This is a great place to get a custom Mindfulness Calligraphy Wall Scroll!
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 the name “Nen.”
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.” When practicing 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.
決心 is a Chinese, Japanese, and Korean word that 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 putting your heart into something. It can also be translated as resolve, resolution, or decision (as in a decision made and followed).
專心 makes 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 the single mind,” “whole-heartedly,” “paying attention,” “undivided attention,” “concentration (-ed),” “engrossed,” “devotionally (listening/watching),” and/or “attentive.”
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.
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). This 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.
心 would often be translated as “heart.”
However, because it was believed in Chinese culture for thousands of years that your consciousness and thoughts came from the big red organ in the middle of your chest, it also means “mind” or “spirit” and sometimes even “soul.”
In Korean, beyond heart, mind, and spirit, this character can mean moral, nature, mind, affections, intentions, core, and center. In fact, it is used in Chinese to mean “center” as well but only with another character in front of it. For instance, “medical center” or even “shopping center.” Separately and alone, it will not be read with that “center” meaning unless thought of as “the center of your soul.”
The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji (Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|Mindfulness||念||nen||niàn / nian4 / nian||nien|
|7. Right Mindfulness|
|正念||sei nen / seinen||zhèng niàn|
|kesshin / keshin||jué xīn / jue2 xin1 / jue xin / juexin||chüeh hsin / chüehhsin|
|專心 / 専心 / 耑心|
|sen shin / senshin||zhuān xīn|
|心||kokoro||xīn / xin1 / xin||hsin|
|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.
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.