This is the glossary appended to the "Standard Observances of the Soto Zen School", it contains many translations, and meanings of words commonly use in daily practice.
abbot/abbot's quarters/acolyte/administration hall/administrative wing/age of the end of the dharma/age of the true dharma/all buddhas of the three times/all invited/all living beings/all starving beings/alms gathering/altar/Ambrosia Gate/Anan/ancestor/ancestors hall/ancestral records/ancestral teacher/ancestral teachers hall/annual memorial/arhat/arm-severing sesshin/assistant/assistant comptroller/attain buddhahood/attain the way/awakening/awakening day sesshin
Literally, "responsible for" (shoku 職) "sustaining" (jūji 住持). Also called "head of the establishment" (dōchō 堂頭). The most senior officer in a monastery bureaucracy, the abbot is considered the spiritual leader of all the monks in residence and chief representative of the community to the outside world. At Soto Zen monasteries and temples, the abbot must be a dharma heir in the Soto lineage. Traditionally, the abbot's main duties are: (1) providing group and individual instruction, as in major convocations (jōdō 上堂), small convocations (shōsan 小參), and when disciples "enter the [abbot's] room" (nisshitsu入室); (2) acting as officiant (dōshi 導師) for daily, monthly, and annual services in which offerings are made to beings enshrined on altars; (3) serving as liaison to other monasteries, the denominational headquarters, and the broader Buddhist sangha; and (4) dealing with the laity, including parishioners and donors who support the monastery and the civil authorities who have legal jurisdiction over it. In the past, the abbots of major Zen monasteries in Japan often served for a fixed period of time, such as three years. At present, however, the abbots of most ordinary temples and many training monasteries hold their positions for life. At ordinary Zen temples, the abbot is often the only ordained member of the Buddhist sangha in residence and thus is often called a "resident priest" in English translations of jūshoku. Most resident priests marry and raise a family, ordain their sons when the latter reach adolescence, and are eventually succeeded by one of them.
1. The term hōjō, literally "ten feet" (jō 丈) "square" (hō 方), comes from the Vimalakīrti Sūtra (Yuima kyō 維摩經), where it refers to the ten-foot-square room in which the layman Vimalakīrti was miraculously able to host a vast assembly of bodhisattvas for a debate on ultimate truth. By the tenth century in China, the term had come to signify the private quarters of the abbot in a Buddhist monastery.
2. In medieval Japanese Zen monasteries that were built on the Song Chinese model, the abbot's quarters was a multi-building walled compound reserved for the use of the abbot and his invited guests. The compound was located to the north of the dharma hall and was usually connected to it by a covered corridor. Buildings within the compound included: (1) an inner abbot's quarters (oku hōjō 奧方丈 or nai hōjō 内方丈), also called the abbot's private quarters (shindō 寢堂), that served as a bedroom, dressing room, and study; (2) an outer abbot's quarters (omote hōjō 表方丈), where the abbot entertained lay patrons and government officials, consulted with monastic officers, held small convocations (shōsan 小參) for instructing disciples, and met individually with disciples who "entered the room" (nisshitsu 入室) for individual consultation (dokusan 獨參); and (3) a kitchen-residence (kuri 庫裡), used to prepare meals for the abbot and his guests and to house the abbot's staff of acolytes (jisha 侍者) and postulants (anja 行者). The entrance to the outer abbot's quarters was in a portico (genkan 玄關), the name of which literally means "gateway" (kan 關) to the "occult" or "profound" (gen 玄). Within the walls of the abbot's quarters compound, adjacent to the buildings and visible from inside them, were meticulously manicured landscape gardens, which often used rocks and gravel as well as trees, shrubs, and moss. The buildings themselves were decorated with fine art (paintings and calligraphy) and the best furnishings. The opulence and refined aesthetics of the abbot's quarters enhanced the prestige of the monastery and provided amenities that were appreciated by VIP patrons and officials when they came to visit the abbot.
3. During the Muromachi period (1333-1573), the abbot's quarters compounds of major Zen monasteries in Japan were replicated, albeit on a smaller scale, in hundreds of mortuary sub-temples or "stupa sites" (tatchū 塔頭) that were built to enshrine the stupas of former abbots and to serve as the ancestral mortuary temples (bodaiji 菩提寺) of wealthy lay families. The so-called abbot's quarters (hōjō 方丈) of the typical sub-temple housed the mortuary portrait (shin 眞, chinzō 頂相) of the founding abbot (a former abbot of the main monastery) and the spirit tablets (ihai 位牌) of patron's ancestors. Although named "abbot's quarters," the facility was used mainly for memorial services. The other building in a sub-temple compound was the kitchen-residence (kuri 庫裡), where the current abbot of the sub-temple and his staff of monks lived. Their duties were to attend the enshrined ancestral spirits and entertain lay patrons when they came to memorial services. Such sub-temples typically had fine works of art and gardens in and around their "abbot's quarters" building, similar to (but smaller than) those found in the abbot's quarters compound of the main monastery (hon garan 本伽藍). "mortuary sub-temple."
4. In the Edo period (1600-1868), the Tokugawa shogunate established the so-called parishioner system (danka seido 檀家制度), under which every household in Japan was required to affiliate with and support a Buddhist temple where its family funerals and ancestral rites were to be performed. A huge number of mortuary temples were built, most of them patterned after the sub-temple compounds found at large Zen monasteries. As a result, virtually every Buddhist temple in Japan (including ordinary temples belonging to the Soto school) came to have an "abbot's quarters" that is basically a mortuary hall, and a kitchen-residence where the abbot (and, in modern times, his family) actually lives. At present, such "abbot's quarters" are commonly referred to as main halls (hondō 本堂). Because ordinary temples do not have separate buddha halls or dharma halls, all the observances that are supposed (according to Standard Observances of the Soto Zen School) to take place in those facilities are actually held in the main hall, i.e. the "abbot's quarters."
5. Standard Observances of the Soto Zen School uses "abbot's quarters" (hōjō 方丈) to refer to whatever building(s) or set of rooms are set aside for use by the abbot of a monastery, including a semi-private place for entertaining visitors and meeting with disciples, and a private area that usually includes a bedroom, study, bath, and toilet. The two head temples, Eiheiji and Sōjiji, are the only Soto monasteries that still have an abbot's quarters compound of the sort that existed in medieval Japanese Zen.
Literally "person" (sha 者) who "waits on" or "attends" (ji 侍).A servant or attendant to an abbot, former abbot, or other senior monk; often a younger monk who is a personal disciple.
