Chengyu: 不二法門 / “The One and Only Way”



bù èr fǎmén

Literal meaning: “[The] Dharma Door of Non-duality”

Idiomatic meaning: “the one and only way”

The original Buddhist meaning is very different from the common vernacular meaning today. “Non-duality” refers to the Middle Path of Buddhism, which threads between two extremes. This particular chengyu is derived from the Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa Sūtra, and the following passage illustrates the non-duality of existence and non-existence.


Chengyu: 鍥而不捨 / “Perseverance”



qiè ér bù shě

Literal meaning: “To carve without giving up.”

Idiomatic meaning: To persevere, to stick with it.

This is an excerpt from a longer sentence in the Xunzi:

“If one carves and gives up, even rotten wood will be uncarvable. If one carves without giving up, even metal and stone can be engraved.”