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The word setsu is made of two characters that are most often translated as meaning conforming to the rule or standard, but can also be interpreted in terms of the self as discipline or self-restraint.

Looking more closely at the first character, setsu, the top two elements symbolize the bamboo Kaicho Nakamura refers to in his discussion. They express division (being two) which can also express order, as in the ordered division of bamboo, which in turn can express time (as in discreet extensions) and the concept of restraint and integrity that lead to self-order. Also implied is flexibility, which is inherent within bamboo and implied by the use of this pictorial element.


Underneath are two other sub-character elements, the one on left being interpreted as "good." It represents a sift (to separate large from small particles) within a sleeve or form used to filter, thus suggesting selection of the good.


The bottom element (sub-character) to the right represents a bending or kneeling person. Originally this represented taking the proper place at a table, which has been abstracted to mean being proper.



The second character, or "do," also has meaningful interpretations.


The top element can be interpreted to mean a house over an object or a stone (the derivation being unclear), which is an abbreviation for the character meaning "various".



The bottom element is a hand which can leads to the interpretion of measurement. Thus, together the elements of "do" mean "degree" drawn from measurement of various things.

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