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Glossary

Note: This is a work in progress! Please don’t rely on this as definitive or complete, or even entirely accurate, for the moment.

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


A


Abhidharma

Sanskrit: Abhidharma; “higher teaching about dharmas

“an abstract and highly technical systemization of the [Buddhist] doctrine”

External links:


Abhidharmakosha

Sanskrit: Abhidharmakośa

The Abhidharmakośakā or “Storehouse of the Abhidharma” is a key text on the Abhidharma written in Sanskrit by Vasubandhu in the 4th or 5th century.

It particularly focuses on analyzing and synthesizing what the āgama sutras mentioned from a psychological and philosophical viewpoint.

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Aesthetic Contemplation

“Aesthetic contemplation” may refer to Schopenhauer’s aesthetic theory. If so, this is an interesting connection to Western philosophy. “In aesthetic contemplation, we stop thinking about the world and the objects in it as means to our ends, that is, as objects of our will. We also see attention and perception take center stage.”

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Āgamas

(Sanskrit) āgama: sacred work or scripture.

The Āgamas are collections of the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha, originally transmitted orally, compiled after the Buddha’s death. In the Pali Cannon, these are called the Nikāyas.

External links:


Alayavijñāna


Ānanda

Shakyamuni Buddha’s attendent, known for his complete memory of what the Buddha said.

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Ancestor

Also: patriarch


Anja

An attendant to a teacher. Similar to the ceremonial jisha position, but closer to a full-time butler and cleaning person.


Aprāpti

Sanskrit: aprāpti. “To separate”; non-acquisition. A ‘force’ between conditioned elements. See also: prāpti.

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Arhat

(Sanskrit) “A person who deserves respect from others,” because they have reached the “final goal” of entering nirvana.

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Aryadeva

Āryadeva (fl. 3rd century CE), was a disciple of Nagarjuna and author of several important Mahayana Madhyamaka Buddhist texts. He is also known as Kanadeva, recognized as the 15th patriarch in Chan Buddhism, and as “Bodhisattva Deva” in Sri Lanka.

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Asanga

Asaṅga (fl. 4th century C.E.) was “one of the most important spiritual figures” of Mahayana Buddhism and the “founder of the Yogachara school”. Traditionally, he and his half-brother Vasubandhu are regarded as the major classical Indian Sanskrit exponents of Mahayana Abhidharma, Vijñanavada (awareness only) thought and Mahayana teachings on the bodhisattva path.

External links:


Auddhatya

(Sanskrit) Usually translated as “distraction”. Restlessness or agitation, restlessness of mind, or frivolity. One of the delusions in the list in Abhidharmakosha.


Avalokiteshvara

Sanskrit: Avalokiteśvara
Chinese: Guanyin, Guan Yin, or Kuan Yin
Japanese: Kannon

The Bodhisattva of Compassion. Manjushri and Avalokiteshvara are two primary symbolic figures in Zen Buddhism, representing Wisdom and Compassion.

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Avatamsaka Sutra

The Avataṃsaka Sūtra: Flower Garland Sutra, Flower Adornment Sutra, or Flower Ornament Scripture. Known for (naturally?) it’s grandiose, “flowery” prose, describing a quest to meet a series of Bodhisattvas who explain reality.

External links:


B


Baso Dōitsu

Chinese: Mazu Daoyi (Ma-tsu Tao-yi), 馬祖道一
Japanese: Baso Dōitsu
709–788.

External links:


Blue Cliff Record

Japanese: Hekiganroku


Bodhidharma

The First Ancestor of Chan (Zen) Buddhism in China.


Bodhisattva

(Sanskrit) “Enlightenment Being” or “Enlightening Being”. Can refer to historical or mythical beings, or can also denote any being who is following the Buddha Way.


Book of Equanimity

Japanese: Shōyōroku

Another collection of koans, similar to Blue Cliff Record.


Bowing


Brahmanism


Buddha

(Sanskrit) A title meaning “Awakened One”. “Buddha” can refer to the historical Shakyamuni Buddha, Siddhartha Gotama, referred to as “the Buddha” or “the Tathāgata”. Also used to denote other (mostly mythical) figures. “Buddha” can be used in a more general sense to mean the original nature of reality, or an awakened state, e.g. “Buddha Nature” or “All are Buddha”. “Buddha” is also enlightenment personified.

