Tag Archives: Buddhism

If you meet the Buddha on the road, eff him

Is the word “ineffable” a paradox? 不立文字 fu.ryuu.mon.ji Literally: non – stand – sentence – letter Alternately: The Buddhist observation that satori (“understanding,” specifically insight into the true nature of reality) is not something that can be written down or … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Yojijukugo | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Just lions having fun!

And… gin? 獅子奮迅 shi.shi.fun.jin Literally: lion – child – vigorous – quick Alternately: Highly-energetic, even violent activity. Doing things in a furious, intense, or overwhelming way. Ferocious, or at least energetic, like a lion. Notes: This phrase apparently comes to … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Yojijukugo | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If you want good fruit, sleep on it

果報は寝て待て (Kahou wa nete mate; “For good fortune, sleep, wait.”) Definition: Good fortune will come of its own accord, in its own time, so it’s best to prepare and patiently wait for it rather than fretting or trying to force … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Kotowaza | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wild horses could, in fact, drag it out of me

意馬心猿 i.ba.shin.en Literally: mind – horse – heart – monkey Alternately: This Buddhist phrase expresses how it is difficult to control oneself and detach from the illusory material world because worldly desires, false beliefs, and mental pollution such as hatred … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Yojijukugo | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You can lead a horse to sutras

縁なき衆生は度し難し (En naki shujou wa do shigatashi; “It’s hard for the Buddha to save those who do not know the Buddha”) Definition: People who don’t heed advice or warnings are very hard to help. Salvation is difficult for those who … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Kotowaza | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Leaves from the vine

愛別離苦 ai.betsu.ri.ku Literally: love – separate – detach – suffering Alternately: The pain of being separated from your loved ones. This is one of the “eight sufferings” of 四苦八苦. Notes: The separation in question is most often due to the … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Yojijukugo | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fishing for tsuris

四苦八苦 shi.ku.ha-.kku Literally: four – suffering – eight – suffering Alternately: Deep distress, terrible hardship, anguish, malaise. The very bad feels. Notes: You might think, as I did, that this phrase is nothing more than a doubling for effect, but … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Yojijukugo | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

‘Tis the season

…and the age. 私利私欲 shi.ri.shi.yoku Literally: me/private – benefit/profit – me/private – desire/greed Alternately: One’s own profit; one’s own greed. The self-centered attitude or behavior of someone who is motivated by avarice over all else. Notes: 欲 may also be … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Yojijukugo | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Power is small things in large numbers

一粒万倍 ichi.ryuu.man.bai Literally: one – particle – ten thousand – times (as in multiplication) Alternately: From something tiny, a huge profit. By extension, an admonition not to look down on small or simple things, because even the most humble appearance … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Yojijukugo | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Consider the lotus of the pond

It toils and spins SO HARD 難行苦行 nan.gyou.ku.gyou Literally: difficult – go / undertaking – suffering – go / undertaking Alternately: Extreme difficulties or suffering. In particular, this describes when someone is enduring privation and hardship as part of (Buddhist) … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, Yojijukugo | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment