Glossary of Buddhist Terms

The following abbreviations are used:

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


ABHIDHARMA (S), higher teaching.

ACARYA (S), ajari (J). A master or teacher; a senior of five years standing.

AKSAYAMATI BODHISATTVA (S), Mujinni Bosatsu (J), That which exhibits and expresses devotion.


AMITABHA BUDDHA (S), Amida Butsu (J), “O-mi-t’o-fo” (C). The Buddha of Fathomless Light, or Amitayus, the Buddha of Immeasurable Life. His is another name for the Cosmic Buddha. See also COSMIC BUDDHA, NEMBUTSU, PURE LAND BUDDHISM.

AMITABHA SCRIPTURE, Amida-kyo (J), Sukhavati-vyuha (S). One of the three most important Scriptures of the Pure Land Church.

ANANDA (S). The Buddha’s personal jiisha.

ANATTA (P), anatman (S), no separate self or soul.

ANCESTOR. Refers to any teacher, male or female, who has fully understood Buddhism and who is in the line of succession.

ANCESTRAL LINE. The unbroken line of teachers from the Seven Buddhas.


ANICCA (P), anitya (S), impermanence. Transience.

ANIRUDDHA (S). The cousin of Shakyamuni Buddha and one of His ten chief disciples.

ANJA (J). An assistant to the Abbot’s personal jiisha, q.v.

ARADA KALAMA. The future Shakyamuni Buddha’s first teacher.

ARHAT (S), arahant (J), lo-han (C). One who has cleansed his or her heart of all greed, hatred and ignorance and, knowing the Unborn, Undying, Uncreated and Unchanging in life, becomes completely at one with It in death.

ARUPA JHANA (P). The four formless meditations:–Meditation on the realm of Infinite Space; Meditation on the realm of Infinite Consciousness; Meditation on the realm of Infinite Nothingness; Meditation on the realm of Neither Perception nor Non-perception.

ASANGA (S), 310–390, Mujaku (J). An Indian Master of the Yogacara church of Mahayana.

ASITA (S). An Indian ascetic who visited the future Shakyamuni Buddha at the time of His birth and foresaw His destiny.

ASOKA (S). King Asoka Maurya, ruler of India from 269 to 232 b.c.

ASURA (S), those who do not shine, i.e. Titan.

ASVAGHOSHA (S), c. 100, Anabotei Memyo (J). An Indian Buddhist Master, the twelfth Ancestor in the Zen tradition and the reputed author of the Buddhacarita and The Awakening of Faith.

AVALOKITESVARA BODHISATTVA (S), Kanzeon Bosatsu, Kannon (J), Kuan-shi-yin, Kuan Yin (C). He who hears the cries of the world. Avalokitesvara is the Bodhisattva who exhibits Great Compassion and Mercy.

AVALOKITESVARA BODHISATTVA, SCRIPTURE OF, Kanzeon Bosatsu Fumonbon, Kannon-gyo (J). The twenty-fifth chapter of the Lotus Scripture (Saddharma Pundarika—S) in which the Buddha explains the activity of Avalokitesvara in the world. See also AVALOKITESVARA BODHISATTVA.


AYUWAN-SHAN (C). A large Chinese Buddhist temple, visited by Dogen, named after King Asoka, q.v.

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BADARABOSATSU (J), Bhadrapala Bodhisattva (S). A trainee who attained enlightenment whilst bathing. In Zen temples, there is a small altar dedicated to him in the bathroom. His story is told in the Surangama Scripture.


BASO DOITSU (J), 709–788, Ma-tsu Tao-i (C). A Chinese Zen Master, the disciple of Nangaku Ejo and the grand-disciple of Daikan Eno, the Sixth Ancestor.

BHADDIYA (P). The son of one of the seven Brahmins who were invited to Prince Siddhartha’s naming ceremony. He became one of Shakyamuni Buddha’s first five disciples.

BIMBISARA (P). The ruler of Magadha during Shakyamuni Buddha’s life and a strong supporter of Buddhism.

BISHARI, Vaisali (S). The place where the Second Buddhist Council was held one hundred years after Shakyamuni Buddha’s death.


BODAISHIN (J), Bodhicitta (S). The will to supreme enlightenment.


BODHI (S). Understanding, enlightenment, wisdom.

BODHI TREE (S), also called bo or pipal tree. The Indian fig tree under which Shakyamuni Buddha sat when He found His enlightenment. Place of enlightenment.


BODHIDHARMA (S), c. 530, Bodaidaruma or Daruma (J). The Indian Ancestor who brought Zen teaching to China; known to the Chinese as the First Ancestor.

BODHISATTVA (S), bosatsu (J), pu-sa (C), enlightened being.



BOMPU ZEN (J). Sitting in meditation simply for physical advantages. The first stage of Zen training.

BONTEN (J). (1) Brahma Deva, the Hindu God and Creator; (2) the lowest of the Four Dhyana Heavens in the world of form where beings have no desire.


BOW. An act of respect and gratitude. “As long as bowing lasts, Buddhism will last. When bowing ceases, Buddhism is destroyed”—Manzan Dohaku.


BRAHMIN (P). The highest of the four Indian castes:– Brahmin, priest caste; Kshatriya, warrior caste; Vaisya, merchant caste; Sudra, common caste.

BUDDHA (S), Butsu (J). Enlightened One, Awakened One. (1) A person with direct understanding of the Truth. A completely awakened person. (2) The historical Shakyamuni Buddha.

BUDDHA GAYA (S), or Bodh-gaya (S). The place in India where Shakyamuni Buddha sat beneath the Bodhi Tree and gained enlightenment.

BUDDHA MIND. The mind without attachment and discrimination which is the real mind of all beings, although they themselves may not recognize it: another name for the Buddha Nature.

BUDDHA NATURE, Bussho (J), Buddhata (S). One’s own true nature, True Self. Buddha Nature should not be misunderstood as a separate soul.

BUDDHISM. A religion, founded by Shakyamuni Buddha in the sixth century b.c., in India, which teaches the path to enlightenment.

BURMESE POSITION. A form of sitting in which the feet are not placed over the thighs but rest on the sitting surface.



BUTSUDANDA RYO-O (J). One of the dragon kings, deities who bring rain. One of the eight types of beings who protect the Dharma. See also DRAGON.

BUTSUDEN (J). Buddha Hall. A hall enshrining the statue of either a Buddha or Bodhisattva. In Zen temples the main religious image is enshrined in the Butsuden.

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CAKRAVARTI RAJA (S), Tenrinno (J), Wheel rolling King. A universal monarch whose chariot wheels roll everywhere without hindrance.

CH’AN (C), see ZEN.

CHANDAKA (S), Channa (P). The future Shakyamuni Buddha’s favorite attendant before leaving home. Chandaka later became one of Shakyamuni’s disciples.

CHIDORON, or Daichidoron (J), Ta-chih-tu-lun (C), the Mahaprajnaparamita-shastra (S). Discourses on the Great Wisdom Scriptures written by the Buddhist Ancestor Nagyaarajyuna. It was translated from Sanskrit into Chinese by Kumarajiva and is studied by many churches of Mahayana Buddhism.

CHIEF JUNIOR, Shusosho (J). A trainee selected by the Abbot for a training term of one hundred days to lead all trainees in the monastery.

CHIJI (J). The officers, under the Abbot, who are in charge of running a temple: The Chief Junior (Shusosho–J), Chief Administrator (Kanin), Treasurer (Fusu), Disciplinarian (Ino), Chief Cook (Tenzo) and Head of Maintenance (Shissui).

COMPASSION, daiji (J), mahakaruna (S). Loving kindness towards all living things which arises naturally out of meditation.


COSMIC BUDDHA. that which appears in every place and time and in all beings; also called by various other names such as Buddha, Amitabha Buddha, Dharmakaya, Buddha Nature and Lord of the House. It can be revealed through genuine training but cannot be explained as existing or not existing being beyond dualism.

CUCKOO, kalavinka (S). Indian cuckoo. A bird with a wondrously beautiful voice, said to be found in the Himalayan valleys.

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DAI HON ZAN (J). Great head temple. The main temples of a Buddhist church.

DAIAN (J), 793–883, also Chokei Daian (J), Ch’ang-Ch’ing Ta-an (C). Disciple of Hyakujo Ekai.

DAIBAIJO ZENJI, also known as Daibai Hojo (J), 752–839, Ta-mei Fa-ch’ang (C). A Chinese Zen Master of the Rinzai Church and a disciple of Baso Doitsu.

