese, Japanese Kanji, and old Korean Hanja) to write “darkness.”

In Chinese, this can mean dark, gloomy, hidden, secret, to shut the door, or unilluminated.

In Japanese, this can mean darkness, the dark, black-marketeering, dark, shady, or illegal.

In old Korean Hanja, this can mean dark, obscure, hidden, or secret.


暗 Note that there is an alternate form of this character. It is used as an alternate in all three languages (that rarely happens). You can see this alternate version to the right. If you want to order that version, please click on that character, instead of the button above.

The Night is Darkest Before the Dawn

 lí míng qián de hēi àn
The Night is Darkest Before the Dawn Scroll

黎明前的黑暗 is the most natural way to write “The night is darkest before the dawn,” in Chinese.

The words break down this way by meaning this way:
1.黎明 dawn or daybreak
2.前 before, in front, ago, former, previous, and/or earlier
3.的 (possessive particle) of
4.黑暗 dark, darkly, or darkness

If you try to understand the Chinese word order and grammar, it's like, “Before dawn is the darkest [time].”

You must endure a harsh winter to appreciate the warmth of springtime

You must know hardship to appreciate happiness

 bù jīng dōng hán bù zhī chūn nuǎn
You must endure a harsh winter to appreciate the warmth of springtime Scroll

This literally translates as: Without having experienced the cold of winter, one cannot appreciate the warmth of spring.

Figuratively, this means: One cannot truly appreciate happiness without having gone through hardship.

There are many contrasts in life. One simply cannot fully know what joy is without having experienced misery, difficulty, and pain. How could you explain “light” if you did not have “darkness” to compare it to?

Embrace hardship, as it makes the good times seem even better.

Comparison Leads to Truth and Enlightenment

 bù bǐ bù zhī dào yī bǐ xià yì tiào
Comparison Leads to Truth and Enlightenment Scroll

不比不知道一比吓一跳 is a Chinese proverb that literally means: [If one not does] not make comparisons, [one will] not know [the truth] when [one] compares, [one will be] greatly surprised.

This goes to the idea that if you do not know bad times, you cannot know what good times are.
...And...
You can not know light without experiencing darkness.

Another way to translate this would be: If you wish to be enlightened, you need to make comparisons and analyze every aspect (of a situation, issue, or problem).


Not the results for darkness that you were looking for?

Below are some entries from our dictionary that may match your darkness search...

Characters

If shown, 2nd row is Simp. Chinese

Pronunciation
Romanization
Simple Dictionary Definition

see styles
àn
    an4
an
 hikage
    ひかげ

More info & calligraphy:

Darkness
dark; gloomy; hidden; secret; muddled; obscure; in the dark
(ant: 明・めい・1) darkness; (female given name) Hikage
Dark, dim, gloom, dull; secret, hidden; darkness


see styles
àn
    an4
an
 awa
    あわ

More info & calligraphy:

Darkness
to close (a door); to eclipse; muddled; stupid; ignorant; variant of 暗[an4]
(noun - becomes adjective with の) (1) darkness; the dark; (2) bewilderment; despair; hopelessness; (3) hidden place; secrecy; oblivion; (noun - becomes adjective with の) (4) black market; shady trading; underhand transactions; illegal channels; (personal name) Awa
To shut; dark; retired; translit. am, cf. 暗, 菴; to withdraw

地獄


地狱

see styles
dì yù
    di4 yu4
ti yü
 jigoku
    じごく

More info & calligraphy:

