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GLOSSARY OF JAPANESE ZEN TERMS, Stan Rosenthal

adharma
irreligion; lack of dutifulness; confusion
Amitabha Buddha
Buddha associated with mercy and wisdom.
Anathapindika's Grove
Jeta grove, site of a monastery built for the history Buddha my Anathapindika.
annuttara samyak sambodhi
Perfection of complete enlightment
Arahat
"worthy one"; one who has attained no more learning.
asura
demon, evil spirit.
Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva
Great limitless compassionate one.
bhiku
Religious mendicant or friar of the order founded by Gotama Buddha.
bodhi
awakened wisdom
Bodhidharma
28th Indian ancestor, 1st Chinese ancestor
bodhisattva
literally, wisdom-being, one on the way to enlightenment; an enlightened being (Buddha) who renounces Nirvana to aid all human beings to achieve enlightenment
buddhaalso, Butsudo or hondo;
Guatarma Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism
buddha-field
the field of consciousness created by the ideation of an enlightened being
Chinul
Korean Zen master
Chogye
Largest Korean Zen Buddhist Sect
Dharani
Short sutras of symbolic syllables
dharma
element of existence; ultimate nature, reality, truth, existence; sacred law; duty; righteousness; the moral law
Dharmakaya
The true nature of Buddha, transcendental reality, essence of the universe.
enlightenment
awakening
four noble truths
  1. Life is suffering
  2. Suffering is caused by desire
  3. There is a path from desire and suffering
  4. This path is the Eightfold Noble Path.
gatha
A form of four-line verse sutra
good-and-wise ones
Teachers
Hakuin
kalpa
endlessly long period of time. Poetically, the length of time it would take a cube of iron, one hundred miles on a side, to be worn completely away by a celestial maiden who descends once every hundred years and brushes the top with her ethereal garments.
karma
universal law of cause and effect.
Koan
"Public case", a pure presentation of the nature of ultimate reality.
Kshitigarbha Bodhisattva
Savoir from the torments of hell.
mantra
power-laden syllable or series of syllables that manifest certain cosmic forces or aspects of a buddha.
meditation
practice that concentrates and clarifies the mind
Nirmanakaya
the earthly body of a buddha.
nirvana
complete absorption into the undifferentiated ground of being; spiritual bliss
paramita
"perfection", virtues perfected by a bodhisattva:
  • generosity
  • discipline
  • patience
  • energy
  • meditation
  • wisdom
Also including:
  • right means
  • vow
  • the Ten Powers
  • full knowledge of the true dharmas
prajna
Wisdom of true mind
Roshi
lit, "old teacher", Japanese, a Zen master
samadhi
collectedness of the mind through gradual calming of mental activity.
sambodhi
Sambogakaya
body of buddha-paradise buddha
sangha
the buddhist community - monks, nuns, novices, and lay followers
Sariputra
One of the ten great disciples of Buddha, renowned for his wisdom.
sesshin
days of especially intense, strict practice
Shakyamuni
"Sage of Shayka", epithet of the historical Buddha
skandha
the five aggregates, constituting what is generally known as the personality:
  • form
  • sensation
  • perception
  • mental formations
  • conciousness
Subhuti
a student of the Buddha, who was known for his loving kindness.
sutra
discourses of the Buddha
Tao
Way
tathagata
nature of a buddha; one who has followed in the steps of his predecessors
Tripitaka
canon of Buddhist scriptures
Vajrachchedika-Prajnaparamita-Sutra
The Diamond-Cutter sutra
zazen
Sitting meditation, taught in Zen as the most direct way to awakening.
Zen
Meditative absorption in which all dualistic distinctions are eliminated.

Steven E. Newton / sen@zentexts.org / Dec 29, 2011