In the Chinese monastic bureaucracies that provided the model for medieval Japanese Zen, the abbot had five acolytes (go jisha 五侍者): (1) an incense-burning acolyte (shōkō jisha 燒香侍者), also known as incense acolyte (jikō 侍香), who attended the abbot in all services that called for burning incense and making offerings of food and drink before images enshrined on altars; (2) a secretary acolyte (shojō jisha 書状侍者), who kept records of the abbot's sermons, took dictation, and assisted with official correspondence; (3) a guest-inviting acolyte (shōkyaku jisha 請客侍者), also known as guest acolyte (jikyaku 侍客), who greeted and waited on the abbot's VIP visitors; (4) a robe-and-bowl acolyte (ehatsu jisha 衣鉢侍者), who served as the abbot's valet; and (5) a refreshments acolyte (tōyaku jisha 湯藥侍者), who prepared meals, snacks, tea, and medicines for the abbot and his guests. To be selected as an acolyte was a boost to the career of a young monk because it meant that he had been singled out as having the potential to become a dharma heir and was being groomed for high monastic office. To be in close proximity to the abbot, even in a relatively menial position, was also regarded as an excellent opportunity for spiritual development. In Soto Zen monasteries today, the names and some of the duties of the five acolytes remain, but they are not necessarily fixed, full-time positions.
Not all acolytes wait on living people. In the sangha hall (sōdō 僧堂) or meditation hall (zendō 禪堂) of Zen monasteries, there is a Sacred Monk's acolyte (shōsō jisha 聖僧侍者, abbreviated as shōji 聖侍 or jishō 侍聖) whose primary duty is to tend to the image of the Monju Bodhisattva enshrined there (Monju is known as the "Sacred Monk" because he is depicted in monk's robes), keeping the altar clean and properly decorated, providing offerings of food and drink, and burning incense as part of the daily routine of worship and prayers. There is also a portrait acolyte (jishin jisha 侍眞侍者, abbreviated as jishin 侍眞) whose job it is to arrange incense, flowers, lamps, and candles before the mortuary portraits (shin 眞) of Zen masters, especially the two ancestors (ryōso 兩祖), Dōgen and Keizan, and former abbots who are enshrined in the ancestral teacher's hall (sodō 祖堂), and to attend the spirit of the deceased in funerals, which is believed to be seated in the mortuary portrait.
A number of acolyte positions are also established for the ceremony of giving precepts (jukai e 授戒會), such as the precepts acolyte (kai jisha 戒侍者) and instructing master's acolyte (kyō jisha 教侍者).
Literally "granary," "storehouse," or "treasury" (ku 庫) "hall" (dō 堂), "office" (su 司), or "compound" (in院). In Chinese Buddhist monasteries and the medieval Japanese Zen monasteries modeled after them, the administration hall was a large building that included the main kitchen facilities, stores of food and other supplies, and the offices of many monk administrators, including that of prior (tsūsu 都寺), comptroller (kansu 監寺), assistant comptroller (fūsu 副寺), head cook (tenzo 典座), and labor steward (shissui 直歳). The administration hall was located on the east side of the monastery, opposite the sangha hall (sōdō 僧堂), which stood on the west side. Those two buildings were the vital centers of the management wing and the practice wing of the monastery, respectively. In present day Japanese Zen, only the two Soto School head monasteries, Eiheiji and Sōjiji, have administration halls proper. All other monasteries and temples have a kitchen-residence (kuri 庫裡) instead, which evolved from the layout of the medieval abbot's quarters. "kitchen-residence," "abbot's quarters."
1. The term jōjū, literally "always" (jō 常) "staying" (jū 住), refers to anything - buildings, furniture, icons, scriptures, ritual implements, tools, etc. - that is the permanent property of a monastery and must not be removed by an abbot when he/she leaves office and moves to another monastery. 2. Because management of such property was the concern of monastic officers known as administrators (kusu 庫司), the part of the monastery where they lived and worked-the administration hall (kudō 庫堂) or kitchen-residence (kuri 庫裡)-and the offices themselves became known collectively as the "permanent property" area or administrative wing. In Zen monasteries today, the practice wing of a monastery, as opposed to the administrative wing, is sometimes called "inside the hall" (dōnai 堂内); that is a reference to the sangha hall (sōdō 僧堂) or meditation hall (zendō 禪堂) where monks practice zazen and may also take meals and sleep.
Both Japanese terms given here stand for the "era" or "age" (se 世) of the "end" (matsu 末) of the "dharma" (hō 法). In the Mahayana Buddhism of East Asia there is a widespread belief in the gradual degeneration of the Buddha's dharma (teachings), which is said to progress through three phases. The first one-thousand year (or, in a variant scheme, five-hundred year) period following the death of the Buddha is said to have been the "age of the true dharma" (shōbo 正法), during which time his followers were able to practice in accordance with his teachings and thereby attain awakening. The next one-thousand year period is called the age of the "semblance dharma" (zōhō 像法), in which practice of the dharma continues and things look good on the surface, but spiritual corruption has set in and true attainment no longer occurs. The third and final period, ten thousand years in duration, is styled the "age of the end of the dharma." During this final age, which proponents of the theory in medieval China and Japan calculated was upon them, the teachings of Buddhism survive but the actual practice of the dharma has died out and nobody is able to attain awakening. Belief in the age of the end of the dharma was rampant in Kamakura period (1185-1333) Japan, when it helped to fuel the rise of Pure Land movements which claimed that trying to attain salvation through one's "own efforts" (jiriki 自力) was hopeless in this degenerate age and that one should instead rely on the "other power" (tariki 他力) of the Buddha Amida. Dōgen and Keizan put no stock in theories that denied the value of traditional modes of Buddhist monastic practice, but neither did they entirely reject the notion of three stages in the evolution of the dharma. One eko text in which the "age of the end of the dharma" is mentioned suggests that, in the present degenerate age, it is Dōgen and Keizan whom ordinary beings (including their descendants in the Soto lineage) should rely on. Another eko text appeals to the arhats to "turn the age of the end of the dharma (mappō 末法) into the age of the true dharma (shōbō 正法)."
A period of time following the death of Buddha when his followers, the arhats in particular, were able to successfully put his dharma (teachings) into practice and gain deliverance from suffering in the round of rebirth. "age of the end of the dharma."
All buddhas of the past, present, and future.
Literally "holding up" or "requesting with" (taku 托) the "alms bowl" (hatsu 鉢). In the early stages of development of the Buddhist sangha in ancient India, wandering monks would obtain one meal a day (in the forenoon) by carrying their alms bowls past the homes of lay people and accepting whatever offerings of food were proffered. With the establishment of permanent monastic settlements, monasteries were allowed to accept food from lay patrons, store it, and provide regular communal meals for the monks in residence. In China and Japan, Buddhist monasteries received donations of arable land (worked by peasant farmers) and thus were sometimes able to produce their own food supplies or even put grains and oils on the market. Vegetable gardening by monks themselves in a practice known as communal labor (fushin samu 作務) was also a common feature of all Buddhist monasteries in medieval China, and that practice was continued in the Zen monasteries of Japan. Throughout all of these institutional developments, however, Buddhist monks never forgot the ancient practice of gathering alms food directly from lay people by approaching their dwellings holding an alms bowl.