Hell
hell; infernal; underworld; (Buddhism) Naraka
hell; (place-name) Jigoku
naraka, 捺落迦 (or 那落迦) ; niraya 泥犂; explained by 不樂 joyless; 可厭 disgusting, hateful; 苦具, 苦器 means of suffering; if 地獄 earth-prison; 冥府 the shades, or departments of darkness. Earth-prison is generally intp. as hell or the hells; it may also be termed purgatory; one of the six gati or ways of transmigration. The hells are divided into three classes: I. Central, or radical, 根本地獄 consisting of (1) The eight hot hells. These were the original hells of primitive Buddhism, and are supposed to be located umder the southern continent Jambudvīpa 瞻部州, 500 yojanas below the surface. (a) 等活 or 更活 Saṃjīva, rebirth, where after many kinds of suffering a cold wind blows over the soul and returns it to this life as it was before, hence the name 等活. (b) 黑繩 Kaslasūtra, where the sufferer is bound with black chains and chopped or sawn asunder. (c) 線合; 衆合; 堆壓 Saṃghāta, where are multitudes of implements of torture, or the falling of mountains upon the sufferer. (d) 號呌; 呼呼; 叫喚 Raurava, hell of wailing. (e) 大呌; 大號呌; 大呼 Mahāraurava, hell of great wailing. (f) 炎熱; 燒炙 Tapana, hell of fames and burning. (g) 大熱; 大燒炙; 大炎熱 Pratāpana, hell of molten lead. (h) 無間; 河鼻旨; 阿惟越致; 阿毗至; 阿鼻; 阿毗 Avīci, unintermitted suffering, where sinners die and are reborn to suffer without interval. (2) The eight cold hells 八寒地獄. (a) 頞浮陀地獄 Arbuda, where the cold causes blisters. (b) 尼刺部陀 Nirarbuda, colder still causing the blisters to burst. (c) 頞哳吒; 阿吒吒 Atata, where this is the only possible sound from frozen lips. (d) 臛臛婆; 阿波波 Hahava or Apapa, where it is so cold that only this sound can be uttered. (e) 虎虎婆 Hāhādhara or Huhuva, where only this sound can be uttered. (f) 嗢鉢羅; 鬱鉢羅 (or 優鉢羅) Utpala, or 尼羅鳥 (or 漚) 鉢羅 Nīlotpala, where the skin is frozen like blue lotus buds. (g) 鉢特摩 Padma, where the skin is frozen and bursts open like red lotus buds. (h) 摩訶鉢特摩 Mahāpadma, ditto like great red lotus buds. Somewhat different names are also given. Cf. 倶舍論 8; 智度論 16; 涅槃經 11. II. The secondary hells are called 近邊地獄 adjacent hells or 十六遊增 each of its four sides, opening from each such door are four adjacent hells, in all sixteen; thus with the original eight there are 136. A list of eighteen hells is given in the 十八泥梨經. III. A third class is called the 孤地獄 (獨地獄) Lokāntarika, or isolated hells in mountains, deserts, below the earth and above it. Eitel says in regard to the eight hot hells that they range 'one beneath the other in tiers which begin at a depth of 11,900 yojanas and reach to a depth of 40,000 yojanas'. The cold hells are under 'the two Tchahavālas and range shaft-like one below the other, but so that this shaft is gradually widening to the fourth hell and then narrowing itself again so that the first and last hell have the shortest, those in the centre the longest diameter'. 'Every universe has the same number of hells, ' but 'the northern continent has no hell whatever, the two continents east and west of Meru have only small Lokāntarika hells... whilst all the other hells are required for the inhabitants of the southern continent '. It may be noted that the purpose of these hells is definitely punitive, as well as purgatorial. Yama is the judge and ruler, assisted by eighteen officers and a host of demons, who order or administer the various degrees of torture. 'His sister performs the same duties with regard to female criminals, ' and it may be mentioned that the Chinese have added the 血盆池 Lake of the bloody bath, or 'placenta tank' for women who die in childbirth. Release from the hells is in the power of the monks by tantric means.

暗黒

see styles
 ankoku
    あんこく

More info & calligraphy:

Darkness
(adj-na,n,adj-no) darkness

黑暗

see styles
hēi àn
    hei1 an4
hei an
dark; darkly; darkness

黎明前的黑暗

see styles
lí míng qián de hēi àn
    li2 ming2 qian2 de5 hei1 an4
li ming ch`ien te hei an
    li ming chien te hei an

More info & calligraphy:

The Night is Darkest Before the Dawn
darkness comes before dawn; things can only get better (idiom)

see styles
míng
    ming2
ming
 mei / me
    めい
dark; deep; stupid; the underworld
(female given name) Mei
Darkness, obscurity; deep. Hades; used chiefly in the sense of 無知 ignorance, profound, secret, invisible, e.g. as opposed to 顯 open, manifest; darkness

see styles
hūn
    hun1
hun
 kon
muddle-headed; twilight; to faint; to lose consciousness
Dusk, dull, confused; darkness

佛日

see styles
fó rì
    fo2 ri4
fo jih
 butsunichi
The Buddha-sun which drives away the darkness of ignorance; the day of Buddha.

六気

see styles
 rokki; rikki; rikuki
    ろっき; りっき; りくき
(1) yin, yang, wind, rain, darkness, light; (2) cold, heat, dryness, dampness, wind, fire; (3) six emotions (joy, anger, sorrow, pleasure, love, hate)

冥一

see styles
míng yī
    ming2 yi1
ming i
 myōichi
Entire obscurity, pristine darkness; harmoniously unified so as to be indistinguishable

冥使

see styles
míng shǐ
    ming2 shi3
ming shih
 myōshi
Lictors, or messengers of Hades; messengers of darkness

冥冥

see styles
míng míng
    ming2 ming2
ming ming
 myōmyō
    めいめい
(adj-t,adv-to,adj-no,n) dark; invisible
darkness

冥初

see styles
míng chū
    ming2 chu1
ming ch`u
    ming chu
 myōsho
The primitive darkness (at the beginning of existence); primordial material nature

冥府

see styles
míng fǔ
    ming2 fu3
ming fu
 meifu / mefu
    めいふ
underworld; hell
(1) (See 冥土) realm of the dead; the other world; underworld; (2) hell
The palace of darkness, Hades; office of hell

冥庭

see styles
míng tíng
    ming2 ting2
ming t`ing
    ming ting
 myōtei
courts of darkness; courts of darkness

冥往

see styles
míng wǎng
    ming2 wang3
ming wang
 myōō
Going into the shades, death; going to the darkness

冥道

see styles
míng dào
    ming2 dao4
ming tao
 meidō
the gateway to the ghost world
冥途; 冥土 The dark way, or land of darkness, the shades, Hades, pretas, etc; negative destinies