DAIBUTSUJI (J), Great Buddha Temple. The original name of Eiheiji. See also EIHEIJI.

DAIE SOKO (J), l089–ll63, Ta-hui Tsung-kao (C). A Chinese Zen Master of the Rinzai Church. He was famous for advocating the use of koans in meditation practice. He was posthumously known as Fukaku Zenji.

DAII DOSHIN (J), 580–651, Tao-hsin (C). A fourth century Chinese Zen Ancestor and a disciple of Kanchi Sosan. His teaching emphasized the unity of daily life and meditation. His chief disciple was Daiman Konin, the Fifth Ancestor and master of Daikan Eno.

DAIJOJI (J). A temple, situated in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan, which originally belonged to the Shingon Church but later became Soto. Keizan was Chief Abbot there for ten years. See also KEIZAN JOKIN.

DAIKAN ENO (J), 638–713, Hui-nêng (C). The Sixth Ancestor of Chinese Zen. While still a layman, he received the Transmission from Daiman Konin becoming a monk sometime later. His teaching is referred to as the “Southern Church of Zen” and all surviving Zen traditions are descended from him. He was responsible for the great spread of Zen in the T’ang dynasty and two of his most famous disciples are Seigen Gyoshi and Nangaku Ejo. He was posthumously known as Sokei Daishi or Daikan Zenji. His lectures were recorded by one of his disciples and are known as The Platform Scripture.

DAIMAN KONIN (J), 601–674, Hung-Jen (C). The Fifth Ancestor of Chinese Zen and teacher of Daikan Eno. He is also known as Goso Gunin or Obai Gunin since he lived on Mt. Obaisan for many years.

DAIOSHO (J). A Japanese term meaning Great Priest. See also OSHO.

DAISHI (J). A title given posthumously meaning Great Teacher or Master. For example, Keizan is known as Josai Daishi.

DANDOKUSEN (J), Dandaka or Dandaloka (S). A mountain in Gandhara, India, where the future Shakyamuni Buddha trained Himself prior to His enlightenment.


DASABHUMIKA (S), Ten stages. A chapter of the Kegon Scripture concerning the ten stages of the Bodhisattva’s training.


DENKOROKU (J), “The book of the Transmission of the Light.” The Denkoroku was written by Keizan as fifty-two biographical chapters showing how the Truth was passed down from Shakyamuni Buddha to Dogen. See also KEIZAN JOKIN.

DENTOROKU (J), “The Record of the Transmission of the Lamp.” The Keitoku Dentoroku was written by the Chinese priest Tao-hsuan in 1004. It presents the biographies of 1701 priests and teachers from the time of the Seven Buddhas.

DEPENDENT ORIGINATION, Paticca Samuppada (P). One of the earliest Buddhist teachings which explains the law of causal relationships. It describes the wheel of becoming which consists of twelve steps or stages, each stage giving rise to the next:– (1) Avijja—ignorance; (2) Sankhara—volitional formations (pre-dispositions); (3) Vinnana—consciousness; (4) Nama-rupa—name and form; (5) Salayatana—sense organs; (6) Phassa—contact; (7) Vedana—feeling or emotion; (8) Tanha—craving; (9) Upadana—clinging or attachment; (10) Bhava—becoming; (11) Jati—birth; (12) Jaramarana—decay and death.

DEVA (S), ten (J). (1) Gods; heavenly beings; beings in possession of supernatural powers. (2) A great person who, having understood the Truth, leads others to it.
DEVILS. (1) Beings from hell. (2) The personifications of the egocentric self, greed, hate and delusion. See also HELL, MARA.

DHAMMAPADA (P), The Way of Truth. An early Buddhist Scripture emphasizing good moral conduct, meditation and self-discipline.

DHARANI (S). Litany, hymn; a brief Buddhist Scripture similar to the even-shorter Mantras. Often used as a religious invocation or as the core of a Scripture to encourage a religious attitude of mind, such as compassion, gratitude or faith. A Dharani must not be understood as a magical formula.

DHARMA (S), ho (J), fa (C). (1) Law, Truth, the Teachings of the Buddhas and Ancestors. (2) The second of the Three Treasures and Refuges:– “I take refuge in the Dharma.” The Dharma is the medicine for all suffering as it teaches the way to transcend greed, hate and delusion.

DHARMA HEIR. A senior priest who has been named by his Master as a Master in his own right with permission to teach. In the Soto tradition a teacher may transmit the Dharma to any number of people but name only one or two of his worthiest disciples to be his heirs.


DHARMACHAKRA (S), horin (J), The Wheel of the Law. An eight-spoked wheel symbolizing the eightfold path. Often a tomoe is depicted in the center. See also MANJI, TOMOE.

DHARMAKAYA (S), Hosshin (J), Law Body. The highest of the Three Bodies (Trikaya) of the Buddha, representing Absolute Truth, Buddha Mind. The Dharmakaya is one’s own True Nature and can be realized directly for oneself through one’s own training. See also THREE BODIES.

DHYANA (S), jhana (P), Zen (J), ch’an (C), Meditation.

DIAMOND SCRIPTURE, Vajracchedika Prajnaparamita Sutra (S), Kongo-kyo (J). One of the Great Wisdom Scriptures which succinctly deals with the training of the Bodhisattva especially relating to the awakening of True Wisdom and to the practice of the Six Paramitas. The Diamond Scripture is widely used in all Mahayana traditions and it was this Scripture which Daikan Eno used to teach his disciples. See also PRAJNAPARAMITA.

DISCRIMINATORY MIND. The mind of duality.

DO (J), see WAY.

DOAN (J). A disciplinarian’s monitor in a Zen temple. See also SAMANTABHADRA BODHISATTVA.

DOGEN KIGEN (J), 1200–1253. Founder of the Soto Zen Church in Japan. He was of noble birth and was orphaned as a child. He entered the priesthood at the age of twelve, studied Tendai on Mt. Hiei and then went on to study under Myoan Eisai at Kenninji Temple. In 1223 he journeyed to China with Eisai’s disciple, Myozen, in order to study Zen, eventually entering Tendozan Keitokuji where he became the disciple of Tendo Nyojo Zenji, one of the great Soto Zen teachers then alive: he became Nyojo Zenji’s Dharma Heir receiving the Transmission from him. He returned to Japan in 1227; he was at first Abbot of Kenninji, then Abbot of Koshoji and later founded Eiheiji in 1244. His chief disciple was Koun Ejo. His major works are the Shobogenzo, the Eihei-koroku, the Eihei-shingi and the Kyojukaimon. He was given the posthumous title of Koso Joyo Daishi. He is widely acknowledged to be Japan’s greatest religious thinker. See also NYOJO, TENDOZAN KEITOKUJI.

DOKUSAN (J). Spiritual counseling with a Rinzai Zen Master. Another term for sanzen.

DRAGON, ryu (J), naga (S). (1) The Buddhist symbol of the Defender of the Faith. The term can refer to either people who aid and protect Buddhism or to heavenly beings who safeguard the Dharma. (2) Supernatural beings (Ryuten—J). See also BUTSUDANDA RYO-O.

DUKKHA (P), suffering. The first of the Four Noble Truths.

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ECHU, Nanyo Echu (J), c. 776, Nan-yang Hui-chang (C). A Chinese Zen Master and a disciple of the Sixth Ancestor, Daikan Eno. He was the teacher of two emperors. His chief disciple was Tangen Oshin. Echu was also known as Chu Kokushi, Ryotei Kokushi and Daisho Zenji.

EIGHT MISERIES. Eight types of human suffering:– (1) birth,
(2) old age, (3) decay, (4) death, (5) being apart from loved ones, (6) being together with those one hates, (7) being unable to get what one wants, (8) being attached to a false notion of self and being attached to existence itself.

EIGHTFOLD PATH. The way to transcend suffering as taught by Shakyamuni Buddha in the fourth Noble Truth. The eight stages are right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration. See also FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS.

EIGHTY-EIGHT OPINIONS. The various false views that arise as a result of desire and attachment.


EIHEI (J). Refers to Eihei Temple.

EIHEI KAISAN (J), founder of Eihei, i.e. Dogen, q.v.

EIHEIJI (J). Eihei Temple, one of the two head temples of the Soto Zen Church, founded in Echizen in Fukui Prefecture in 1244, by Dogen. Its original name was Daibutsuji.