In contemporary Japan, Zen monks engaged in alms gathering don the bamboo hat, white leggings, and straw sandals of a wandering monk (angya sō 行脚僧). They either carry a bowl or wear a bag around the neck that serves the same purpose, and the offerings they accept usually take the form of uncooked rice or cash. Monks engage in alms gathering either singly or in groups. They often form a line and walk through market places and residential neighborhoods, shouting "rain of dharma" (hō u 法雨) to announce their presence. When someone approaches with an offering they stop, receive it in the bowl or bag, then bow with gassho in thanks before resuming walking. In rural areas, alms gathering may involve a pre-arranged visit to local farmers at harvest time to receive their donations of rice, vegetables, or radishes for pickling. Alms-gathering is understood as a practice that has deep spiritual meaning, for it promotes humility and gratitude in monks and gives the laity an opportunity to make merit. The economic significance of alms-gathering is slight, however, so it is best understood as a ritual reenactment of the ancient Indian Buddhist practice.
The basic meaning of the word gan in the context of East Asian Buddhist is "stupa," or more specifically, the space within a stupa where relics of the Buddha or an eminent monk are enshrined. By extension, gan came to refer to stupa-shaped coffins that are used in the funerals of monks and lay people, and to the stupa-shaped niches or alcoves that are used to enshrine a variety of Buddhist images (e.g bodhisattvas, ancestral teachers, devas). Because those images are the foci of prayers and offerings, the alcoves (gan 龕) that house them may aptly be called "altars." The Sacred Monk's altar (shōgan 聖龕) found in the sangha halls (sōdō 僧堂) and meditation halls (zendō 禪堂) of Zen monasteries is usually a roofed alcove that is enclosed on three sides and has a stupa-shaped opening in front. "stupa"
Literally, the "approach" or "method" (mon門) of [giving] "sweet" (kan 甘) "aromatic beverage" (ro 露). A sequence of verses and dharanis used to ritually feed hungry ghosts (segaki 施餓鬼) and unconnected spirits (muenboke 無縁佛). Although this may be considered a Tantric rite that has its roots in the Shingon (C. Zhenyan 眞言) tradition of Tang dynasty China, the text entitled Ambrosia Gate used in Japanese Zen today derives from Tendai (C. Tiantai 天台) ritual manuals that circulated widely in the Buddhist monasteries of Song dynasty China. The Sino-Japanese term kanro has often been mistranslated as "sweet dew." Ro can mean "dew" in some contexts, but in this case it refers to an aromatic decoction distilled from flowers, fruit, or herbs. Kanro entered the Chinese Buddhist lexicon as a translation of the Sanskrit amta or "nectar of immortality," understood in ancient India as the drink of the devas (gods). In Indian Buddhism, the dharma was likened to amta because it frees those who imbibe it from suffering in the round of rebirth. In China, hungry ghosts are called "burning mouths" because, it is believed, their bad karma causes whatever food comes their way to burst into flames before they can consume it. The ritual offering of ambrosia douses those flames and enables them to receive the same "offerings of nourishment" (kuyō 供養) - food, drink, and merit - that are given to ancestral spirits who have descendants to care for them. "gate," "Bon festival," "hungry ghosts," "decoction."
S. Ānanda. A disciple of Shakamuni, famous for recalling all of the Buddha's discourses (sutras), beginning with the words, "Thus have I heard" (nyoze gamon 如是我聞). In the mythology of the Zen lineage, Anan is the second in the line of twenty-eight Indian ancestral teachers that begins with Kasho and ends with Bodaidaruma.
1. Biological forebears; deceased family members from whom one is descended (in East Asia, patrilineally). In Japanese Zen texts, senzo先祖 always has this meaning, and generally refers to ancestors of lay parishioners of a temple. 2. Spiritual forebears; ancestral teachers (soshi 祖師) in the Zen lineage, from whom living members of the lineage have inherited the dharma. In Japanese Zen texts, the character so祖 when it stands alone usually has this meaning.
Literally, "hall" (dō 堂) for "sacrifice to ancestors" (shi 祠). Also called spirit tablet hall (ihaidō 位牌堂). The area of a monastery or temple where spirit tablets (ihai 位牌) for the ancestors of lay patrons are enshrined, and where memorial services for the spirits of those ancestors are performed. At Eiheiji, Sōjiji, and other large Zen monasteries, the ancestors hall is a large building dedicated entirely to spirit tablets and the services that are associated with them. At ordinary temples, that "ancestors hall" is generally not a separate building, but rather an area of shelves filled with spirit tablets located on one side or to the rear of the Sumeru altar in the main hall (hondō 本堂).
"Records" (roku 録) of the sayings and doings of any "ancestor" (so 祖) in the Zen lineage. These include (1) the collected biographies of Zen masters found in "records of the transmission of the flame" (dentō roku 傳燈録), (2) the discourse records (goroku 語録) of individual Zen masters, and (3) koan collections that draw their root cases (honsoku 本則) from the two aforementioned genres.
A deceased member of the Zen lineage; usually one whose dharma descendants (heirs in subsequent generations) are still flourishing at present.
A "hall" (dō 堂) where the spirit tablets and mortuary portraits (either painted or sculpted) of "ancestral teachers" (soshi 祖師, so 祖) in the Zen lineage are enshrined and given regular offerings of food, drink, and merit. In medieval Japanese Zen monasteries and the Song and Yuan dynasty Chinese Buddhist monasteries on which they were modeled, ancestral teachers halls were also known as portrait halls (shindō 眞堂). They housed mortuary portraits (shin 眞, chinzō 頂相) of ancestral teachers, including the first six ancestors of the Zen lineage in China and other figures honored as founders of major branches of the lineage, as well as the mortuary portraits of former abbots of each particular monastery. In Soto Zen today, the morning sutra chanting that is performed daily includes an "ancestral teachers hall sutra chanting" (sodō fugin 祖堂諷經) that is distinct from the "sutra chanting for founding and former abbots" (kaisan rekijū fugin 開山歴住諷經), but in most cases the spirit tablets and mortuary portraits of ancestral teachers and former abbots are enshrined in the same place. At ordinary temples, that "ancestral teachers hall" is generally not a separate building or hall proper, but rather an area of shelves filled with spirit tablets located on one side or to the rear of the Sumeru altar in the main hall (hondō 本堂). ☞"mortuary portrait."
Literally, "annual" (nen 年) "mourning" (ki 忌). The anniversary of the day of death of a parent or ancestor, upon which offerings to the ancestral spirit are made. Also called "main memorial" (shōki 正忌), to distinguish it from monthly memorials (gakki 月忌). →"memorial."
Rakan is an abbreviation of arakan 阿羅漢, which is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese transliteration of the Sanskrit arhat or Pali arahant, meaning "worthy one." Ōgu, literally "worthy" (ō 應) of "offerings" (gu 供), is the Sino-Japanese translation of arhat.
1. "Worthy one" (ōgu 應供, S. arhat) is an epithet of Buddha Shakamuni.
