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Chinese Symbols for Life, Longevity, and Health

Chinese Characters for Life, Longevity, and Health:


  • Life: 人生

  • Longevity: 长寿

  • Health: 健康

Chinese Phrases about Life:


  • 人生如梦: Life is like a dream. 

  • 浮云朝露: Floating clouds and morning dew, represent time flying and life is short. 

  • 白驹过隙: Time flies fast as a white horse across a crevice.

  • 人生如寄: Living in the world is like a temporary tenant of the universe.


  • 人生在世: Living in the world. 

  • 得失在人: Triumph or failure depends on one's efforts.

  • 游戏人间: Living one's life as playing games. 

  • 安身为乐: Settled life is happiness. 

  • 乐天知命: Optimistic about everything destiny has provided.

peaceful boating

Chinese Phrases about Longevity and Health:


  • 松柏之寿: Long life, like pine and cypress.

  • 乔松之寿: Long life like immortals.

  • 长生久视: Long and healthy life with good vision, hearing, and wisdom. 

  • 长命富贵: Longevity and wealth. 

  • 延年益寿: Prolonged life and strengthened health.

  • 万寿无疆: Eternal longevity.

  • 福寿康宁: Happy, longevous, healthy, and peaceful.

  • 人寿年丰: Healthy and longevity people and harvest years.

  • 老当益壮: Aged but more robust and more ambitious. 

  • 红光满面: Glowing red on one's cheeks, meaning in good health or happy mood. 

  • 六脉调和: Harmonious pulses, meaning healthy and happy. 

  • 寿比南山: Live long as Nanshan, the mountain of longevity.

Mount Heng or Nanshan, the mountain of longevity

Mount Heng or Nanshan, the Mountain of Longevity, Photo by Zuiniulvyou.

Chinese Poems about Life, Longevity, and Health:


  • 人生天地间,忽如远行客。Poem collections of the Han Dynasty (202 BC — 220 AD)

Living between the eternal heaven and earth, humans are like travelers coming back to dust soon after a long journey.

  • 如月之恒,如日之升。如南山之寿,不骞不崩。The Classic of Poetry, or The Book of Songs, or Shijing, compiled by Confucius (551 BC — 479 BC).


Constant as the moon, upward as the sun. Longevous as the mountain Nanshan, which will never collapse. 


  • 今人不见古时月,今月曾经照古人。Li Bai (701 — 762)


Modern eyes miss the ancient moon, yet this moon once lit people of ancient times.


  • 年年岁岁花相似,岁岁年年人不同。Liu Xiyi (about 651 — 680)


Year by year, blooms retain their charm, but those who admire them are not the same. 

Flowers and ancient building of Lingering Garden of Suzhou, photo from the official site of Liuyuan.

Flowers and Ancient Building of Lingering Garden of Suzhou, Photo from the Official Site of Liuyuan. 

  • 欲穷千里目,更上一层楼。Wang Zhihuan (688 — 742)


You can enjoy a grander sight, by climbing to a greater height. (Translated by Xu Yuanchong) 

  • 人生如寄,何事辛苦怨斜晖。Zhu Xi (1130 — 1200)


Living in the world is like a temporary tenant of the universe; why complain that it is short and transient like the sunset glow, after having wasted time on unnecessary things. 

Meaning to cherish time and follow one's heart. 

  • 山重水复疑无路,柳暗花明又一村。Lu You (1125 — 1210)


At the end of the mountain and river and doubting if there's a way out, amid willow tree shadows and blooming flowers appear a beautiful hamlet.

  • 不以物喜,不以己悲。Fan Zhongyan (989 — 1052)

Do not feel happy for gaining things, do not feel sad for temporary fails; meaning gaining or losing, my mind stays peaceful.

Lotus the symbol of harmony and peace
  • 人生如逆旅,我亦是行人。Su Shi (1037 — 1101)

life is a hotel; I am as well one of the travelers passing by. 


  • 人有悲欢离合,月有阴晴圆缺,此事古难全。Su Shi (1037 — 1101)


People would experience joy and sorrow, parting and reunion; as the moon would dim, shine, wax, and wane; imperfection has been the eternality. 


  • 人间有味是清欢。Su Shi (1037 — 1101)


The best flavor (or status) of life is simple and plain.


  • 人生到处知何似,应似飞鸿踏雪泥。Su Shi (1037 — 1101)

What is one's trace of life in the universe look like? Probably like footprints on snow ground accidentally left by flying swan geese.

Soaring swan geese
  • 逢人不说人间事,便是人间无事人。Du Xunhe (846 — 904)

Never talks about worldly trivialities, like a sage detached from the world's complexities.

  • 人生若得如云水,铁树开花遍界春。Shi Shoujing of Song Dynasty (960 — 1279)

If life could be carefree like clouds and rivers' flow, iron trees would blossom, spreading spring's glow.

  • 山月不知心底事,水风空落眼前花。Wen Tingyun  (about 812 — 866)

The moon above the mountain knows not my heart's plight; the breeze upon the water blows flowers out of sight.

  • 我来问道无余说,云在青天水在瓶。Li Ao (772 — 841)

The profound truth lies in simplicity's embrace, like clouds in the sky, water in a crystal vase.

  • 心底清静方为道,退步原来是向前。Budai Heshang (? — 917)

To find inner peace is the greater truth; to step back is in fact the forward path.


  • 随贫随富且欢乐,不开口笑是痴人。Bai Juyi  (772 — 846)

Rich or poor, one should live joyfully; to refuse to smile is but folly.

  • 何须更问浮生事,只此浮生在梦中。Niao Ke (735 — 833)

Why care about the trivial mundane realm, for this fleeting life is like a dream.

  • 戒得长天秋月明,心如世上青莲色。Li Bai (701 — 762)

Mind, like the autumn moon, shines in the vast sky; heart, like a blue lotus, pure and bright.

  • 万机俱泯迹,方识本来人。Han Shan of Tang Dynasty (618 — 907)

When all ideas and desires disappear, your true self would be seen clear.

  • 下来虽有路,归去每无心。Qi Ji (863 — 937)

Descending the mountain, paths unfold; returning home, no worldly hold.


  • 虽道了然皆是梦,应还达者即无愁。Fang Gan (809 — 888)

Though all is but a dream, the enlightened feel no sorrow.

  • 圆满光华不磨莹,挂在青天是我心。Han Shan of Tang Dynasty (618 — 907)

The bright full moon is crystal need no polishing, like my pure heart in the sky hanging.

  • 委形老小外,忘怀生死间。Bai Juyi  (772 — 846)

In the midst of family, carefree and content; thoughts of life and death are gently sent.


  • 问君何能尔,心远地自偏。Tao Yuanming (about 365 — 427)

Why can I gain this grace? A carefree heart takes me to a serene place.

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