Soul and Spirit

My sensei mentioned to me once about the difference between ‘soul’ and ‘spirit’. I told him my trinity is ‘body, mind and soul’ He suggested to me to contemplate about the ‘spirit’ as a connection to the divine.

I think long and deep about this two words, and when i check the online dictionary, these two words are loosely similar, in fact they are synonyms. I wasn’t satisfied with that. So i went into translation and found my answer.

Soul=靈魂, Línghún or simply 魂 hún in mandarin and 魂 or ‘Tamashī’ in Japanese

Spirit = 精神, Jīngshén in mandarin and 精神 and ‘Seishin’ in Japanese

Well, for those unfamiliar with both Mandarin or Japanese, the word soul and spirit means a world of difference. ‘Soul’, ‘魂’ in chinese loosely means ghosts or psyche, spirits, the sublime realm. Its more associated with what happens after death. the Chinese will refer to the soul leaving the body in death, whereas in English, both soul and spirit can be used interchageably.

Spirit on the other hand, mean a different thing altogether, because ‘神’ is ‘god’ or ‘diety’ when translated to English.What Harry sensei was encouraging me to is to connect with the spirit, the divine link to our being. Rather than just the soul. I guess he considers the spiritual part a higher order to achieve and liberation is possible when we connect to the spirits.

Come to think of it, linguistically, soul and spirit might be categorically synonyms but contextual use is very different. If we see zest in a tennis match, we will describe is as a ‘spirited fight’ not a soulful fight. Soul music is soul music and not spiritual music for a reason. thankfully i am exposed to Chinese language and it allows me a deeper contemplation.


About Who is Randy Lim

This blog is about the journey and experiences in my life as an Aikidoka. With close to 20 years in the arts, I'll make comments and judgements based on 2 principles, E&E. Experimentation and Experiential reflection. please enjoy, and comment freely.
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