User:Kstigarbha/zen Buddhist terms and concepts

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Several Zen buddhist terms and concepts lack direct translations into English that cover the breadth of the original term. Below are given a number of important Zen buddhist terms, short definitions, and the languages in which they appear. In this list, an attempt has been made to organize terms by their original form and give translations and synonyms in other languages along with the definition.

Languages and traditions dealt with here:


Definition Etymology In other languages
  • Japanese: 安居


Definition Etymology In other languages
  • Japanese: 梅花講


Definition Etymology In other languages
  • Japanese: 知殿


Definition Etymology In other languages
  • Japanese: 殿行
Dhyana, see jhana
  • 禪 or 禪那, 禅 or 禅那
doan In Zen, a term for person sounding the bell that marks the beginning and end of Zazen
  • Japanese: 堂行
dokusan A private interview between a Zen student and the master. It is an important element in the Zen training, as it provides an opportunity for the student to discuss problems in his or her practice and to demonstrate understanding
  • Japanese: 独参 or 獨參
    • Cn: dúcān
    • Vi: độc tham


Definition Etymology In other languages


Definition Etymology In other languages
Fuke Sect in Zen,
  • Japanese: 普化宗
fukudo In Zen, term for person who strikes the han
  • Japanese: 副堂


Definition Etymology In other languages
gassho A position used for greeting, with the palms together and fingers pointing upwards in prayer position; used in various Buddhist traditions, but also used in numerous cultures throughout Asia. It expresses greeting, request, thankfulness, reverence and prayer. Also considered a mudra or inkei of Japanese Shingon. See also: Namaste
  • Japanese: 合掌
  • Sanskrit: anjali
    • Cn: hézhǎng (more common to say 合十 héshí)
    • Vi: hiệp chưởng
  • Japanese: 五家七宗
gongan, see koan
  • Japanese: 五山


Definition Etymology In other languages
han In Zen monasteries, wooden board that is struck announcing sunrise, sunset and the end of the day
  • Japanese: 板
  • Japanese: 北宗
  • Japanese: 法戦式


Definition Etymology In other languages
ino, lit. "bringer of joy to the assembly", In Zen, one of the leaders of a sesshin; in Zen temples, the temple official in charge of maintaining the zendo, or meditation hall
  • Japanese: 維那


Definition Etymology In other languages
jhana Meditative contemplation; more often associated with śamatha practices than vipaśyana. See also: shamata, samadhi, samapatti
  • from √dhyā: to think of, to contemplate, meditate on
  • Pāli: jhāna
  • Sanskrit: dhyāna
  • Thai: ฌาน chaan
  • 禪 or 禪那, 禅 or 禅那
    • Cn: Chán or Chánnà
    • Jp: Zen or Zenna
    • Vi: Thiền or Thiền-na
jisha In Zen, a senior priest's attendant
  • Japanese: 侍者
jizoku Women in Japanese Zen Temple
  • Japanese: 寺族


Definition Etymology In other languages
kensho In Zen, enlightenment; has the same meaning as satōri, but is customary used for an initial awakening experience
  • Japanese: 見性
    • Cn: jiànxìng
    • Vi: kiến tính
  • Japanese: 結制
kinhin Zen walking meditation
  • Japanese: 経行 or 經行
    • Cn: jīngxíng
koan A story, question, problem or statement generally inaccessible to rational understanding, yet may be accessible to Intuition
  • Japanese: 公案
    • Cn: gōng-àn
    • Ko: gong'an
    • Vi: công án
  • Japanese: 乞暇
  • Japanese: 庫裏
kyosaku or keisaku In Zen, a flattened stick used to strike the shoulders during zazen, to help overcome fatigue or reach satori
  • Japanese: 警策
    • Cn: jǐngcè


Definition Etymology In other languages


Definition Etymology In other languages
makyo In Zen, unpleasant or distracting thoughts or illusions that occur during zazen
  • Japanese: 魔境
mondo In Zen, a short dialogue between teacher and student
  • Japanese: 問答
    • Cn: wèndǎ
  • Japanese: 没後作僧


Definition Etymology In other languages
  • Japanese: 南宗


Definition Etymology In other languages
Obaku Zen sect
  • Japanese: 黄檗宗
oryoki A set of bowls used in a Zen eating ceremony
  • Japanese: 応量器