刁斗

see styles
diāo dǒu
    diao1 dou3
tiao tou
soldier's copper saucepan, used for cooking food by day and for sounding the night watches during the hours of darkness (in ancient times)

四蛇

see styles
sì shé
    si4 she2
ssu she
 shida
idem 四毒蛇. The Fanyimingyi under this heading gives the parable of a man who fled from the two bewildering forms of life and death, and climbed down a rope (of life) 命根, into the well of impermanence 無常, where two mice, night and day, gnawed the rattan rope; on the four sides four snakes 四蛇 sought to poison him, i. e. the 四大 or four elements of his physical nature); below were three dragons 三毒龍 breathing fire and trying to seize him. On looking up he saw that two 象 elephants (darkness and light) had come to the mouth of the well; he was in despair, when a bee flew by and dropped some honey (the five desires 五欲) into his mouth, which he ate and entirely forgot his peril; four vipers

夜幕

see styles
yè mù
    ye4 mu4
yeh mu
curtain of night; gathering darkness

夜闇

see styles
yè àn
    ye4 an4
yeh an
 yaan
    よやみ
dead of night; shades of night; black of night
nighttime darkness; nighttime darkness

天瞽

see styles
tiān gǔ
    tian1 gu3
t`ien ku
    tien ku
 tenko
heavenly darkness; heavenly darkness

常闇

see styles
 tokoyami
    とこやみ
everlasting darkness

幽冥

see styles
yōu míng
    you1 ming2
yu ming
 yū mei
    ゆうめい
dark; hell; netherworld; hades
semidarkness; deep and strange; hades; the present and the other world; dark and light
darkness

幽明

see styles
yōu míng
    you1 ming2
yu ming
 yuumei / yume
    ゆうめい
the hidden and the visible; that which can be seen and that which cannot; darkness and light; night and day; wisdom and ignorance; evil and good; the living and the dead; men and ghosts
semidarkness; deep and strange; hades; the present and the other world; dark and light; (given name) Yuumei
darkness and light; darkness and light

幽暗

see styles
yōu àn
    you1 an4
yu an
 yuuan / yuan
    ゆうあん
gloom
(noun or adjectival noun) gloom; darkness; seclusion

幽闇

see styles
 yuuan / yuan
    ゆうあん
(noun or adjectival noun) gloom; darkness; seclusion

微闇

see styles
wēi àn
    wei1 an4
wei an
 mian
faint darkness; faint darkness

明冥

see styles
míng míng
    ming2 ming2
ming ming
 myōmyō
The (powers of) light and darkness, the devas and Yama, gods and demons, also the visible and invisible; light and darkness

Click here for more darkness results from our dictionary

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

Title CharactersRomaji (Romanized Japanese)Various forms of Romanized Chinese
Darkness暗黒an koku / ankoku
Darkness黑闇
黑暗
hēi àn / hei1 an4 / hei an / heian
Darkness
yamiàn / an4 / an
The Night is Darkest Before the Dawn黎明前的黑暗lí míng qián de hēi àn
li2 ming2 qian2 de hei1 an4
li ming qian de hei an
limingqiandeheian
li ming ch`ien te hei an
limingchienteheian
li ming chien te hei an
You must endure a harsh winter to appreciate the warmth of springtime不經冬寒不知春暖
不经冬寒不知春暖
bù jīng dōng hán bù zhī chūn nuǎn
bu4 jing1 dong1 han2 bu4 zhi1 chun1 nuan3
bu jing dong han bu zhi chun nuan
pu ching tung han pu chih ch`un nuan
pu ching tung han pu chih chun nuan
Comparison Leads to Truth and Enlightenment不比不知道一比嚇一跳
不比不知道一比吓一跳
bù bǐ bù zhī dào yī bǐ xià yì tiào
bu4 bi3 bu4 zhi1 dao4 yi1 bi3 xia4 yi4 tiao4
bu bi bu zhi dao yi bi xia yi tiao
pu pi pu chih tao i pi hsia i t`iao
pu pi pu chih tao i pi hsia i tiao
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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Comparison Leads to Truth and Enlightenment Scroll
Comparison Leads to Truth and Enlightenment Scroll
Comparison Leads to Truth and Enlightenment Scroll
Comparison Leads to Truth and Enlightenment Scroll


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Comparison Leads to Truth and Enlightenment Vertical Portrait
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Comparison Leads to Truth and Enlightenment Vertical Portrait
Dictionary

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A nice Chinese calligraphy wall scroll

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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.


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Some people may refer to this entry as Darkness Kanji, Darkness Characters, Darkness in Mandarin Chinese, Darkness Characters, Darkness in Chinese Writing, Darkness in Japanese Writing, Darkness in Asian Writing, Darkness Ideograms, Chinese Darkness symbols, Darkness Hieroglyphics, Darkness Glyphs, Darkness in Chinese Letters, Darkness Hanzi, Darkness in Japanese Kanji, Darkness Pictograms, Darkness in the Chinese Written-Language, or Darkness in the Japanese Written-Language.

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