Wikipedia (https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/佛系) says:


Google Translation:

Buddhism is a buzzword for Chinese Internet new students. It appeared more frequently in Chinese Internet and media around 2018. In the Chinese context, it roughly means anything that can do anything, look down on everything, and have no desires. Attitude to life. [1] The term is based on research from Japan’s "non-no" [2] in 2014. It puts forward the concept of the so-called "Buddha Man" (Japanese: 仏男), which means to focus on one's own interests or work, and not willing to Men who spend time with the opposite sex. [3]

How would you translate 佛系 into English?

  • 个人感觉佛系这个词并不好,佛门的人都说了,佛教里的无为也不是什么都不干。个人感觉还不如说"看淡一切",regard everything as unimportant.
    – Zhang
    Apr 12, 2021 at 3:21
  • 佛系 can be translated to "low-energy" in English.
    – John Z. Li
    Apr 12, 2021 at 8:09

3 Answers 3

  1. "Buddha-like youngsters/youth" is a loyal translation which has found widespread use in the news. "Buddhist youth" is also found, but without context people may take it literally as youths of the Buddhist religion, which is unideal. I believe you may want to consider the above if translating 佛系青年 as a set phrase.

  2. You may consider adjectives such as "unambitious", "reclusive", or "indoorsy" (informal) if translating 佛系 alone. Personally, I find "que-será-será" (or "whatever-will-be-will-be"; hyphenation is required, see here) captures the nuance of 佛系 best. However, unlike "Buddha-like", these adjectives are only explanatory and thus heavily context-dependent.

  3. Some proposed adjectives such as "tranquil" or "geeky" are in my opinion inaccurate.


  • 1
    "Que-será-será" is good. Also from popular culture. Recent enough. Accurate. Apr 13, 2021 at 2:08

佛系: Buddha style

佛系男孩:Buddha style boy (apparently originally from Japan)




(slang, neologism, of a person) carefree, calm and easygoing

  1. (supposedly resembling a practitioner of Zen Buddhism); zen; chill
    佛系青年 ― fóxì qīngnián ― zen youth (slang)

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