The better kanji to discover is actually the second: ki.
The thought of ki could be present in virtually each Japanese non secular system. Actually it may be present in virtually each Japanese understanding of the world. Referred to as chi or qi in Chinese language (however utilizing the identical image as in Japanese, because the phrase was imported into Japanese round AD800), or prana in Sanskrit (the traditional language of the Indian subcontinent), it in all probability has been round perpetually. It's talked about within the Vedas, stated to be the oldest written texts on the planet.
The which means is all the time the identical: ‘the vitality that animates the world’. Based on Wikipedia,1 the traditional Chinese language believed it ‘permeated every part and linked their environment collectively’. Variously translated as ‘common vitality’, ‘life vitality’ or ‘life-force vitality’, it's alleged to be current in each dwelling being within the universe. The extra strongly it's felt, the higher the circulate, and the stronger and more healthy the life-form.
Chances are you'll marvel why we don’t have an identical expression in Western philosophy. Effectively, we used to: historical Greek and Egyptian philosophy, in addition to many shamanic traditions, included the concept of vitality flowing by means of each dwelling being, but it surely one way or the other received misplaced just a few thousand years in the past. Nonetheless, it has began to re-emerge with the extra holistic worldview of latest instances.
Briefly, ki means ‘life vitality’. If there isn't any ki, there isn't any life. Ki powers the universe. It's in each dwelling being and is all the time the identical. When condensed, it creates life; when diluted, it simply permeates every part.
The modern kanji makes use of a simplified model, an ‘x’, however principally it means the identical.