2. In the Abhidharma (commentarial and philosophical) literature that all Buddhists recognize as canonical, an arhat is defined technically as a fully ordained male who has successfully followed the Buddhist path to its conclusion, which is to say, a monk who will not be born again but is certain to enter nirvana when his current (final) rebirth comes to an end.
3. Any monk who is named in the sutras as an immediate disciple of Shakamuni Buddha. Mahayana sutra literature is famous for its disparagement of the arhats as disciples of the Buddha who are selfish because they strive for nirvana for themselves alone, whereas the noble bodhisattvas (the Mahayana ideal) vow to forswear nirvana and remain in the round of rebirth to alleviate the sufferings of all beings. Arhats are further depicted as ignorant of the emptiness (kū 空) of dharmas (hō 法), whereas bodhisattvas are said to be freed from suffering by their insight into emptiness even when their compassion takes them into the most painful realms of existence. In the Mahayana Buddhism of Song and Yuan dynasty China, nevertheless, the arhats were venerated as hermit sages who, in their eccentricities and supernatural powers, took on many of the qualities of Daoist immortals. The Zen school in medieval China was especially sympathetic to the arhats because it revered two of them, Makakasho and Anan, as the first and second ancestral teachers of the Zen lineage in India.
In any case, Chinese Buddhist modes of arhat depiction and worship have carried over into Japanese Zen, where they have survived from the Kamakura period (1185-1333) down to the present. Soto Zen monasteries and temples have a dedicated arhats hall, or at least an area near the central Sumeru altar, where images of the sixteen arhats (jūroku rakan 十六羅漢) are enshrined. The arhats are supplicated with regular offerings of food, drink, and merit. The morning sutra chanting performed every day includes a sutra chanting for arhats (ōgu fugin 應供諷經), in which they are asked to use their supernatural powers to liberate all living beings (i.e. to act as bodhisattvas); to support the monastic community both spiritually and materially (the latter by insuring a steady supply of food); and to prevent disasters. At Soto monasteries there is also a monthly offering to the arhats (rakan kuyō 羅漢供養) that is held in the arhats hall, and an elaborate arhats liturgy (rakan kōshiki 羅漢講式) that is held there semi-annually. ☞"arhats hall."
A sesshin held to commemorate the Second Ancestor in China (Shintan niso 震旦二祖), Great Master Eka (Eka daishi 慧可大師), who is said to have severed his own arm (danpi 斷臂) and offered it to Bodaidaruma to demonstrate the sincerity and intensity of his desire for the latter's teachings. "Eka," "Bodaidaruma."
Literally a "member" (sha 者) of the "[lower] ranks" (an 行). To be distinguished from gyōja行者, a word written with the same two Chinese characters, which denotes a religious "ascetic" or "practitioner." A number of minor positions in a monastery bureaucracy are designated as "assistants." In medieval China and Japan, those positions were held by postulants (anja行者), i.e. lay candidates for monastic ordination, but in present day Japanese Zen they are held by monks in training (unsui 雲水). "postulant."
Short for fūkansu 副監寺, literally "assistant" (fū 副) to the "supervisor" (kan 監) of the "monastery" (su 寺). An officer in a monastic bureaucracy; one of the six stewards (roku chiji 六知事). In Song dynasty Chinese and medieval Japanese Zen monasteries, the assistant comptroller was the chief accountant, a bookkeeper who served under the comptroller (kansu 監寺) and kept track of expenses for food and other supplies and income from donations and estate lands. In contemporary Soto Zen, only training monasteries (Eiheiji and Sōjiji foremost among them) have a functioning office of assistant comptroller held by a senior monk who actually serves as accountant for the monastery. The position of assistant comptroller survives, for the most part, only as a honorific title and seating position in various ritual observances, which some elder monk holds for the duration of the ceremony. "six stewards."
To "bring about" or "become" (jō成) a "buddha" (butsu 佛); to attain awakening. Synonymous with "attain the way" (jōdō 成道). "awakening."
To "accomplish," "complete," or "attain" (jō 成) the "way" (dō 道) of the Buddha; to attain awakening. Synonymous with "attain buddhahood" (jōbutsu 成佛). ☞"awakening."
S. bodhi. A state of mind that is fully and accurately aware, as when one is awake rather than asleep or dreaming. To have (or be in the state of) bodhi is to be a buddha, an "awakened one," free from the delusion (mayoi 迷) that characterizes ordinary living beings.
A sesshin that commemorates Shakamuni Buddha's attainment of awakening, traditionally said in East Asia to have occurred on the "eighth day" (hatsu八) of the "last month" (rō 臘): the 12th month in the lunar calendar. In modern Japan, December 8 is set as the day for Buddha's attainment assembly (jōdō e 成道會). The awakening day sesshin typically culminates on the dawn of that day, at the time when the Shakamuni is said to have seen the morning star and attained buddhahood. →"sesshin."
Baddabara Bodhisattva/bamboo staff/ban going on foot/bardo/bare right shoulder/bathe Buddha/bell/bell tower/benefit/between retreats/binding of retreat/binding rules/binding rules and holding a retreat/birth and death/Birushana/Birushana Buddha/blessings/Bodaidaruma/bodhi/bodhi tree/bodhisattva/body, speech, and mind/Bon festival/bowl-bell/buddha/buddha hall/Buddha Shakamuni/buddha-treasure/buddhas of the ten directions
S. Bhadrapāla. Also called Kengo Bodhisattva (Kengo Daishi 賢護大士). A bodhisattva monk who is said to have attained awakening upon entering water. His image is enshrined as the protector of the bathhouse (yokushitsu 浴室) in Zen monasteries. Baddabara appears in the Great Buddha's Ushnisha Ten Thousand Practices Heroic March Sutra (Dai butchō mangyō shuryōgon kyō 大佛頂萬行首楞嚴經). The name Bhadrapāla is also translated into Sino-Japanese as Resolute Defender (Kengo 堅護) and Good Defender (Zenshu 善守).
Literally, "bamboo" (chiku, shitsu 竹) "spatula" (hei 篦). A stick, between a 50 cm and 1 m in length, with a slight bow in it (the shape of a spatula), originally made by wrapping strands of bamboo around a core and covering them with lacquer. It seems likely from the size and weight of this implement that it originally functioned as a whip, for an animal or person struck with it would be startled or stung but never seriously injured. By the Song dynasty in China the bamboo staff had become a part of the formal regalia of a Buddhist abbot, who wielded it as a symbol of authority when taking the high seat in a dharma hall and instructing or engaging in debate with an assembly of monks and lay followers. Abbots belonging to the Zen lineage, as depicted in their biographies and discourse records, occasionally used their bamboo staffs to strike disciples. Such use of the bamboo staff was understood to be instructive, not punitive: to disabuse the recipient of their stubbornly held views or startle them into awakening. In present day Soto Zen, the bamboo staff is wielded by the head seat (shuso 首座) in the dharma combat ceremony (hossen shiki 法戰式), as a sign that he/she has assumed the position of authority in a debate that is usually held by the abbot.