EISAI, Myoan Eisai (J), 1141–1215. A Japanese Zen Master considered to be the founder of Rinzai Zen in Japan. Eisai first studied Tendai on Mt. Hiei, visiting China for a year in 1168 in order to deepen his Tendai training; he returned to China in 1186 this time to study Zen. He became the disciple of Kian Esho of the Oryo lineage of the Rinzai tradition. Eisai returned to Japan in 1191. In 1194 he founded Shofukuji, the first Rinzai Zen temple in Japan and later became Abbot of Kenninji in Kyoto. Eisai’s chief disciple was Ryonen Myozen. Dogen studied Rinzai Zen under Eisai and, later, under Myozen with whom he went to China. Eisai’s teaching was a combination of Rinzai, Tendai and Pure Land. See also DOGEN KIGEN, MYOZEN, TENDAI.




ENDLESS TRAINING. Spiritual training without end or limit; the flowing and going on which embodies the highest Truth.


ENGAKU DAISHI (J), Fully Enlightened Great Teacher. Refers to Bodhidharma.

ENGO KOKUGON (J), 1063–1135, Yuan-wu K’o-ch’in (C). A Chinese Zen Master. He was the disciple of Goso Hoyen and the master of Daie Soko. Engo wrote the commentary on the Hekiganroku.

ENLIGHTENMENT, Nirvana, Bodhi (S). Religious realization or understanding.


ESHI (J), 515–577, Hui-ssu (C). The Second Ancestor of the Chinese Tendai Church and the teacher of Chigi (Chih-i—C). See also TENDAI.

ESOTERIC BUDDHISM. Refers to Zen and some churches of Tibetan Buddhism.

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FAITH. In Soto Zen faith is of the greatest importance since it is the entrance to training. Faith gives rise to true conviction, to humility and eventually to true wisdom and certain knowledge.


FIRST MIND. The mind of the sincere beginner; open, naıve, determined and willing to bow.

FIVE BUDDHAS. Buddhas found in esoteric Buddhism.

FIVE DHYANAS. The Five Wisdoms of esoteric Buddhism which correspond to the Five Buddhas. See also FIVE BUDDHAS.

FIVE DISCOMFORTS. Discomforts said to be felt by heavenly beings (devas) when their good karma runs out and decay sets in.

FIVE LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE. The five laws by which the universe operates are:– 1) the laws of the physical world—the world is not answerable to one’s personal will; (2) the laws of the organic world—all things flow; (3) the laws of morality—karma is inexorable; (4) the laws of the Dharma—evil is vanquished and good prevails; (5) the laws of mind—the will to enlightenment: the intuitive knowledge of the Buddha Nature occurs to all men.

FIVE SCHOOLS (CHURCHES). During the late T’ang dynasty in China, there were five Zen traditions, all of which had descended from the Sixth Ancestor; the five were Soto, Rinzai, Igyo, Ummon and Hogen.

FIVE THOUGHTS. The Five Thoughts, which are part of the mealtime ceremonial, encourage trainees to reflect carefully on their attitude of mind. In Chinese temples the Dining Hall is called the “Hall of the Five Thoughts.”

FOUNDER’S HALL, kaisando (J). A hall where the relics of the priest who founded the temple are enshrined.

FOUR BENEFACTORS. They are:– (1) the Buddha, (2) the head of state (President, King or Queen), (3) one’s parents and (4) all people.

FOUR ELEMENTS. Fire, air, water and earth; the four classical elements that combine to produce existence. Sometimes five elements are named, wind, ether, or consciousness, being the fifth.

FOUR EXISTENCES, or Lives. The four categories of Buddhists (Fourfold Pure Assembly):– male priests, female priests, laymen and laywomen.

FOUR GUARDIAN KINGS, Shitenno (J). The four deities in the lowest heaven who guard the four directions:– Bishamon-ten (Vaisravana—S) who guards the north; Zojo-ten (Virudhaka—S) who guards the south; Jikoku-ten (Dhrtarastra—S) who guards the east and Komoku-ten (Virupaksa—S) who guards the west.


FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS. These are:– (1) suffering exists; (2) suffering’s cause; (3) suffering’s end; (4) the Eightfold Path. See the EIGHTFOLD PATH.

FOUR TYPES OF ACTION. Sitting, walking, lying down and standing still.

FOUR VIEWS. (1) There is impurity of body; (2) there is pain in sensation; (3) mind is transient; (4) things have no ego.

FOUR VOWS. The four Bodhisattva vows. (1) However innumerable beings are, I vow to save them; (2) However inexhaustible the passions are, I vow to transform them; (3) However limitless the Dharma is, I vow to understand it completely; (4) However infinite the Buddha’s Truth is, I vow to attain it.

FOUR WISDOMS. Charity, tenderness, benevolence and sympathy.



FUKANZAZENGI (J). Dogen’s Rules for Meditation.

FULL-LOTUS. The form of cross-legged sitting in which each foot is placed over the opposite thigh.

FUNZOE (J). The seven types of rags used in making the kesa.

FUTOROKU (J), Record of the Lamp compiled in 1204 by the Chinese priest Lei-an Cheng-shou.

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GAITAN (J), outside sitting place. The meditation platform outside the Meditation Hall.

GASAN, Kassan Zene (J), 805–881, Chia-shan-hui (C). A Chinese Zen Master. He was a disciple of the famous Boatman Priest, Sensu Tokujo, and a contemporary of Tozan Ryokai.

GASSAN JOSEKI (J), 1275–1365. A disciple of Keizan, Gassan was installed as Abbot of Sojiji one year before Keizan’s death.

GASSHO (J). The Buddhist mudra which expresses gratitude and humility.

GAUTAMA (S). Shakyamuni Buddha’s name prior to enlightenment.

GEDO ZEN (J), wrong way. Training done solely to gain power, unusual experiences, visions, etc.

GENII, plural of genius. Refers to the people considered to be the most brilliant in India.

GENJO-KOAN (J). The koan that appears naturally in daily life.

GHEE (S). Clarified butter; considered to be a great delicacy in India.

GOI THEORY (J). Tozan’s Five Ranks.

GREAT DOUBT. Great questioning or probing.

GREAT GRIEF, Kokoro Kanashiku (J), the grief of the heart.


GYOJI (J). Endless training.

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HAISEKI (J), Bowing seat.

HAKAMA (J). A skirt-like garment worn in Japan.

HALF-LOTUS. A form of cross-legged sitting in which one foot is placed on the opposite thigh whilst the other rests on the sitting place.

HAN (J). The wooden board which is struck with a mallet to signal various events in a temple.

HAN PERIOD. A Chinese dynasty; 25–225 a.d.

HARA (J). The triangular region of the front of the body formed from the base of the sternum and reaching down the sides of the rib cage to just below the navel.

HARANA (J), Varanasi (P). The place in India where Shakyamuni Buddha first began to teach after His enlightenment.


HEAVEN, ten (J). One of the Six Worlds, or Lokas, inhabited by devas (angels or gods).

HELL, niraya (S). One of the Six Lokas or Worlds.

HERESY. In Buddhism, the term heresy implies wrong understanding, delusion or not seeing clearly: it does not imply a violation of doctrine.

HIEI, MOUNT, or HIEI-ZAN (J). The headquarters of the Japanese Tendai Church is located on Mt. Hiei.

HINAYANA (S), the small vehicle as contrasted with Mahayana or the large vehicle.

HIPARAKUTSU (J). A cave near Rajagrha where it is believed Makakashyo was meditating when Shakyamuni Buddha entered Parinirvana.

HOGEN BUNEKI (J), 855–958, Fa-yen Wen-i (C). Founder of the Hogen (Fa-yen—C) Church of Chinese Buddhism and a disciple of Rakan Keishin.


HONDO (J). Hall of a temple where ceremonies are held and lectures given.

HONSHI (J). True Master; the master by whom a trainee is Transmitted.

HOSSEN (J). The name of the ceremony in which a trainee is given the rank of Chief Junior; one of the four ceremonies of Kessei.



HUNGRY GHOST, gaki (J), preta (S). An occupant of one of the Six Worlds depicted with a tiny throat and bloated stomach.

HYAKUJO EKAI (J), 720–814, Pai-chang Huai-hai (C). One of the great Chinese Zen Masters of the T’ang dynasty. He was one of Baso’s Dharma Heirs and the master of Obaku Kiun (Huang-Po) and Isan Reiyu. He established the first formal rules of Zen training called Hyakujo-shingi, or the Zen Temple Regulations. He was famous for his teaching, “A day without work is a day without eating.” He is known for the famous koan “Hyakujo’s Fox.” See also ZEN TEMPLE REGULATIONS.


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IGYO ZEN (J), Kuei-yang (C). One of the five schools (churches) of Zen in China, founded by Isan Reiyu in the eighth century. It was quickly absorbed into the Rinzai Church. See ISAN REIYU.