External links:


Buddha Dharma


Buddha Hall

The room used for teaching (giving talks) in a traditional Zen monastery.


Buddha Land


Buddha Nature

The original nature of existence, perfect and all pervading. Interconnection.

External links:

Wikipedia: Buddha nature


Buddha Way


Buddhism


Buddhist Psychology


Buddhistic

“Of, relating to, or supporting Buddhism.” As it turns out, this is an actual word, so it is kept verbatim. Although one could usually substitute “Buddhist” for “Buddhistic”, Katagiri Roshi’s use of “Buddhistic” might connote that something is “like Buddhism” without implying that “Buddhism” is a fixed object or concept.


C


Calligraphy

A traditional art practiced by Zen priests and monks.

External links:


Cat

An enigmatic being that sometimes appears in Katagiri Roshi’s talks.


Chan

Also: Ch’an

A Chinese word meaning the same as “Zen” in Japanese. Both words derive from the Sanskrit dyana.


Chan Buddhism

Chan Buddhism usually refers to Zen Buddhism in China. Zen is the Japanese word for “Chan”. Both words derive from the Sanskrit dyana.


D


Dainin

Katagiri Roshi’s Buddhist name, meaning “Great Patience”. See Katagiri.


Delusion

Mistaking a perception for an independent object or fact.


Demon


Denkoroku

(Japanese) Denkōroku 伝光録, Record of the Transmission of the Light

External links:


Dependent Origination


Dharma

Truth; the teachings; universal law; original nature of existence; phenomena.

‘Dharma’ is a multi-faceted word with no single equivalent in English, so it is often left untranslated.


Dharma Vehicle

Dharma as action, activity.


Dhātu


Diamond Sutra

Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra


Distraction


Dogen

Eihei Dōgen (永平道元; 19 January 1200 – 22 September 1253) - “Eternal Peace Way Source” - was the founder of Soto Zen Buddhism in Japan. Dogen is probably the most frequently referenced source in Katagiri Roshi’s talks (and in Soto Zen Buddhism in general). His most famous work is Shobogenzo.

Katagiri Roshi often refers to him respectfully as “Dogen Zenji”: Zen Master Dogen.

External links:


Dualism


Dullness


E


Edward Conze


Ego Consciousness


Egolessness


Eightfold Path


Eihei Dogen

See Dogen


Eiheiji

Monastery founded by Eihei Dogen. Considered one of the primary Zen training temples in Japan.


Emptiness

See śūnyatā.


Engo Kokugon

Chinese: Yuanwu Keqin (Yuan Wu K’e Ch’in), 圓悟克勤,
Japanese: Engo Kokugon,
1063-1135 CE.

Yuanwu added the Pointers, Notes and Commentaries to the Blue Cliff Record.


Enlightenment

Awakening from delusion.


F


Four Dharma Seals

The Four Dharma Seals are:

It is said that if a teaching contains the Four Dharma Seals then it can be considered Buddha Dharma.

External links:


Fukanzazengi

Dogen’s “Universal Recommendation for Zazen”

See Dogen Index: Fukanzazengi


Fukutoku

Also: kudoku

(Japanese) Fukutoku 福徳 – “merit and virtue”. Equivalent to Sanskrit “punya”.

External links:


G


Gempo Yamamoto

Gempo Yamamoto Roshi was the teacher of Sōen Nakagawa.


Genjokoan

See Dogen Index: Genjokoan


Gensha Shibi

Japanese: Gensha Shibi,
Chinese: Xuansha Shibei (Hsuan-sha Shih-pei) 玄沙師備,
also “Mendicant Pei”

Chinese Zen Master, 835 - 908 CE. A successor of Seppō Gison.


Green Gulch

Green Gulch Farm near San Francisco, California, one of the Soto Zen practice centers established by Suzuki Roshi.


H


Han

“Han: In Zen monasteries, a wooden board that is struck with a mallet to summon monastics to the zendo or other practice hall, as well as serving as a time-keeping signal during the monastic day. The pattern of strikes often includes three “roll downs”, a series of strikes gradually becoming accelerando and crescendo.”


Hashimoto Roshi

Eko Hashimoto, abbot of Eiheiji when Dainin Katagiri practiced there as a monk. Katagiri’s second teacher.