It was customary for wandering ascetics in ancient India to take shelter and cease wandering during the monsoon rainy season. The Buddha is said to have forbade his monk followers to travel on foot during the rains, lest they inadvertently step on and kill worms and insects. →"retreat."
The state of existence between death and rebirth. Literally, that which is "in between" (chū 中) and "hidden" or "vague" (in 陰). In the Buddhist tradition there is a widespread belief that the deceased will be in the bardo state for a maximum of seven weeks, or forty-nine days in all. At the end of each week, if the spirit of the deceased has not entered a new womb, it "dies" again and starts the process of locating a womb over again.
In ancient India, Buddhist monks wore robes (kesa 袈裟, S. kāṣāya) that were draped over the left shoulder, leaving the right shoulder bare. Such robes are still worn today by monks of the Theravāda school in the countries of Southeast Asia where the climate is warm. In the Buddhism of East Asian (China, Korea, and Japan) where the climate is colder, the kesa is draped over the left shoulder only but it is always worn over robes that cover both shoulders.
The "pouring water on" (kan 灌) and "bathing" (yoku 浴) of "Buddha" (butsu佛). This is most commonly performed in conjunction with Buddha's birthday assembly (buttan e 佛誕會), popularly known as the "flower festival" (hana matsuri 花祭). An image of the newborn Buddha (tanjō butsu 誕生佛) is set in a bowl in a flower pavilion (katei 花亭, hana midō 花御堂) that represents the Lumbini grove where Shakamuni was born. Participants ladle sweet tea (amacha 甘茶) over the image. →"bathe," "Verse of Bathing Buddha."
Buddhist temple bells in East Asia are cast bronze bowls, ranging in size from about 20 centimeters to as much as 2 meters in diameter, which are hung mouth down from some sort of frame, scaffolding, or bar. All bells are struck externally, the smaller ones with a wooden mallet, the larger ones with a wooden beam that is suspended on one side by ropes. In the daily life of a monastery various bells are used to signal the time and the start of particular activities. The reverberation of large temple bells, which can be heard at a great distance, are also understood (literally and metaphorically) as a means of spreading the dharma.
The word "tower" (rō 樓) originally meant a structure at least two stories high. In the Chinese Buddhist monasteries of the Song and Yuan dynasties, on which medieval Japanese Zen monasteries were modeled, there often was a tower that held a great bell (daishō 大鐘) on its second floor, which had a roof but no walls. A few such buildings can still be found at large Zen monasteries in Japan today, but most bell towers consist simply of a roofed scaffolding from which a large bell and external striking beam is suspended. The structure stands on a low stone pedestal, which the person ringing the bell steps up onto.
1. "Benefit" v.t. (riyaku 利益, rijun 利潤): to help others, either materially or spiritually. The aspiration of a bodhisattva. 2. "Benefit" n. (ri 利) is one of four virtues listed on the seniority chart (enkyō 圓鏡) and monastic seniority placard (kairōhai 戒臘牌).
Literally the "period" (ai 間) of "loosened" (ge 解) rules. The interim periods, each three months long, that intersperse the summer and winter retreats. Traditionally, a time when Buddhist monks are free to wander, make pilgrimages to sacred sites, and travel to other monasteries where they wish to register for a retreat. →"retreat."
Literally "binding" (ketsu 結) the "summer" (ge 夏), an abbreviation of "summer retreat" (ge ango 夏安居). In Chinese Buddhism, all monastic retreats came to be called "summers," regardless of the season they were held in. →"retreat."
S. sasāra. 1. The round (rinne 輪廻) of repeated deaths and births in different modes of sentient existence, conditioned by karma (actions and their results). 2. A continuous process of change taking place every instant, that is, "momentary birth and death" (setsuna shōji 刹那生死), conditioned by karma. 3. The entire life-span of a sentient being, from birth until death (ichigo shōji 一期生死).
S. Vairocana, "shining one." → "Birushana Buddha"
Abbreviated as Rushana Buddha (Rushana butsu 盧遮那佛). S. Vairocana, "shining one," a name that originally meant the sun, to which the Buddha's wisdom is compared. 1. The central buddha of the Flower Garland Sutra (Kegonkyō, C. Huayanjing 華嚴經). 2. In the Shingon (C. Zhenyan 眞言) school of esoteric Buddhism, Birushana is the Tathagata Dainichi (Dainichi nyorai 大日如來), the "Great Sun" (Dainichi 大日) Buddha who is the universal ground of being. 3. In the Tendai (C. Tiantai 天台) school's interpretation of the doctrine of the three bodies (sanshin 三身, S. trikāya) of Buddha, Birushana 毘盧遮那 is the dharma body (hosshin 法身, S. dharmakāya), Rushana 盧舍那 is the response body (ōshin應身, S. sambhogakāya), and Shakamuni is the transformation body (keshin 化身, S. nirmāakāya) of the Buddha. The verse of Ten Buddha Names (Jūbutsumyō 十佛名) used in Japanese Zen begins with those three names.
Variously translated as "kindness," "mercy," "charity," "favor," grace," and "benefit," the word on 恩 denotes a beneficial act performed by someone who is above the recipient in a social or spiritual hierarchy, such as a parent, teacher, ruler, or deity. Two strong connotations of the word in East Asian culture are (1) that one should feel gratitude for the blessings bestowed, and (2) that one is morally obligated to "repay the blessings" (hōon 報恩) in some way, e.g. by living up to the expectations of parents and teachers, by caring for them in their old age, and by passing on what has learned from them to later generations so that their efforts in training one will continue to bear fruit in the future.
S. Bodhidharma. According to traditional histories of the Zen lineage, Bodaidaruma was the 28th ancestral teacher (soshi 祖師) of the lineage in India and the first ancestor (shoso 初祖) of the lineage in China. He is said to have been the third son of a South Indian king who became a Buddhist monk, inherited the mind dharma (shinbō 心法) of Shakamuni that is the legacy of the Zen lineage, "come from the west" in the Putong era (520-527) of the Liang dynasty, and finally transmitted the dharma to his disciple Eka (C. Huike 慧可), thereby establishing the Zen lineage in China. Although Bodaidaruma first appears in the Additional Biographies of Eminent Monks (Zoku kōsō den 續高僧傳) as a practitioner of dhyana who promoted the Lanka Sutra (Ryōga kyō 楞伽經), Zen histories later rejected that account and described his teaching method as a "transmission of [buddha-] mind by means of mind, without setting up scriptures" (ishin denshin furyū monji 以心傳心不立文字).
S. bodhi. The awakening that makes one a buddha.
1. Tree under which the Buddha gained awakening. 2. The "tree of awakening," used metaphorically: to "sit under the bodhi tree" means to become a buddha.