INDRA, also Sakra (S). The Hindu creator of the world. According to Buddhist Scriptures, Indra was converted to the Dharma and is often portrayed as asking questions. See also HEAVEN.

INO (J). The Chief Disciplinarian in a Zen temple.

IRON MAN, tetsugen (J), Vajrasattva (S). The immovable, imperturbable and indestructible Buddha Nature within one.

ISAN REIYU (J), 771–853, Kuei-shan Ling-yu (C). A Chinese Zen Master, a disciple of Hyakujo. His two main students were Reiun Shigon and Gyozan Ejaku. He established the Igyo Church of Zen, the name coming from the first syllables of Isan and Gyozan.

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JATAKA TALES. Tales of the Buddha’s previous lives, used to express aspects of the Buddha’s teaching.

-JI (J), -ssu (C). A suffix used to indicate a temple, as in Eiheiji (Eihei Temple). Sometimes a temple is known by the name of the mountain it is situated on as in Tendozan (Mt. Tendo).

JIISHA (J). A priest constantly with the Abbot, or constantly with a priest who is his senior: he is not a servant although he may help the Abbot in many ways. The post of jiisha is much sought after; this is because a jiisha is not only constantly with his teacher, thus having the advantage of constant teaching, but also since the future Abbot of a temple is frequently the former Abbot’s jiisha—Makakshyo was jiisha to Shakyamuni Buddha; Ananda was second jiisha to Shakyamuni and first jiisha to Makakashyo.

JIKIDO (J). The Meditation Hall monitor.

JIKKO (J). An assistant jiisha.

JINSHU JOZA (J), 605–706, Shen-hsui (C). He was the foremost and most learned disciple of the Fifth Chinese Ancestor, Daiman Konin. It was assumed that he would become the Sixth Ancestor but Daikan Eno had the True understanding and was given the Transmission. Later Jinshu received the Transmission and formed what was known as the “Northern Church of Zen” as opposed to Eno’s “Southern Church.” Jinshu taught gradual, while Eno taught sudden, enlightenment. They were referred to as the “Ancestors of South and North.”

JODO (J), Pure Land. The Western Paradise of Shin Buddhism. See also AMITABHA and PURE LAND BUDDHISM.

JODO (J). (1) The festival of the attainment of Buddhahood held on December 8th. (2) A Zen ceremony in which the Abbot ascends the high altar to be tested in mondo (question and answer) on his realization of the Truth. One of the Kessei ceremonies.


JOGO-TEN (J). (1) Fourth heaven in the world of form. (2) The personification of the world.
JOSHU JUSHIN (J), 788–897, Chao-chou Ts’ung-shen (C). One of the most famous of the Chinese Zen Masters. He was a disciple of Nansen Fugan and was posthumously known as Shinsai Zenji. He is most famous for the koan “Mu.”

JU (J), stage. Refers to the ten stages of the Bodhisattva.

JUKAI (J). The festival at the time of the taking of the Precepts by all trainees and lay Buddhists.

JUKAI SESSHIN (J). The week retreat during which lay trainees receive the Precepts and formally become Buddhists.

JUKAI TOKUDO (J). Lay ordination; becoming a lay Buddhist.

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KAISAN (J). The founder of a temple, as in Eihei Kaisan (the founder of Eiheiji, i.e. Dogen) and Soji Kaisan (the founder of Sojiji, i.e. Keizan). A posthumous title of a temple’s founder.

KALEIDOSCOPIC MIND. That state of mind that flows, adapting to every situation, responding accordingly and holding on to, and discriminating against, nothing.

KALPA (S). An aeon.

KANADAIBA (J), Kanadeva (S). The chief disciple of the Indian Ancestor Nagyaarajyuna and the fifteenth Ancestor after Shakyamuni Buddha.

KANCHI SOSAN (J), d. 606, Seng-ts’an (C). The Third Chinese Ancestor, a disciple of Taiso Eka and grand-disciple of Bodhidharma. The famous Zen poem “On Trust in the Heart” (Shinjin-mei—J) is attributed to him. His chief disciple was Daii Doshin, the Fourth Chinese Ancestor.

KANIN (J). The Chief Administrator, under the Abbot and Vice Abbot, of a Zen training temple; one of the Chiji.


KANTHAKA (P). Prince Siddhartha Gautama’s horse.



KARMA (S), kamma (P). Action, resulting from cause, and its effect. The Law of Cause and Effect; the third of the Five Laws of the Universe.

KAROKU PERIOD. Around 1227, the year in which Dogen wrote the Fukanzazengi.

KASHIKOKU (J). That area of India just north of Magadha.


KEGON (J), Hua-yen (C), Avatamsaka (S). A Chinese church of Buddhism based upon the teachings of the Avatamsaka Scripture. It was founded by Tojun (557–640) and flourished under Hozo (643–712). Much of the Kegon teaching was influenced by Zen and many Zen teachers adopted some of the Kegon teaching for use in training their students. Kegon was introduced to Japan by Dosen (702–760) in 736. It is a relatively small church with only thirty temples in Japan today. See also KEGON-KYO.

KEGON-KYO (J), Hua-yen-ching (C), Avatamsaka Sutra (S), Garland Scripture. The teaching of Shakyamuni Buddha during the three weeks immediately after His enlightenment while He was still in a deep state of meditation. The Gandavyuha and Dasabhumika Scripture are sections of this Scripture.

KEIZAN JOKIN (J), 1267–1325. One of the two famous Ancestors of Japanese Soto Zen and the founder of Sojiji. He entered the priesthood at the age of twelve under Koun Ejo, the successor to Dogen and second Abbot of Eiheiji. He later studied with Tetsâ Gikai under whom he attained enlightenment. He was Abbot of Daijoji for ten years thereafter establishing Sojiji. Dogen is regarded as the father of Soto Zen in Japan whilst Keizan is thought of as its mother. Keizan is responsible for the wide spread of Soto Zen in Japan. His writings include the Denkoroku, Zazen-yojinki and most of the Soto Zen ceremonial. See also SOJIJI, DENKOROKU.

KENNINJI (J). One of the head temples of the Rinzai Church in Kyoto founded in 1202 by Myoan Eisai. Dogen trained there under Eisai and later under Myozen. On his return from China, Dogen was appointed Abbot of Kenninji. See also DOGEN KIGEN.

KENSHO (J), to see into one’s own nature. The experience of enlightenment, satori (J).

KENTAN (J). A tour of the Meditation Hall either performed by the Abbot or the Chief Junior.

KESA (J), kasaya (S). The Buddhist priest’s robe.

KESSEI (J). That series of ceremonies performed whenever a new Abbot has a trainee whom he feels is ready for the rank of Chief Junior.

KINHIN (J), mindful walking. Walking meditation.

KINMEI (J). Emperor Kinmei ruled over Japan in the sixth century a.d. During his reign (552) the first Buddha statue was brought to Japan from Korea.

KOAN (J), kung-an (C), public case. A statement or story, used usually by a Rinzai Zen Master, as a teaching device.

KOHO KEIDO CHISAN ZENJI (J), l879–l967. Former Chief Abbot of Sojiji who received Roshi P.T.N.H. Jiyu-Kennett as disciple in 1962 and Transmitted, i.e. gave higher ordination to, her in 1963. See also SOJIJI.


KONDANNA (P). The Brahmin invited to the naming ceremony of the future Shakyamuni Buddha who predicted that the child would renounce the world to seek Nirvana. Kondanna later became one of the Buddha’s followers and attained enlightenment under Him.

KOROMO (J). A priest’s robe.

KOSEI (J). Refers to Baso Doitsu.

KOSHOJI (J). A temple in Uji, in Japan, established by Dogen in 1236. He was Abbot there until he established Eiheiji in 1244.

KOSO (J), Great Monk. Dogen is referred to as Eihei Koso, Great Monk of Eihei.

KOUN EJO (J), 1198–1280. Dogen’s chief disciple and the second Abbot of Eiheiji. His chief work is the Shobogenzo Zuimonki. His successor was Tetsâ Gikai, Keizan’s master.

KOYA, MOUNT (J). A mountain in Japan, the location of the headquarters of the Shingon Church. In 816, Kobo Daishi founded a temple there.

KSHATRIYA (S). The warrior caste; one of the four Indian castes. See BRAHMIN.


KUKKUTAPADA (S), Mount Keisoku (J). The mountain in Magadha where Makakashyo died.

