Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Meaning Behind Peaceful Water

The meanings behind our name and logo came up in conversations a couple of times. I would like to offer some explanations.

When we first brainstormed for a business name, we thought that we would like the name to have something to do with water. The Buffalo area has a lot of connections with water, being situated on the Great Lakes, at close proximity to Niagara Falls, as well as historically developed around the construction of the Erie Canal. Finally we choose the name “Peaceful Water” in English and “止水” in Chinese. We then designed the logo around the Chinese characters.

"止水" can also be translated as “still water” or “calm water”, and is meant to evoke a commonly used phrase “心如止水” or “heart resembles peaceful water”. There are two slightly different meanings associated with the phrase.

First is that a heart at peace can reflect clearly and without distortion. This meaning came from the philosopher 莊周 Zhuag Zhou in 3rd Century BC:


People cannot see their reflections in running water, but they can see their reflections in still water. Only through stillness in yourself can you bring the multitudes to a point of stillness.

Second meaning is that a heart at peace can remain undisturbed in a face of turmoil and challenges. This meaning came from the poet 白居易 Bai Juyi's eulogy for his friend, written in the 9th Century AD:



On the grand path of this world, the right and the wrong ran on the same track; Conflicting like teeth grinding against each other, like waves crashing from all sides.

How could you alone, sir, have your heart remained still like peaceful water; When the wind and rain obscured the light, when the flock croaked incessantly?

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