We have many options to create artwork with Work Unselfishly For The Common Good characters on a wall scroll or portrait.
This can also mean: "Place Strict Standards on Oneself in Public Service".
This Chinese proverb is often used to express how one should act as a government official. Most of us wish our public officials would hold themselves to higher standards. I wish I could send this scroll, along with the meaning to every member of Congress, and the President (or if I was from the UK, all the members of Parliament, and the PM)
The story behind this ancient Chinese idiom:
A man named Cai Zun was born in China a little over 2000 years ago. In 24 AD, he joined an uprising led by Liu Xiu who later became the emperor of the Eastern Han Dynasty.
Later, the new emperor put Cai Zun in charge of the military court. Cai Zun exercised his power in strict accordance with military law, regardless of the offender's rank or background. He even ordered the execution of one of the emperor's close servants after the servant committed a serious crime.
Cai Zun led a simple life but put great demands on himself to do all things in an honorable way. The emperor rewarded him for his honest character and honorable nature by promoting him to the rank of General and granting him the title of Marquis.
Whenever Cai Zun would receive an award, he would give credit to his men and share the reward with them.
Cai Zun was always praised by historians who found many examples of his selfless acts that served the public interest.
Sometime, long ago in history, people began to refer to Cai Zun as "ke ji feng gong".
一視同仁 is how to write "universal benevolence". 一視同仁 is also how to express the idea that you see all people the same.
If you are kind and charitable to all people, this is the best way to state that virtue. It is the essence of being impartial to all mankind, regardless of social standing, background, race, sex, etc. You do not judge others but rather you see them eye to eye on the same level with you.
This Chinese proverb comes from an old story from some time before 476 BC. About a man named Qi Huangyang, who was commissioned by the king to select the best person for a certain job in the Imperial Court.
Qi Huangyang selected his enemy for the job. The king was very confused by the selection but Qi Huangyang explained that he was asked to find the best person for the job, not necessarily someone that he personally liked or had a friendship with.
Later, Confucius commented on how unselfish and impartial Qi Huangyang was by saying "Da Gong Wu Si" which if you look it up in a Chinese dictionary, is generally translated as "Unselfish" or "Just and Fair".
If you translate each character, you'd have something like,
"Big/Deep Justice Without Self".
Direct translations like this leave out a lot of what the Chinese characters really say. Use your imagination, and suddenly you realize that "without self" means "without thinking about yourself in the decision" - together, these two words mean "unselfish". The first two characters serve to really drive the point home that we are talking about a concept that is similar to "blind justice".
One of my Chinese-English dictionaries translates this simply as "just and fair". So that is the short and simple version.
Note: This can be pronounced in Korean but it's not a commonly used term.
見義勇為 means courage to do what is right in Chinese.
This could also be translated as, "Never hesitate to do what is right".
This comes from Confucian thought:
It’s best for your courage to head in an honorable direction. For example, you should take to action when the goal is to attain a just result as without honorable intent, a person’s gutsy fervor can easily lead them astray.
One who flaunts courage but disregards justice is bound to do wrong; someone who possesses both courage and morality, is destined to become a hero.
Some text above paraphrased from The World of Chinese - The Character of 勇
This would be literally translated as "none self" in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese.
It is used to express "selflessness" or "unselfish".
無私 is a popular term for the idea of being selfless or unselfish in modern China and Japan.
This term is not as commonly used in Korea but still has good meaning.
See Also: Altruism