S. bodhisattva, literally "awakening" (bodhi) "being" (sattva). 1. An epithet for the Buddha Shakamuni in his former lives, before becoming a buddha. 2. Any sentient being on the path to buddhahood, which is described in Mahayana sutras as beginning with a vow to attain awakening for the sake of all living beings and not to pass into nirvana while any beings remain suffering in the round of birth and death. 3. Exalted beings who have advanced so far on the path to awakening as to be virtually equal to buddhas in their wisdom, compassion, and ability to help ordinary beings. High level bodhisattvas such as Kannon, Fugen, Miroku, and Jizō are worshipped and prayed to as savior deities.
The three modes of karma (sangō 三業), i.e. the three ways in which humans can act: physically, verbally, and mentally.
The "ghost festival." A set of Buddhist observances, practiced all over East Asia from the eighth century down to the present, which is grounded in the ritual feeding of hungry ghosts and also involves caring for the spirits of ancestors and other deceased family members. These observances find some scriptural justification in the Ullambana Sutra (Urabonkyō 盂蘭盆經), an apocryphal text (i.e. one that claimed to be a translation of an Indian Buddhist sutra but was actually written in China) from which the name of the festival derives. In ordinary Japanese usage, urabon is shortened to bon, and the honorific prefix "o" (o 御, お) is added.
Although the Ullambana Sutra itself was probably written in China in the sixth century and helped the Buddhist sangha there establish itself as a participant in indigenous modes of ancestor worship, there was some Indian precedent for the idea of dedicating merit earned by supporting the sangha to help ancestral spirits. Scholars debate the etymology of the Buddhist Sanskrit term ullambana, but its derivation remains obscure. One theory is that it comes from the Sanskrit avalambana, meaning "hanging upside down," a possible reference to the pitiful state of spirits who are "left hanging," as it were, when they have no living descendants to make the usual ancestral offerings of food and drink to them. Another theory traces the etymology of ullambana to uruban, a Persian word for spirits of the dead. A folk etymology is that ullambana refers to "bowls" (bon, C. pen 盆) that are used in making offerings to spirits, but the Chinese character pen盆 was probably used simply for its sound value in transliterating the third syllable of ullambana.
Anyhow, the Ullambana Sutra makes the case that the traditional Chinese mode of ancestor worship, which involves "giving nourishment" (kuyō, C. gongyang 供養) to the spirits by placing offerings of food and drink on an altar, may not succeed if the bad karma of the ancestors themselves has resulted in their rebirth as hungry ghosts. The sutra illustrates this point with the story of the monk Mokuren's (C. Mulian 目連, S. Maudgalyāyana) mother, who having been reborn as a hungry ghost, is unable to consume the food offerings he gives her: whatever she lifts to her mouth to eat bursts into flames. To be truly filial, the sutra argues, one should first make donations to the sangha of monks and nuns, the most fertile field of merit, thereby tapping into a huge store of good karma that can be used to force the offerings through to the ancestors and help them into a more happy state of existence. As the Buddha Shakamuni tells Mokuren in the sutra:
On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, the day on which Buddhas rejoice, the day on which monks release themselves, they must all place food and drink of one of the hundred flavors inside the yulan bowl and donate it to monks of the ten directions who are releasing themselves. When the prayers are finished, one's present parents will attain long life, passing one hundred years without sickness and without any of the torments of suffering, while seven generations of ancestors will leave the sufferings of hungry ghost-hood, attaining rebirth among gods and humans and blessings without limit. (Translation by Stephen F. Teiser, The Ghost Festival in Medieval Japan [Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 1988], p. 53).
The Ullambana Sutra informed the practice of feeding hungry ghosts (segaki 施餓鬼), also known as "saving the burning mouths," which grew tremendously popular from the eighth century on and enabled the Buddhist sangha to associate itself with traditional Chinese modes of ancestor worship. This helped deflect a major criticism of Buddhist monks in medieval China, which was that they were unfilial because, as celibates, they produced no descendants to care for their ancestors. Through the ghost festival, the sangha was also able to promote itself as a kind of public charity organization that could care for and placate disconnected, potentially dangerous spirits who had no family, thereby protecting the imperial state and the populace at large from their baneful influence. The feeding of hungry ghosts also expressed the Mahayana Buddhist ideal of universal compassion and sent the message that the "family" of the Buddha included all living beings.
The traditional date for the Bon festival is the 15th day of the 7th month by the Chinese lunar calendar, and Standard Observances of the Soto Zen School honors that tradition by giving July 15 as the date of the Bon festival great food-offering assembly (urabon daisejiki e 盂蘭盆大施食會). Because Japan adopted the Western (Gregorian) calendar in modern times, however, in many parts of the country Bon is celebrated during the week centered on August 15, which feels closer in season to 7/15 by the old lunar calendar. In popular Japanese belief, Bon is the time when ancestral spirits "return" to visit the world of the living and should be greeted with due respect. People clean the graves of family members at this time and make offerings of fruit, fresh flowers, and incense. They invite Buddhist priests to their homes to perform sutra chanting services in front of family buddha altars (butsudan 佛壇). Because the spirits need guidance through the dark, lanterns or candles are sometimes lit on graves. In some communities, candles are placed in paper boats and set adrift in rivers, and in the city of Kyoto a vast bonfire in the shape of the Chinese character "great" (dai 大) is lit on a mountainside. During the week of the Bon festival many Japanese Buddhist temples, including those affiliated with the Zen schools, hold assemblies for feeding hungry ghosts (segaki 施餓鬼) at which an altar for the "myriad spirits of the three realms (sangai banrei 三界萬靈) is set up and the ritual cycle known as the Ambrosia Gate (Kanromon 甘露門) is performed by a group of monks. The merit produced in that rite is dedicated to the spirits of deceased family members of the parishioners who attend. Each family is typically given a new stupa board (tōba 塔婆) to place next to the family gravestone. →"hungry ghost," "Mokuren."
A type of bell, traditionally made of a thin sheet of copper beaten into the shape of a bowl, which rests mouth up on a cushion and is rung by striking the lip with a baton. The smallest bowl bell is the so-called hand–bell (shukei 手鏧, inkin 引鏧), which is affixed to the end of a wooden handle by a bolt that runs through the bottom of the bowl and the cushion; the bell is rung by holding the handle in one hand, grasping a thin bronze rod (attached to the handle by a string) in the other hand, and striking the lip of the bowl. The small bowl-bell (shōkei 小鏧) is a medium-sized bowl, about 20 cm in diameter, that sits on a cushion and is rung with a wooden baton. Large bowl-bells (daikei 大鏧) range from 30 cm to more than 50 cm in diameter; they sit on a cushion and are rung with a wooden baton covered in leather. When any bowl-bell is rung, it reverberates for long time unless it is damped (osaeru 押さえる) by grabbing the lip with the hand or holding the baton against it. Another technique for sounding a bowl-bell is to damp it with one hand while striking it with the butt of the baton, held in the other hand. This is called "hitting damped bowl-bell with butt of baton" (nakkei 捺鏧).