Heart Sutra


Hinayana


Huineng

Chinese: Dajian Huineng, 大鑒惠能
Japanese: Daikan Enō
638–713.

The Sixth Ancestor of Chan Buddhism; a semi-legendary figure. The one who won the poetry contest.


I


Ino

zendo (meditation hall ) manager


Igi

Japanese: igi 威儀 (pronounced “ee-jee”, more or less).

Dignity; dignified manner; majesty.

External links:


Impermanence

Constant change. One of the Four Dharma Seals.


Impulses

See samskara.


Isan Reiyū

Japanese: Isan Reiyū
Chinese: Guishan Lingyou (Kuei-shan Lingyu) 溈山靈祐
771-853 CE

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J


Jisha

Ceremonial attendant. See also anja.


Jōshū Jūshin

Chinese: Zhàozhōu Cōngshěn (Chao-chou Ts’ung-shen), 趙州從諗,
Japanese: Jōshū Jūshin,
778–897 CE.

One of the greatest Zen teachers in China. It is said that he became a monk at 60 years old, and until his death, he practiced continuously. Jōshū figures in many Zen stories, and is often mentioned by Dogen.

External links:


K

Kaijo

(Japanese): Signal of the end of zazen. One bell.

Kapleau Roshi


Karma


Katagiri

Dainin Katagiri Roshi, a primary figure who brought Soto Zen Buddhism to America. His Buddhist name, Jikai Dainin, means “Compassion Ocean Great Patience”. In these talks he is usually addressed as Roshi or Hojo-san, but he often refers to himself as “Katagiri”. He sometimes refers to his younger self (e.g. in monastic training) as just Dainin.


Keitoku Dentō-roku

Japanese: Keitoku Dentō-roku
Chinese: Jǐngdé Chuándēnglù (Ching-te Ch’uan teng lu) 景德传灯录
English: The Jingde Record of the Transmission of the Lamp

Wikipedia: The Jingde Record of the Transmission of the Lamp

Koan


Kyosei

Chinese name Ching-ch’ing or Jingqing. 863–937. Successor of Seppō Gison. Famous for his discipline.


L


Lotus


Lotus Sutra

Sanskrit: Saddharma Puṇḍarīka Sūtra, lit. ‘Sūtra on the White Lotus of the True Dharma


M

Madhyamaka


Mahākāśyapa

One of the main disciples of Shakyamuni Buddha. ‘Maha’ means ‘Great’.

External links:

Mahaprajnaparamita


Mahayana

Mahāyāna (/ˌmɑːhəˈjɑːnə/; “Great Vehicle”) is a term for a broad group of Buddhist traditions, texts, philosophies, and practices. Mahāyāna is considered one of the two main existing branches of Buddhism (the other being Theravada). Mahāyāna Buddhism developed in India (c. 1st century BCE onwards). It accepts the main scriptures and teachings of early Buddhism, but also adds various new doctrines and texts such as the Mahāyāna Sūtras.[1]

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Manjushri

The Bodhisattva of Discerning Wisdom. Traditionally, Soto Zen temples have a statue of Manjushri in the zendo.

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Masao Abe

pronounced “Ah-bay”

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Middle Way


Minnesota Zen Meditation Center


Mount Sumeru

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Mudra

A symbolic pose of (usually) the hands, found in Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. In zazen (zen meditation), the “cosmic mudra” is used.


N


Nakagawa Roshi

Probably Soen Nakagawa.

External links:

Wikipedia: Soen Nakagawa


Nagarjuna

Nāgārjuna

External links:


Nichiren

External links:


Nikāya

Nikāya: a Pāli word meaning “volume”. It is often used like the Sanskrit word āgama to mean “collection”, “assemblage”, “class” or “group”. In the Pali Cannon, the Nikāyas are a collection of the teaching of early Buddhism, originally transmitted orally, recorded after Shakyamuni Buddha’s death.

External links:


Nirvana

One of the Four Dharma Seals.


Nirvana Sutra


No-Self

One of the Four Dharma Seals.


Nondualism


O


Ontology

The branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of being.

External links:


P


Pali


Pali Cannon


Paramita


Patriarch

See Ancestor


Prajñā

Sanskrit: prajñā. Usually translated as “wisdom”, not not conventional wisdom, but rather the wisdom of boundlessness and interconnection.