KUO BUDDHA (J), Dharmagahana bhyudgata Raja (S). A Buddha mentioned in the Lotus Scripture as having taught the understanding of the Absolute.

KUTSUJUN (J). A fine-textured cloth resembling cotton. Bodhidharma’s kesa was of blue-black kutsujun.

KYOJUKAIMON (J). Dogen’s explanation of the Buddhist Precepts.

KYOSAKU (J), awakening stick.

KYOSHI (J). A word used to indicate a Japanese teaching of divinity degree. It is received from a licensed seminary temple where the priest has undergone training.

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LANKAVATARA SUTRA (S), Ryogikyo (J), The Lanka Entering Scripture. A Mahayana Scripture widely studied by Zen trainees from the time of Bodhidharma until Daikan Eno.



LIGHT. Another word for Dharma, Truth and Wisdom.

LITANY OF THE GREAT COMPASSIONATE ONE, Daihishin Dharani (J). An Indian Buddhist Scripture addressed to Avalokitesvara.

LOKA (S), world. The Six Lokas represent the states of being produced by the three fires of greed, hate, and delusion.

LORD. Refers to Buddha and that which shows Buddha.

LORD OF THE HOUSE. Buddha in each being, Buddha Nature, Cosmic Buddha; That which is not explicable in terms of existence and non-existence or self and other. Another term for Buddha Mind, Iron Man, True Heart.

LOTUS BLOSSOM, renge (J), padma, pundarika (S). A Buddhist symbol for training, enlightenment, compassion and purity.


LOTUS SCRIPTURE, Hoke-kyo or Myo-ho-renge-kyo (J), Saddharma Pundarika (S). The Lotus of the Good Law Scripture. A Mahayana Buddhist Scripture which teaches that all living things have the Buddha Nature and can attain Buddhahood.

LUMBINI (P). The grove of trees at Kabira where Shakyamuna Buddha was born.

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MAGADHA (S), Makada (J). The area in northern India where the Bodhi Tree was located and where Shakyamuni Buddha began His teaching. King Bimbisara, a follower of the Dharma, ruled Magadha during the Buddha’s life.

MAHA MAYA (S). The mother of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, the future Shakyamuni Buddha. She died seven days after His birth.

MAHA PRAJAPATI (S). Aunt of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, the future Shakyamuni Buddha. She took care of the new-born prince after His mother’s death. Later, she became the first female member of the priesthood.



MAHASATTVA (S), great being. Avalokitesvara is referred to as a Bodhisattva-Mahasattva.

MAHAYANA (S), large vehicle. One of the two major divisions of Buddhism. See HINAYANA.

MAITREYA (S), Miroku (J), also called Jushi (J), Loving One. The Buddha who is to come. He is waiting, as a Bodhisattva, in the Tushita heaven. To realise one’s own Buddha Nature is to bring Maitreya here.


MAKAKASHYO (J), Mahakasyapa (S), also called Kasyapa, Kasho. One of the ten great disciples of Shakyamuni Buddha. Born into a Brahmin family, he became a disciple of the Buddha and reached Understanding in only eight days.

MAKYO (J). Hallucinations, which must be distinguished from genuine religious visions, which may arise during meditation; usually due to incorrect breathing, posture or physical or mental stress.


MANDALA (S), mandara (J). A diagram which expresses a religious view of the universe by means of symbols or portraits of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

MANDARA BLOSSOMS (J). Heavenly red flowers.


MANJI (J), swastika (S). The ancient symbol of Indian Buddhism. See also TOMOE.

MANJUSRI BODHISATTVA (S), Monju Bosatsu (J). Manjusri personifies great wisdom (prajna).

MANTRA (S), shingon (J), True Word. A very short Scripture comprised of a few Sanskrit words. Mantras are not magical spells; they rather express the essence of a Scripture.

MANZAN DOHAKU (J), 1635–1714. A great Japanese Soto Zen Master who lived twenty-two generations after Dogen. He was the Chief Abbot of Eiheiji and later became the Abbot of Daijoji.

MARA (S). The personification of all temptations to evil and distractions from training.

MAT, zagu (J). A priest’s rectangular bowing mat used during meditation and ceremonies.


MERIT. The Buddhist teaching that positive spiritual good arises from training and the keeping of the Precepts.

MIAO-HSIN (C), Myoshin (J). A famous female Chinese Zen priest and a disciple of Gyozan Ejaku. She became well known for instructing seventeen priests on the meaning of the “Wind and Flag” koan (Mumonkan, twenty-ninth chapter).

MIDDLE EXISTENCE. The time between death and the next rebirth. In traditional Buddhism, it is believed to take a maximum of forty-nine days.

MIDDLE WAY. Another term for the Dharma which teaches the middle way between over-indulgence and asceticism. The way of non-attachment.


MO SHAN (C), Massan Ryonen (J). A famous female Chinese Zen Master during the late T’ang dynasty. She was a disciple of Koan Daigu (Kao-an Ta-yu) and a contemporary of Rinzai. Little about her has survived.

MOKKENREN (J), Maudgalyayana or Mangalama (S). One of the Buddha’s ten great disciples and a friend of Shariputra.

MONDO (J), question and answer. A verbal, spiritual interchange between master and disciple, or between Zen priests, used to deepen spiritual training and clarify understanding. It is not an intellectual or philosophical exercise but arises naturally from heart to heart. In Zen, True mondo is like “two arrows in mid-air that meet.”


MOST EXCELLENT MIRROR—SAMADHI, Hokyo-Zammai (J). Scripture written by Tozan Ryokai, one of the founders of the Soto Zen Church.


MU (J), wu (C), no, not, nothing. Immaculacy, Buddha Mind.

MUDRA (S). Gestures used in Buddhist ceremonies and iconography.

MYOZEN, Ryonen Myozen (J), 1184–1225. The chief disciple of Eisai, founder of the Rinzai Church in Japan. He taught Dogen for nine years after Eisai’s death and, in 1223, went with Dogen to China where he died in 1225.

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NAGYAARAJYUNA (J), Nagarjuna (S), c. 200 a.d. One of the great Buddhist teachers and writers of India. He is in the Madhyamika (Middle Way) tradition. His commentaries on the Great Wisdom Scriptures are studied by many churches of Buddhism. He is the fourteenth Ancestor in the Zen tradition.

NANGAKU EJO (J), 677–744, Nan-yueh Huai-jang (C). A Chinese Zen Master and one of the great disciples of the Sixth Ancestor, Daikan Eno. He and his brother disciple Seigen head the two great lines of Chinese Zen which later spread into the five schools (churches).

NANSEN FUGAN (J), 748–835, Nan-ch’uan P’u-yuan (C). A Chinese Zen Master, disciple of Baso Doitsu. Nansen is known for a number of famous koans, including “the cutting of the cat.”


NEMBUTSU (J), nien-fo (C), to think on Buddha. The repetition of the Buddha’s name. The term generally refers to the Pure Land, or Jodo Shinshu, practice of reciting Namu Amida Butsu (Homage to Amitabha Buddha).

NERANJARA RIVER (P). The river by which the future Shakyamuni Buddha sat in order to realise His enlightenment.

NI-OSHO (J), female (ni) priest (osho). A woman priest; a priestess.

NIRMANAKAYA (S), ojin (J), transformation body. The first of the Three Bodies (Trikaya) of the Buddha. This is the physical Shakyamuni Who is seen in the world. See also THREE BODIES.

NIRVANA (S), nehan (J). That which is realized at the time of enlightenment.

NOVICE MASTER. A senior priest in charge of the instruction of priest trainees.

NYOI (J). A scepter carried by a celebrant during ceremonies.

NYOI JEWEL (J), cintamani (S). A jewel capable of removing all suffering. A symbol of the Dharma and the Three Treasures united into one jewel.

NYOJO, Tendo Nyojo (J), 1163–1228, T’ien-t’ung Ju-ching (C). Chinese Zen Master, Abbot of Tendozan Keitokuji and Dogen’s master. Nyojo advocated a strong Zazen practice and strict training. See also DOGEN KIGEN, TENDOZAN KEITOKUJI.


NYUDO-NO-HAI (J). (1) The ceremony during which a new trainee enters the Meditation Hall for the first time. (2) Refers to the induction ceremony of a new Chief Junior. See also CHIEF JUNIOR.

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OBAKU KIUN (J), d. 850, Huang-po Hsi-yOn (C). A Chinese Zen Master, the chief disciple of Hyakujo Ekai, and Rinzai’s master. One of the Japanese Zen churches bears his name. See also OBAKU ZEN.