S. buddha, literally "awakened." 1. When used as a proper noun, "Buddha" refers to the Buddha Shakamuni, founder of the Buddhist religion in the present world cycle; see "Shakamuni." 2. A being who has attained unsurpassed supreme and perfect awakening (anokutara sanmyaku sanbodai 阿耨多羅三藐三菩提). In the Mahayana Buddhist tradition, there are countless buddhas of the past, present, and future, each presiding over his own buddha land.
A building dedicated to the worship of a buddha. In the Zen tradition, the main object of veneration (honzon 本尊) in a buddha hall is usually Buddha Shakamuni, whose image is seated on a raised platform. Shakamuni is sometimes shown "holding up a flower" (nenge 拈華, 拈花); this is a depiction of the wordless sermon he is said to have delivered prior to transmitting the formless mind dharma to his disciple Makakasho, thereby founding the Zen lineage. The image of Shakamuni is sometimes flanked by images of Makakasho and Anan, two disciples of the Buddha revered as the first and second ancestors of the lineage in India. Services in a buddha hall generally involve the chanting of sutras and dharanis to generate merit, which is then dedicated to the Buddha enshrined in support of various prayers. The offering of merit is accompanied with offerings of food, drink, and incense, which are arranged on a table in front of the altar. Services also involve prostrations and sometimes circumambulation, a procession of monks that does not actually go around the altar (as was originally the case) but forms a circle in front of it.
In medieval Japanese Zen monasteries built on the Song Chinese model, the buddha hall was a massive structure that stood on the central north-south axis of the campus, between the mountain gate (sanmon 山門) and the dharma hall (hattō 法堂). It was of post-and-beam construction with a gabled tile roof and stone floor, housing a large Sumeru altar (shumidan 須彌壇) with the buddha image on it, facing south. The arrangement mirrored that of the audience hall in the imperial court, where the emperor sat on a dais facing south, his courtiers lined up in rows on the east and west sides.
In Japanese Zen today, only a handful of Chinese-style buddha halls survive, mostly at a few Rinzai school head temples in Kyoto and Kamakura. The two Soto head temples, Eiheiji and Sōjiji, both have buddha halls, but most training monasteries (sōdō僧堂) do not. No buddha halls exist at any of the more than 14,000 ordinary temples belonging to the Soto school. In most monasteries and temples, the traditional functions of a buddha hall, including the key one of enshrining the main object of veneration, have been taken over by a building known as the main hall (hondō 本堂). Although Standard Observances of the Soto Zen School refers to a buddha hall in various contexts, as for example the "buddha hall sutra chanting" (butsuden fugin 佛殿諷經), it is understood that in most cases the observances in question will take place in a main hall. →"main hall."
S. Śākyamuni buddha. The buddha who founded the Buddhist religion in the present world cycle. → "Shakamuni."
First of three treasures: buddha, dharma, and sangha.
All buddhas everywhere.
In East Asia, most Buddhist canons or "complete collections of sacred scriptures" (issaikyō 一切經) are written in classical Chinese. They include not only the traditional "three collections" (sanzō 三藏, S. tripiaka) of translated Indian sutras (kyō 經), Vinaya (ritsu 律) texts, and Abhidharma commentaries (ron 論), but histories of the Buddhist sangha and collections of biographies and discourse records of eminent Chinese monks. In China, it was the prerogative of the imperial court to decide what texts would and would not be included in official printings of the Buddhist canon. One mark of the success of the Zen school in Song and Yuan dynasty China was the very large amount of its literature, mostly records of ancestral teachers (soshi 祖師) in the Zen lineage, that was incorporated into imperial editions of the canon. To publish an edition of the canon was a complex, time-consuming, and expensive project, for all the characters on every page of text had to first be carved (in reverse) on a block of wood for printing, and there were many thousands of pages. By the same token, to sponsor a printing of the canon was believed to produce a huge amount of merit.
Originally a Chinese translation of Sanskrit hetu-pratyaya, meaning the "direct cause and enabling conditions" of the arising of dharmas. Later, a generic term for karmic conditioning and, in the Japanese popular imagination, the idea that certain events were "bound to happen" because they were the result of actions taken or relationships fostered in past lives.
To read sutras aloud in a rhythmic manner, usually for the purpose of generating merit (kudoku 功徳) that can be dedicated in support of specific prayers.
Literally "tranquil" (an 安) "shelter" (go 居) at times when monks are "forbidden" (kin 禁) to wander "on foot" (soku 足). Originally, in ancient India, that was during the season of the monsoon rains. A reason given for the ban on travel in that season was that it was difficult to avoid stepping on and killing living beings. The rainy season, of course, was not a pleasant or healthy time for anyone to walk, sit, or sleep outdoors. In East Asian Buddhism, where observance of both a rains retreat (summer retreat) and a snow retreat (winter retreat) is customary, the rule forbidding travel applies only to monks who are registered in a monastery for a retreat. It insures stability of personnel within the monastic bureaucracy for the duration of the retreat. →"retreat."
A cast iron "sounding board" or "gong" (han 版) hung near the kitchen in Zen monasteries; although it is basically flat, it has the stylized shape of a "cloud" (un 雲) as those are depicted in East Asian Buddhist paintings.
Another name for a sangha hall (sōdō 僧堂). The name "cloud" (un 雲) "hall" (dō 堂) is sometimes explained as an abbreviation of "clouds and water hall" (unsui dō 雲水堂), because in Japanese Zen young monks in communal training at a monastery are called unsui and the sangha hall is where they are quartered. However, at the time when Dōgen was in China, the designation unsui 雲水 referred to wandering monks, who were likened to "fleeting clouds and floating water (kōun ryūsui 行雲流水) in their lack of any fixed abode. Those who had "hung up the staff" (kata 掛搭) of a wandering monk and taken up residence in a sangha hall were not called unsui, and the "clouds and water halls" (unsui dō 雲水堂) in Chinese monasteries were in fact temporary quarters for wandering monks who were not allowed into a sangha hall. The "cloud hall" seems to have gotten its name, rather, from the notion that the monks in a sangha hall are numerous and crowded together like so many clouds piled up in the sky.
