For discussions focused on Sutras and Zen texts, old and new.
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I was given the attached screen and the calligraphy by a Seon Buddhist monk in Korea. I appreciate their form very much, but sadly I don't read Chinese characters. I think the screen is a short sutra and the calligraphy is a a common Zen saying. If it doesn't take more than a quick glance, could someone identify the English name of the sutra if it is (I can then look it up) and tell me what the saying is? It would be very much appreciated.
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The Chinese or Japanese characters are written in a sort of cursive handwriting
I can make out a few characters
My translation programs doesn't work too well with cursive writing
But, I am guessing the name is the Heart Sutra
Good luck in your search
Edit: There are many images of the Heart Sutra online
You may be able to match up some of the symbols or characters
Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha
Thank you. Looking (looking, not reading, because I can't read characters) at printed copies of the Heart Sutra in Chinese I think you are probably right on the screen. I think the first top character in the framed calligraphy is mu in Japanese, wu in Chinese or no in English and the second to bottom is self in English.
Again my appreciation for your help!
For the framed calligraphy, my wife says she can't make out the first two characters
(Yes, the third character alone, by itself, does mean "self")
But, the last two characters make up a compound word that means "nature" or "natural" ... "zi ran"
Edit: The second character seems to be a common variant of the traditional character of "wei" ... meaning . for, to be, to act, to do
as in "wei shem ma" ... why?
or as in "wei ren" ... man
If the first character is indeed a variant of "no" or "not" (since this is old style Chinese in calligraphy this is just a guess) then perhaps "no action and the nature emerges?" That sounds like a Buddhist version of what Koreans call 4 character sayings.
Avisitor - Thanks for all your help. I have done some more research. The best translation I have been able to get of the framed calligraphy is "the nature is not for anything (has no purpose or is not for use)." Literally it is "No For Nature (or Self Nature)."
1) the shoji screen is an abbreviated (?) version of the heart sutra. abbreviated because some lines are missing (unless the calligraphy is on both sides and you're not posting everything?) but the key phrases are all there.
2) the framed 4 character calligraphy says: wu wei zi ran (literally: "non action," "self at ease" or simply "natural"), which freely rendered here as: be natural and uncontrived.
Founder and teacher of Tallahassee Chan Center of the Dharma Drum Lineage of Chan Buddhism
Received inka from Master Sheng Yen (1930-2009) in 1995
Thank you so much. It's good to have the screen confirmed. I did not indeed show all the parts of it. Your translation of the calligraphy is very useful and beautiful. I think the expectation by the kind giver was that I was more educated than I am and could easily read characters! I will certainly follow your advice and treasure both. Thank you again!
8 posts • Page 1 of 1
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