Definition Etymology In other languages


Definition Etymology In other languages
Rinzai Zen sect emphasizing sudden enlightenment and koan study; named for master Linji
  • Japanese: 臨済宗 or 臨濟宗
    • Cn: Línjì-zōng
    • Vi: Lâm Tế tông
  • Japanese: 六知事
Rohatsu A day traditionally honored as the day of the Buddha's enlightenment. While deep in meditation under a bodhi tree, he attained enlightenment upon seeing the morning star just at dawn; celebrated on the 8th day either of December or of the 12th month of the lunar calendar
  • Japanese: 臘八
roshi, lit. "Master", An honorific given to Zen teachers that mastered koan.
  • Japanese 老師
    • Cn: lǎo shī (lit., old master)
    • Vi: lão sư


Definition Etymology In other languages
samu Work, conceived as a part of Zen training.[1]
  • Japanese: 作務
    • Cn: zuòwù
sanzen A formal interview with a teacher in many traditions of Zen. Similar to dokusan
  • Japanese: 参禅 or 參禪
satori Awakening; understanding. A Japanese term for enlightenment
  • Japanese: 悟り
    • Cn:
    • Vi: ngộ
seichu In the Zen Buddhist calendar, a period of intensive, formal monastic training. It is typically characterized by week-long Daisesshins and periodic sanzen
  • Japanese: 制中
sensei Teacher; Zen teacher
  • Japanese: 先生
sesshin A Zen retreat where practitioners meditate, eat and work together for several days
  • Japanese: 接心
    • Cn: jiēxīn
    • Vi: tiếp tâm
  • Japanese: 七堂伽藍
  • Japanese: 嗣法
  • Japanese: 知客
shikantaza Soto Zen. "Only concentrated on doing sitting" is the main meditation-method of Soto school of Japanese Zen Buddhism
  • Japanese: 只管打座
shike In Zen, Abbot of
  • Japanese: 師家
shiryoji Menter's Temple
  • Japanese: 師寮寺
  • Japanese: 聖僧
  • Japanese: 首座
  • Japanese: 送行
  • Japanese: 僧堂
Soto Sect of Zen emphasizing shikantaza as the primary mode of practice; see also Dogen
  • Japanese: 曹洞宗
    • Cn: Cáodòng-zōng
    • Vi: Tào Ðộng tông


Definition Etymology In other languages
tangaryō A period of waiting for admission into a Zen monastery at the gate, lasting anywhere from one day to several weeks—depending on the quality of one's sitting. Refers to the room traveling monks stay in when visiting, or await admittance into the sōdō.
  • Japanese: 旦過寮 
tanto In Zen, one of the main leaders of a sesshin. In a Zen temple, the Tanto is the officer in charge of practice standards, i.e. teaching monks and lay practitioners how to sit, walk, bow, and chant in formal situations
  • Japanese: 単頭
  • Japanese: 他出
tathagatagarbha Buddha-nature or the seed of enlightenment
  • Sanskrit: tathāgatagarbha
  • 佛性, 仏性
    • Cn: fóxìng
    • Jp: busshō
  • Also 覚性
    • Cn: juéxìng
    • Jp: kakushō
    • Vi: giác tính
  • Also 如来藏, 如来蔵
    • Cn: rúláizàng
    • Jp: nyuoraizō
    • Vi: như lai tạng
teisho A presentation by a Zen master during a sesshin. Rather than an explanation or exposition in the traditional sense, it is intended as a demonstration of Zen realisation
  • Japanese: 提唱
tenzo In Zen, the head cook for a sesshin. In Zen temples, the officer in charge of the kitchen
  • Japanese: 典座
    • Cn: diǎnzuò
    • Vi: điển toạ
  • Japanese: 特僧
tosu Toilet in Zen temple
  • Japanese: 東司


Definition Etymology In other languages
  • Japanese: 雲水


Definition Etymology In other languages


Definition Etymology In other languages
  • Japanese: 坐蒲

zazen Sitting meditation as practiced in the Zen School of Buddhism
  • Japanese: 坐禅 or 坐禪 or 座禅
    • Cn: zuòchán
    • Vi: toạ thiền
Zen School A Japanese branch of Mahayana that emphasizes meditation in the pursuing of enlightenment
  • Japanese: 禅宗 or 禪宗
    • Cn: Chánzōng
    • Vi: Thiền tông
zendo In Zen, a hall where Zen (usually meaning zazen) is practiced (see Dojo)
  • Japanese: 禅堂 or 禪堂
    • Cn: chántáng
    • Vi: thiền đường
zenji Zen Master
  • Japanese: 禅師 or 禪師
    • Cn: chánshī
  • Japanese: 瑞世

See also[edit]

External links[edit]