OBAKU ZEN (J). One of the three Zen churches in Japan. It was brought to Japan by Ingen Ryuki (1592–1673) a Chinese Zen priest. Obaku Zen is actually a mixture of Zen and Pure Land practices and has a relatively small following in Japan. Its head temple is Mampukuji at Uji in Kyoto. Obaku was not a separate Zen church in China but arose out of the amalgamation of Zen and Pure Land during the Ming dynasty.


OHIGAN (J), crossing over. The Japanese festival held at the equinox.

OM (S). A word often used as the invocation of a mantra or dharani and also as a mantra by itself. It originally came from Hinduism.

ONE MIND. A word referring to Nirvana, Buddha Mind and Dharmakaya.

ONE VEHICLE, ichijo (J), Ekayana (S). The One Way; the Buddha Path.

ORYO ENAN (J), 1002–1069, Huang-lung Hui-nan (C). A Chinese Zen Master of the Rinzai Church who lived on Mt. Oryu.


ORYUZAN (J), yellow dragon mountain. Oryo Enan lived there for many years. See also ORYO ENAN.

OSHO (J), upadhyaya (S). A Buddhist priest.

OX-HERDING PICTURES. A series of ten pictures depicting Zen training. These drawings are attributed to Kaku-an Shi-en, a Chinese Zen priest of the twelfth century.

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PARAMITA (S), reaching the other shore. The Paramitas are the qualities that arise from meditation and training and are the signs of enlightenment. The Six Paramitas are (1) giving (dana—S), (2) keeping of the Precepts (sila), (3) patience (kshanti),
(4) vigor (virya), (5) meditation (dhyana) and (6) wisdom (prajna). Other Paramitas sometimes included are (7) skillful means (upaya), (8) commitment (pranidhana), (9) strength (bala) and (10) knowledge and understanding (jnana). The Paramitas are fully discussed in the Diamond and Great Wisdom Scriptures. See also FOUR WISDOMS.

PARINIRVANA (S), complete, all, round (pari) Nirvana. Parinirvana means complete and final extinction of greed, hate and delusion; rest, eternal meditation.
PARINIRVANA SCRIPTURE. The scripture of the last words of Shakyamuni Buddha before His Parinirvana (passing into eternal meditation).

PARYANKA (S), kekka-fuza (J), see FULL-LOTUS.


PLATFORM SCRIPTURE. A collection of sermons delivered by Daikan Eno, the Sixth Ancestor of Chinese Zen. They were compiled by his disciple Fa-hai.

PRAJNA (S), hannya (J), wisdom. Seeing clearly. The Wisdom that is beyond discriminatory thought that arises naturally from meditation and diligent training.

PRAJNAPARAMITA (S), Hannya haramita (J), the perfecting of wisdom.

PRATYEKABUDDHA (S), dokkaku, engaku (J), self-enlightened. A general term referring to one who is enlightened as a result of his own efforts but does not share his understanding with others.

PRECENTOR. The priest who intones and leads Scriptural recitations. See INO.

PRECEPTOR. The priest who gives the Precepts to new priest-trainees.

PRECEPTS, kai (J), sila (S). The ways of living that are in accordance with the Dharma.

PURE LAND BUDDHISM. The Mahayana church based on faith in Amitabha Buddha. It arose in fourth century China never having existed in India.

PYTHON. As used by Keizan it refers to those trainees who cling to solitude and their own enlightenment, refusing to help others.

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QUIETISM. A spiritual disease caused by a grave misunderstanding of karma.

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RAHULA (P), impediment. The son of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, the future Shakyamuni Buddha.

RAKHUSU (J). A small kesa (priest’s robe) worn around the neck.

RASAN DOKAN (J), Lo-shan Tao-hsien (C). A Chinese Zen Master of the late T’ang dynasty.

REIUN SHIGON (J), Ling-yun Chih-ch’in (C). A Chinese Zen Master, disciple of Isan Reiyu. He was enlightened, after many years of training, on seeing peach blossoms.

RENGESHIKI (J), Utpalavarna (P). A female priest during the time of Shakyamuni Buddha. Originally she was a prostitute who entertained her clientele by wearing different costumes. Someone suggested she put on a kesa; she did so and was at once converted to the Three Treasures. She was taught by Maha Prajapati.

RI (J), li (C). A measure of distance, approximately one-third of a mile.

RINZAI KIGEN (J), d. 866, Lin-chi I-hsuan (C). A Chinese Zen Master, founder of the Rinzai Church of Zen.

RINZAI ZEN (J), Lin-Chi (C). One of the five schools (churches) of Zen in China and one of the three present-day Zen traditions in Japan. It was founded by the Chinese Zen Master Rinzai Kigen and is known for its use of koans. It was brought to Japan by Eisai in 1191.

ROSHI (J), reverend master.



RUPA (S), form or matter. Used to express body, matter, statue or portrait; i.e. Buddha-rupa = Buddha form.

RYO, EMPEROR OF, Butei (J), Wu-ti of the Liang dynasty (C). The Chinese emperor who questioned Bodhidharma on Buddhism.



RYOJU, MOUNT, Ryozen (J), Grdhrakuta (S). A mountain in India known as Vulture Peak.

RYOKAI PERIOD (J). The Liang dynasty in China, 502–557 a.d.


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SACRISTAN. The temple officer in charge of the ceremony halls.

SALA TREES. Shakyamuni Buddha passed into Parinirvana while lying in a grove of sala trees.

SAMADHI (S), zammai (J), Meditation.

SAMANTABHADRA BODHISATTVA (S), Fugen Bosatsu (J), Full of Virtue.

SAMBHOGAKAYA (S), Hojin (J), reward body. The second of the Three Bodies of the Trikaya representing the reward of training.

SAMMYAKU-SAMBODAI (J), Samyak-sambodhi (S). The supreme, perfect and complete enlightenment of the Buddha.

SAMSARA (S), shoji (J), this world of life and death.

SANDOKAI (J), Ts’an-t’ung-chi (C), the harmonizing of the all is one and the all is different. A Zen Scripture written by Sekito Kisen.

SANGE (J), contrition, confession, repentance. The sincere recognition of all that is wrong within one and the acceptance of one’s past karma. Sange is the true source of religious humility and a principal gateway to enlightenment.

SANGHA (S), so (J). The community of those who follow the Buddha’s Teaching: male priests, female priests, laymen, laywomen.

SANZEN (J). Spiritual direction under a Zen Master.

SARIRA (S), shari (J). The relics of the Buddhas, or of any priest, after cremation.

SATORI (J). Sudden understanding.

SATTVA (S), sentient being.


SCRIPTURE OF GREAT WISDOM; Hannya-Shingyo; full name:– Makahannya haramita shingyo (J); Mahaprajna paramita hrdaya sutra (S). Sometimes called the Heart Scripture since it is considered to be the essence, or heart, of the Great Wisdom Scripture.

SCRIPTURE OF THREE THOUSAND MANNERS. A Scripture that is concerned with the conduct of priests. One of several extensions of the Vinaya.

SEAL, or Mind Seal. A term used to refer to the Transmission.

SECK KIM SENG (C), 1913–1980. Former Abbot of Cheng Hoon Teng Temple in Malacca, Malaysia, and Roshi P.T.N.H. Jiyu-Kennett’s ordination master.

SEIGEN GYOSHI (J), d. 740, Ch’ing-yuan Hsing-ssu (C). A Chinese Zen Master, one of the great disciples of the Sixth Ancestor, Daikan Eno.

SEKITO KISEN (J), 700–790, Shih-t’ou Hsi-ch’ien (C). A Chinese Zen Master. At first a disciple of the Sixth Ancestor, Daikan Eno, he trained under Seigen Gyoshi after Daikan Eno’s death.

SEKKO (J). A Zen Master.

SELF. Refers to the worldly mind that is dominated by self-

SENSEI (J), teacher. A term sometimes used to address Zen priests in Japan.

SENSU TOKUJO (J), Ch’uan-tzu Te-ch’eng (C). A Chinese Zen Master and disciple of Yakusan Igen. He was called Sensu, the Boatman Priest, since he worked as a ferryman. His disciple was Kassan Zene (Gasan).

SEPPO GIZON (J), 822–908, Hsueh-feng I-ts’un (C). A Chinese Zen Master, disciple of Tokusan Senkan. Seppo was the master of Ummon Bun’en, the founder of the Ummon Church of Zen.

SESSHIN (J), searching the heart.

SEVEN BUDDHAS, Kakoshichibutsu (J). The historical Shakyamuni Buddha and the six Buddhas preceding Him.