External links:


Prajnaparamita

“Wisdom beyond wisdom”, or The Perfection of Wisdom.

Prajñāpāramitā means “the Perfection of (Transcendent) Wisdom” in Mahāyāna Buddhism. Prajñāpāramitā refers to this perfected way of seeing the nature of reality, as well as to a particular body of sutras and to the personification of the concept in the Bodhisattva known as the “Great Mother” (Tibetan: Yum Chenmo). The word Prajñāpāramitā combines the Sanskrit words prajñā “wisdom” with pāramitā “perfection”. Prajñāpāramitā is a central concept in Mahāyāna Buddhism and is generally associated with the doctrine of emptiness (śūnyatā) or ‘lack of Svabhava’ (essence) and the works of Nagarjuna. Its practice and understanding are taken to be indispensable elements of the Bodhisattva path.

According to Edward Conze, the Prajñāpāramitā Sutras are “a collection of about forty texts … composed somewhere on the Indian subcontinent between approximately 100 BC and AD 600.”[1] Some Prajnāpāramitā sūtras are thought to be among the earliest Mahāyāna sūtras.[2][3]

External links:


Prajnaparamita Sutra

See Prajnaparamita


Prāpti

Sanskrit: prāpti. “To get, to obtain.” A ‘force’ between conditioned elements. See also: aprāpti.

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Primitive Buddhism

Katagiri Roshi sometimes uses them term “Primitive Buddhism” – possibly to refer to early Buddhist teachings, which were probably heavily influenced by Brahmanism in India. Or, it might refer to Pre-sectarian Buddhism, “Buddhism as theorized to have existed before the various subsects of Buddhism came into being” – which is not exactly the same thing. Either way, it is something somewhat distinct from Mahayana Buddhism. However, the term is probably not meant to be perjorative; Katagiri often mentions that we need to understand our Zen practice in terms of general Buddhism, “mentioned by Buddha.”

I’m tracking references to “Primitive Buddhism” to try to get a better sense of what Katagiri Roshi does mean (because it’s pretty interesting).

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Q


R


Reb Anderson

Tenshin Reb Anderson Roshi, of San Francisco Zen Center


religious zazen

Fukanzazengi – Talk 2 (25:09) Fukanzazengi – Talk 5 (15:10-)


Rinzai Zen


Roshi

A distinguished elder teacher.


Ryōtan Sūshin

Chinese: Longtan Chongxin (龍潭崇信)
Japanese: Ryōtan Sūshin
9th century.

External links:


S


Saddharma Puṇḍarīka Sutra

The Lotus Sutra.

External links:


Samadhi

One-pointedness. Often the kind achieved in meditation, but it can refer to complete absorption in any activity.


Samsara

(Sanskrit) Literally, “wandering in circles”: the “wandering in circles world” of the Six Realms of Existence.


Samskara

Sanskrit: saṃskāra संस्कार
Pali: Saṅkhāra सङ्खार

One of the five skandhas; often translated as ‘formations’, ‘mental formations’, or ‘impulses’.

As “together-maker”: see Fukanzazengi – Talk 6

As “original nature of action”: see Save All Sentient Beings

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Saṃyukta Āgama

“Connected Discourses”. See Āgama.

External links:

Sandhinirmocana Sutra

Sandhinirmocana Sutra.

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San Francisco Zen Center

The Soto Zen temple in San Francisco where Katagiri worked with Suzuki Roshi in the 60’s.


Sanskrit

External links:


Śrāvakabuddha

A buddha who attains enlightenment through listening the Buddha’s teaching. (Basically, an arhat.)

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Satori

Seppō

See Seppō Gison


Seppō Gison

Japanese: Seppō Gison
Chinese: Xuefeng Yicun (Hsueh-feng I-ts’un) 雪峰义存
also Seppō Shinkaku

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Sesshin

(Japanese) An intensive meditation retreat in the style followed by Zen monasteries. Literally, “gathering the heart-mind”.


Setchō Jūken

Chinese: Xuedou Chongxian (Hsueh Tou Ch’ung Hsien), 雪竇重顯
Japanese: Setchō Jūken
980-1052 (CE)

Xuedou compiled the koans of the Blue Cliff Record, and wrote the verses.


