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Hardships – Korean Expressions #7

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Gotta love those Korean expressions!~ My favorite this time is clearly #1 – the Forrest Gump style picture. But the last one (the Hanja one) is also quite good.

공수래공수거 (空手來空手去)

This expression is very religious (or “zen” as others might say).

The Bible also has some nearly identical phrases in it:

  1. “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.” Job 1:21
  2. “Everyone comes naked from their mother’s womb, and as everyone comes, so they depart. They take nothing from their toil that they can carry in their hands.” Ecclesiastes 5:15
  3. “For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” 1 Timothy 6:7

This is a universal truth of human nature. And now here it is in beautiful Hanja for you to remember it!~

(Remember, originally Hanja is read from the right-to-left, NOT left-to-right):

  1. 空 (공) = empty
  2. 手 (수) = hand
  3. 來 (래) = come
  4. 空 (공) = empty
  5. 手 (수) = hand
  6. 去 (거) = go

Here it is in full:

  • 空手來空手去 (left-to-right like English)
  • 去手空來手空 (traditional right-to-left)

And a more clearly written copy is here.

**These expressions are from How Koreans Talk: A Collection of Expressions.For more in-depth explanations, buy the book.

Which expression is your favorite this time?

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