SEVEN TREASURES. They are:– (1) faith (sraddha—S); (2) keeping the Precepts (sila); (3) humility (hri); (4) renouncing evil (apatrapya); (5) learning (sruta); (6) self-training and self-control (tyaga); and (7) wisdom (prajna). The term can also refer to the seven prerequisites for awakening wisdom:– (1) mindfulness; (2) investigating the Dharma; (3) vigor, exertion; (4) joy, bliss; (5) calmness; (6) meditation (samadhi), and (7) equanimity.

SHAKU (J). A unit of measure; one shaku is a little over one foot in length.

SHAKYA (S). The caste into which Shakyamuni Buddha was born.

SHAKYAMUNI (J), sage of the Shakyas. Refers to the historical Buddha after His enlightenment.

SHAMON (J), sramana, sramanera (S), novice. A wanderer, Buddhist monk or priest.


SHARIPUTRA (S), Sharihotsu (J). One of the Buddha’s chief disciples. The Scripture of Great Wisdom is addressed to him.

SHASHU (J). A position in which the hands are held clasped on the chest.

SHIKAN-TAZA (J), just sitting. The form of Zazen done in Soto Zen temples.

SHIN, kokoro (J), hsin (C), citta (S), heart, mind, will. True Self or Buddha Nature. See also BODAISHIN, BUDDHA NATURE.


SHINGI (J), pure training rules, see ZEN TEMPLE REGULATIONS.

SHINTO (J). Japanese folk religion primarily concerned with ancestor worship and nationalism.

SHOBOGENZO (J), The Treasury Eye of the True Teaching.


SHORINJI (J), Shao-lin-ssu (C). The temple in China where Bodhidharma sat facing a wall for nine years. See also BODHIDHARMA.

SHRAVAKA (S), Shomon (J), one who hears. A disciple. The term originally applied to those who heard the Buddha’s teaching and became Arhats.

SHU (J). Suffix meaning church or school.

SHURA (J), Buddha curl. A small tuft of hair on the crown of the head which is the last to be shaved at the ordination ceremony.

SHURYO, Sodo (J), Trainees’ Hall.

SHURYOGON-SAMMAI (J), Surangama-samadhi (S), meditation in the heroic way. (1) A samadhi in which all illusions are transcended and one dwells in Nirvana in the midst of everyday life. (2) The name of a Buddhist Scripture, Surangama-samadhi Scripture, which discusses this samadhi in great detail.

SHUSHOGI (J), What is Truly Meant by Training and Enlightenment. The most basic text of Soto Zen compiled from extracts of Dogen’s essential teachings by two Soto teachers, Rozan Takushâ and Houn Fugai. It is carefully studied by both priests and lay people as it provides the most basic guide to Zen training.


SHUZAN SHONEN (J), 926–993, Shou-shan Sheng-nien (C). A Chinese Zen Master of the Rinzai tradition. He was the disciple of Fuketsu Ensho; among his disciples was Fun-yo Zensho.

SIDDHARTHA GAUTAMA (S). The given name of Shakyamuni Buddha.



SIX STAGES OF ENLIGHTENMENT. A Tendai doctrine concerning Bodhisattva training.
SIX SUPERNATURAL POWERS. (1) Extraordinary sight, (2) extraordinary hearing, (3) ability to know the thoughts of others, (4) remembrances of past lives, (5) extraordinary activity and (6) eradication of defilements.

SIX TASTES. Food has six tastes:– bitter, sour, sweet, hot, salty and bland.


SKANDHAS (S), heaps, aggregates. The psycho/physical existence of a human being is categorized into five aggregates. They are:– (1) form or matter; (2) sensations or feelings; (3) thoughts and perceptions; (4) mental activity or impulses; (5) consciousness. When the skandhas are viewed through ignorance, a false notion of a self is created.

SOJI KAISAN (J), Founder of Sojiji. Refers to Keizan.

SOJIJI (J). One of the two head temples of the Soto Zen Church now located in Yokohama, Japan. It was originally a Shingon temple, established by Gyogi (668–749), but was later given to Keizan in 1321. In 1898 it was moved from Ishikawa Prefecture to its present site. The Very Reverend Koho Keido Chisan Zenji, Roshi P.T.N.H. Jiyu-Kennett’s teacher, was Chief Abbot of Sojiji from 1957 until his death in 1967.

SOKEI (J), Ts’ao-ch’i (C). The name of the place where Daikan Eno, the Sixth Ancestor, had his monastery; the name is also used to refer to the Sixth Ancestor himself.

SOTO ZEN (J), Ts’ao-Tung (C). The oldest of the five schools (churches) of Zen in China. It was established by Tozan Ryokai and his disciple Sozan Honjaku. The name Soto is derived from the So in Sozan and the To in Tozan.

SOZAN HONJAKU (J), 840–901, Ts’ao-shan Pen-chi (C). A Chinese Zen Master, one of Tozan Ryokai’s main disciples.


SRENIKA VATSAGOTRA (P). A non-Buddhist wanderer at the time of Shakyamuni Buddha who questioned Him on points of doctrine. Srenika believed that there was a constant self within the skandhas and this became known as the Srenika heresy.

STAFF, shakujo (J). A Buddhist priest’s staff made of wood and metal.

STUPA (S). A mound or monument, usually made of earth or stone, erected over the relics of a Buddha or saint to mark the place as consecrated.

SUBHUTI (S). One of the ten great disciples of Shakyamuni Buddha.

SUDDHODANA (S). The father of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, the future Shakyamuni Buddha, and King of the Shakyas. He later became a disciple of Shakyamuni Buddha and attained Arhatship.

SUJATA (S). The woman who offered food to Shakyamuni Buddha just before His enlightenment.

SUMERU (S). Mount Sumeru is the symbol for the Buddhist universe; all the worlds are located upon it.

SUNG DYNASTY (C). Chinese dynasty from 960–1279.

SUNYATA (S), ku (J), emptiness, void, immaculacy.

SURANGAMA SUTRA (S), Ryogonkyo (J). A Mahayana Buddhist Scripture which discusses many of the obstacles that arise in training as well as the various states into which one can fall as a result of confusion and attachment.

SUTRA (S), kyo (J), sutta (P). A Buddhist Scripture. The first division of the Tripitaka.

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TAIKO (J). A senior member of the priesthood who has undergone at least five years of training.

TAISO (J). A title meaning Great Ancestor.

TAISO EKA (J), 487–593, Hui-k’o (C). The Second Ancestor in Chinese Zen and Bodhidharma’s principal disciple. Eka studied both Hinayana and Mahayana before becoming Bodhidharma’s disciple at the age of forty.

TAN (J). The raised platform in the Meditation Hall upon which trainees sit, eat and sleep.

T’ANG DYNASTY. Chinese dynasty from 618–907.

TAO (C), see WAY.

TATHAGATA (S), Nyorai (J), Thus come One, Thus gone One. A title for a Buddha.


TEIJO (J). A famous Chinese priestess who began her training at the age of twelve under Isan Reiyu.

TEN BENEFITS. The ten benefits received from food. They are:– (1) physical strength; (2) substance; (3) long life; (4) pleasure; (5) maintenance of training; (6) cleansing of the body; (7) settling of the mind; (8) satisfaction of hunger; (9) satisfaction of thirst and (10) improvement of health.

TEN DIRECTIONS. The Ten Directions or Quarters:– north, south, east, west, northeast, northwest, southeast, southwest, zenith and nadir.

TEN FORCES. The ten powers of understanding belonging to a Buddha.


TEN GREATER PRECEPTS. The Precepts that are taken by both priests and laymen at Jukai.


TEN WORLDS. The Six Worlds plus those of the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Pratyekabuddhas and Shravakas.

TENDAI (J), T’ien T’ai (C). A Mahayana Buddhist church established in China by Chigi (Chih-i—C) in the sixth century. The name is derived from Mt. Tendai, heavenly terrace, where he founded Kokusei Temple; it held approximately four thousand trainees.

TENDOZAN KEITOKUJI (J), T’ien T’ung-ssu (C). A Chinese Zen monastery founded in 300 by Giko. In 1129 Wanshi Sogaku, one of the great Soto Masters, became Abbot there and turned it into one of the greatest training monasteries of China. Dogen studied there under Tendo Nyojo from 1223 until 1227. Tendozan still flourished up to the 1960’s with as many as five hundred trainees in residence. It was one of the first temples to be rebuilt in the 1970’s after being severely damaged by the Red Guard.

TENGETSU (J). Clear, penetrating vision. The ability to see what the ordinary human eye cannot see. See SIX SUPERNATURAL POWERS.