Shakyamuni Buddha

The historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. Shakyamuni means “sage of the Shākyas,” the Shākyas being his tribe or clan.


Shijo

Shijo 止靜 (Japanese): Signal of the beginning of zazen.

“When you hit the bell three times, that is called shijo, signing of [the] beginning of zazen. The ‘shi’ is ‘struck’. ‘Jo’ is ‘stillness’. Stillness implies samadhi; stillness implies zazen itself. So, ‘struck zazen’ means, zazen settles itself in zazen.”

Shikan

The “just” from “just sitting”; see shikantaza.


Shikantaza

A Japanese word meaning “just sitting”. “Shikan” is not “just” in a casual sense, but with emphasis: Just sitting. Shikantaza is difficult to define in concrete terms, but it is the primary practice in Soto Zen, so Katagiri discusses it frequently.


Shobogenzo

“Treasury of the True Dharma Eye”: the main collection of Dogen’s works.

See Dogen Index: Shobogenzo


Sitting

“Sitting” is often short for “doing zazen”, “seated meditation”, or even shikantaza.


Six Realms of Existence

External links:


Skandha


Sōen Nakagawa

External links:


Soto Zen


Śrīmālādevī Siṃhanāda Sutra

Śrīmālādevī Siṃhanāda - Sanskrit

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Styāna

(Sanskrit) Usually translated as “dullness”. Torpor, stiffness, obduracy, indifference, languor, torpor, sloth, lethargy. One of the delusions in the list in Abhidharmakosha.


Subhuti


Suffering

One of the Four Dharma Seals.


Śūnyatā

Sanskrit: śūnyatā, pronounced “shoon-ya-ta”.
Also: emptiness, vastness, boundlessness

Lack of independent, inherent existence. Sūnyatā or “emptiness” is frequently discussed in Zen Buddhism. The first thing to understand is that it is not a nihilistic kind of emptiness, it really means unlimited potential.

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D. T. Suzuki

“Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki was a Japanese author of books and essays on Buddhism, Zen and Shin that were instrumental in spreading interest in both Zen and Shin to the West. Suzuki was also a prolific translator of Chinese, Japanese, and Sanskrit literature.”

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Suzuki Roshi


Sukhāvatīvyūha Sutra

Sukhāvatīvyūha: Infinite Life Sutra; Pure Land.

External links:


Suki

suki (Japanese): gap; space.

External links:


Sutra


T


Tatami

(Japanese) Floor mat.

Tathāgata

A title applied to a Buddha, meaning “thus come, thus gone.”

External links:


Tathāgatagarbha

External links:


Three Times

The three times: past, present, and future.


Tibetan Buddhism


Tokusan Senkan

Chinese: Deshan Xuanjian (Te-shan Hsuan-chien), 德山宣鑒
Japanese: Tokusan Senkan
780-865.

Originally a scholar of the Diamond Sutra, he was defeated in Zen combat by an old woman in a dumpling shop. After that, he studied under Ryōtan Sūshin, and became a Zen Master in the Rinzai line. He was noted for his strict and rough training of the monks.


Tōrō

Lantern.

From Wikipedia: Tōrō: In Japan, a tōrō (灯籠 or 灯篭, 灯楼, light basket, light tower)[note 1] is a traditional lantern made of stone, wood, or metal. Like many other elements of Japanese traditional architecture, it originated in China; where they can still be found in Buddhist temples and Chinese gardens.


U


V


Vasubandhu

External links:


Vimalakirti


Vimalakirti Sutra


W


X


Y


Yogachara

Yogācāra; literally “yoga practice” is an influential tradition of Buddhist philosophy and psychology emphasizing the study of cognition, perception, and consciousness through the interior lens of meditative and yogic practices.

External links:

Wikipedia: Yogachara


Z


Zagu

Bowing mat, used to protect the okesa. It is folded up in a somewhat elaborate way, and carried under the sleeve of the robes when not in use. The zagu and okesa are supposed to stay together.

Zazen

“Seated meditation”

For detailed guidance on how to practice zazen, see Dogen Index: Fukanzazengi.


Zen


Zen Buddhism


Zen Master


Zen Practice


Zendo

Meditation hall


Zenji

Japanese word meaning “Zen Master “. E.g., Dogen Zenji.


Next: Dogen Index

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