TENKIEN (J). The senior priest on night duty in a Zen training temple.

TENNITSU (J). Clear, penetrating hearing. The ability to hear what the normal ear cannot hear. See SIX SUPERNATURAL POWERS.

TENZO (J). The Chief Cook of a Zen temple.

THERAVADA (S), teaching of the elders. The only surviving church of Hinayana Buddhism found primarily in Ceylon, Burma and Thailand. See HINAYANA.

THIRTY-TWO MARKS OF A BUDDHA, Good Aspects. Early Buddhist Scriptures speak of the Buddha as possessing thirty-two good aspects and eighty minor marks.

THOUGHT, NATURAL AND DELIBERATE. Terms used to assist trainees during meditation.



THREE FIRES. The Three Hindrances; greed, hate and delusion.

THREE PURE PRECEPTS. Cease from evil, Do only good, Do good for others.

THREE REFUGES. I take refuge in the Buddha (Namu kie Butsu—J); I take refuge in the Dharma (Namu kie Ho); I take refuge in the Sangha (Namu kie So). All traditions of Buddhism have the Three Refuges as the basis of their teaching.

THREE STYLES OF TRAINING. A reference to Tendai doctrine.

THREE THOUSAND WORLDS, sanzen (J). The teaching that there are three thousand realms or worlds:– the ten worlds, each of which contains within it the other nine, multiplied by ten characteristics and three factors.

THREE TREASURES, Sambo (J). The Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha; they are also referred to as the Three Jewels.


THREE VEHICLES, triyana (S). (1) Hinayana, or small vehicle (also called Shravakayana), by means of which one becomes an Arhat through the understanding of the Four Noble Truths. (2) Pratyekabuddha-yana by means of which one reaches understanding through one’s own efforts but does not teach others. (3) Mahayana, or great vehicle, by means of which one becomes a Bodhisattva.

THREE WISDOMS. (1) Insight into the mortal conditions of self and others in past existences as well as this one, (2) insight into possible future mortal conditions and (3) comprehension of the wisdom in, and experience of, that wisdom in the Four Noble Truths.
THREE WORLDS. (1) The past, present and future worlds. (2) The formless realm, the realm of form where there is no desire and the realm of form where there is desire. One of the ways of classifying sentient existence.


TOKUDO (J). Ordination.

TOMOE (J). A Buddhist symbol. See MANJI.

TOSOTSUTEN (J), Tushita Heaven (S). The fourth heaven in the Buddhist cosmology.

TOZAN RYOKAI (J), 807–869, Tung-shan Liang-chieh (C). A Chinese Zen Master and principal founder of the Soto Zen Church. The second syllable of the word “Soto” comes from his name. He was the disciple of Ungan Donjo and his two main disciples are Sozan Honjaku and Ungo Doyo.

TOZAN SHUSHO (J), 910–990, Tung-shan Shou-chu (C). A Chinese Zen Master and disciple of Ummon Bun’en.

TREASURE HOUSE. Another term for Buddha Nature.


TRIPITAKA (S), three baskets. Collection of canonical Buddhist Scriptures consisting of the Vinaya (monastic rules), Sutras (teaching Scriptures) and Abhidharma (philosophical analyses). See ABHIDHARMA, SUTRA and VINAYA.


TWENTY-FIVE WORLDS, Nijugo-u (J). Twenty-five abodes:– four evil worlds of hell, asuras, hungry ghosts and animals; four continents in the human world; six heavens in the realm of desire; seven heavens in the world of form without desire and four heavens of the formless realm. See LOKA.

TWO VEHICLES. Mahayana and Hinayana.

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UDAYAMA (P). King Udayama was the ruler of Kosambi in India at the time of Shakyamuni Buddha. The first statue of the Buddha is said to have been made by him.

UDRAKA RAMAPUTRA (S). One of the ascetic teachers under whom the future Shakyamuni Buddha studied before His enlightenment.

UDUMBARA (S). A tree which is said to flower only when a Buddha is born.

UJI (J), existence, time, flow.

UMMON BUN’EN (J), 863–949, Yun-men Wen-yen (C). A Chinese Zen Master and founder of the Ummon Church, one of the five schools (churches) of Chinese Zen. Ummon Zen was absorbed into Rinzai in the thirteenth century.

UMPAN (J), cloud plate. A flat metal plate in the shape of a cloud.

UNGAN DONJO (J), 780–841, Yun-yen T’an-sheng (C). A Chinese Zen Master, disciple of Yakusan Igen and master of Tozan Ryokai, the founder of the Soto tradition.

UNSUI (J), cloud and water. A priest trainee, male or female.

UPADHYAYA (S). A senior priest of ten years standing.

URUVELA (P). A town in India where Shakyamuni Buddha practiced asceticism prior to His enlightenment.

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VAIROCANA BUDDHA (S), Birushanofu, Bironshanubutsu, Birushana or Dainichi Nyorai (J). The Illuminator; He represents the Dharmakaya, Pure Buddha Mind.

VAJRASATTVA (S), Diamond Being. The Iron Man; the Indestructible Buddha within.

VASUBANDHU (S), c. fourth century a.d., Bashyubanzu (J). A Master of the Yogacara church in India and the younger brother of Asanga. He is the author of the Abhidharma-kosa and many other works.

VIMALAKIRTI (S), Yuima (J), Spotless Reputation. A layman, living during the time of Shakyamuni Buddha, who was highly enlightened.

VIMALAKIRTI SCRIPTURE (S), Yuimakyo (J). A Scripture consisting of the discourses of Vimalakirti.

VINAYA (S). The collection of the monastic rules formulated in India during and after the life of Shakyamuni Buddha; a section of the Tripitaka or Three Baskets.

VIPAKA (S). The karmic results of our thoughts, words and deeds.

VISHNU (S). The Preserver, a Hindu deity, also known as Narayana. He represents life having the power to manifest in many forms.

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WANSHI SOGAKU (J), 1090–1157, Hung-chih Cheng-chueh (C). One of the great Soto Zen Masters of Sung China and a disciple of Tanka Shijyun (d. 1119). Wanshi was Abbot of Tendozan from 1129 until his death. He rebuilt Tendozan and, under his direction, the Meditation Hall held over twelve hundred trainees. In the twelfth century, Wanshi was the major advocate of Shikan-taza or just sitting.

WAY, do (J), tao (C). A synonym for Buddha Mind, True Self.




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YAJNADATTA (S), Enyadatta (J). The subject of a parable from the Surangama Scripture.

YAKUSAN IGEN (J), 745–828, Yueh-shan Wei-yen (C). A Chinese Zen Master and disciple of Sekito Kisen; also known as Kodo Daishi (J). His two chief disciples were brothers, Ungan Donjo and Dogo Enichi.

YAMA (S). The king of hell.

YASHODHARA (S). The wife of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, the future Shakyamuni Buddha, and the mother of His son, Rahula. She entered the priesthood five years after Shakyamuni Buddha’s enlightenment.

YOFU, SEAL OF, (J). Refers to the Chinese legend of Chiang K’ang’s rescue of a suffering tortoise.

YOGA (S), union. An Indian teaching system using physical postures, forms of mantric meditation and special diet to achieve various meditational states.

YOKA GENKAKU (J), 665–713, Yang-ch’i (C). A Chinese Zen Master and disciple of Daikan Eno, the Sixth Ancestor. He is the author of the Shodoka.


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ZAFU (J), sitting cushion.


ZAZEN (J), sitting meditation. Zen meditation done in the formal seated position.


ZEN (J), dhyana (S), ch’an (C), Meditation.


ZEN TEMPLE REGULATIONS, or Rules of Hyakujo, Hyakujo-shingi (J). The Zen Temple Regulations established in the eighth century by the Chinese Zen Master Hyakujo Ekai.

ZENDO (J), Meditation Hall.

ZENJI (J), ch’an-shih (C), Zen Master.

ZUDA (J), Dhutaguna (S). Twelve practices, originating in early Hinayana Buddhism, which were considered of great benefit. They are:– (1) living in the forest; (2) begging food; (3) wearing clothes made from rags; (4) eating only before noon; (5) eating a meal in one sitting; (6) living on alms; (7) living in cemeteries; (8) living in an open place; (9) dwelling at the foot of trees; (10) remaining in the meditation position even during sleep; (11) sleeping at night wherever one is; (12) having no more than three robes.

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Reprinted with permission from Zen Is Eternal Life, by Reverend Master Jiyu-Kennett. Shasta Abbey Press, 1999.