Monks who belong to the sangha hall assembly (sōdōshu 僧堂衆), a.k.a. great assembly (daishu 大衆), are also assigned seats in a facility known as the "quarters" (ryō 寮) for the "assembly" (shu 衆). That common quarters is the place where they are allowed to read and write, mend their robes, use moxa, drink tea informally, and engage in other activities that are not permitted in the more strictly regulated sangha hall. In Chinese Buddhist monasteries of the Song and Yuan dynasties and the Zen monasteries that were modeled after them in medieval Japan, the common quarters were located in close proximity to the sangha halls and were outfitted in much the same way, with a number of long low platforms arranged along the walls and in blocks in the middle of the room. As with the sangha halls, the common quarters had an altar for a "sacred monk" (shōsō 聖僧) located in the center, but the image enshrined was one of Kannon Bodhisattva rather than Monju Bodhisattva. The assignment of a place in the sangha hall to a new arrival was followed immediately by a similar assignment to a reading place (kandoku i 看讀位) in the common quarters, in accordance with ritual procedures that were no less formal and solemn. If the sangha hall had no boxes at the rear of the platforms, new arrivals were to store all of their gear at their places in the common quarters, and even if boxes were available in the sangha hall, they were to keep their personal tea cups and reading materials in the common quarters. The common quarters differed from the sangha hall in that the platforms were outfitted with desks, the ceiling had illuminating windows (meisō 明窗) (skylights) to facilitate reading, and bookshelves containing sutra literature as well as Zen records were located between the platforms. In addition to serving as a study hall, the common quarters were equipped for serving tea. At least some of the tea services held there were highly ritualized affairs involving the monastic officers and the abbot as well as the monks of the great assembly. The location of a sewing room behind or sometimes in the common quarters shows that the facility was also used by the monks of the great assembly for personal tasks such as mending robes. Behind or in the rear of the main quarters (honryō 本寮) were rooms for the head seat and manager of the common quarters, the two monastic officers in charge of the facility. In Japanese Zen today, only a handful of Soto monasteries (Eiheiji and Sōjiji first among them) are equipped with fully operational Song Chinese style sangha halls; those are the only places that still have Song style common quarters. →"sangha hall."
A Sino-Japanese transliteration of Sanskrit poṣadha, the bimonthly gathering of the sangha to recite the Pratimoksha, a list of moral precepts undertaken by individual monks at the time of ordination, and solicit the public confession of any transgressions. In China, the Pratimoksha most often used was one associated with the Four Part Vinaya (Shibun ritsu 四分律); it contained 250 moral precepts for monks. Over time, however, there were efforts in China to replace the "Hinayana" Pratimoksha with a "Mahayana" version that could be used in rites of confession. That resulted in the development of the so-called bodhisattva precepts, which are the ones used for confession in contemporary Soto Zen. →"Pratimoksha," "bodhisattva precepts."
A koan collection, at the core of which are one hundred "verse comments on old cases" (juko 頌古) composed by Wanshi Shōkaku (C. Hongzhi Zhengjue 宏智正覺, 1091–1157), an eminent monk in the Soto 曹洞 lineage who was also known as Reverend Kaku of Tendō (Tendō Kaku Oshō, C. Tiantong Jue Heshang 天童覺和尚). The full title of the text is Congrong Hermitage Record: Old Man Banshō's Evaluations of Tendō Kaku's Verse Comments on Old Cases (Banshō rōjin hyōshō tendō kaku juko shōyōroku 萬松老人評唱天童覺和尚頌古從容録). The Congrong Hermitage Record as we have it today took shape in 1223 at the hand of Zen master Banshō Gyōshū (C. Wansong Xingxiu 萬松行秀, 1166–1246), who was living in the Congrong Hermitage (Shōyō an, C. Congrong an 從容菴) at the Blessings Repaying Monastery (Hōonji 報恩寺) in Yanjing. To each root case (honsoku 本則) and attached verse comment (song 頌) found in the core text by Tendō Kaku, Banshō added (1) a prose "instruction to the assembly" (shishu 示衆) which precedes the citation of the case and serves as a sort of introductory remark; (2) a prose commentary on the case; and (3) a prose commentary on the verse. Moreover, Banshō added interlinear capping phrases to each case and verse.
Literally, to "go up" (jō 上) to the "hall" (dō 堂). The reference here is to a dharma hall (hattō 法堂), where all the residents of a monastery (and outside visitors as well) gather to hear the abbot give a sermon or engage members of the assembly in debate (mondō 問答). It is not clear whether the verb "go up" refers to the entire assembly that enters a dharma hall, or just the abbot, who mounts a high seat (kōza 高座) on the Sumeru altar in a dharma hall for the occasion. In Chinese Buddhist monasteries of the Song dynasty and the medieval Japanese Zen monasteries that were modeled after them, convocations in a dharma hall were among the most solemn, formal observations held on a regular basis. The words of the abbot, who was understood to speak in the capacity of a flesh-and-blood buddha, were recorded for posterity. Abbots belonging to the Zen lineage were often asked to comment on "old cases" (kosoku 古則) (i.e. koans), or raised such cases themselves to test their followers in the audience. →"dharma hall."
Daigen Shuri Bodhisattva/Daruma/debut/debut and respectfully ascend to abbacy/decoction/dedicate merit/dharani/dharma hall/dharma heir/dharma inheritance/dharma lamp/dharma lineage/dharma name/dharma talk/dharma transmission/Dōgen/during retreat
A monastery-protecting spirit (gogaranjin 護伽藍神) enshrined in the earth spirit's hall of virtually every Soto monastery and temple in Japan today. His full name is Jōhō Shichirō Daigen Shuri Bodhisattva (Jōhō Shichirō Daigen Shuri Bosatsu 招寶七郎大權修理菩薩). He was originally the earth spirit of King Ashoka Mountain (Aikuōzan, C. Ayuwangshan 阿育王山), a large monastery that Dōgen visited in China, and was adopted by Dōgen as a protector of Eiheiji. →"earth spirit."
Abbreviation of →Bodaidaruma.
Literally, "investiture with a jade tablet" (zui 瑞) upon entering the "world" (se 世) as an imperial appointee. In Song China, the abbots of large public Buddhist monasteries were appointed by the imperial court, an event that was called their "debut." A similar practice carried over into the Zen monasteries of medieval Japan. In present day Soto Zen, however, a monk or nun undergoes his/her debut by going to one of the two head temples (dai honzan 大本山), either Eiheiji or Sōjiji, to formally receive the qualifications to serve as the abbot (resident priest) of an ordinary temple. Because the rite entails briefly becoming the titular abbot of the head temple, it is popularly called the "one night abbacy" (ichiya jūshoku 一夜住職).
The abbacy ascended to is that of a head temple, in name only, and only for one day. →"debut."
An infusion. A drink made by decocting (senshu 煎取) - literally, "obtaining by boiling" - fruits, seeds, herbs, or spices to extract the essence; usually considered medicinal or stimulating. Tea (cha, sa 茶) is a decoction, but one so common that it is called by its own name. At Buddhist monasteries in East Asia, tea and other decoctions are served and consumed by the living on various social and ceremonial occasions. Examples include a rice decoction (beitō 米湯), plum decoction (baitō 梅湯), and sweet decoction (mittō 蜜湯) or sugar decoction (satō tō 砂糖湯). Tea and other decoctions are also used as offerings of nourishment (kuyō 供養) made to various deities and spirits, in cups placed before the altars that hold their icons. The term fragrant decoction (kōtō 香湯) refers both to drinks served in cups to the living and to spirits, and to liquid used to bathe images as an act of worship. According to Keizan's Rules of Purity, the fragrant decoction used to bathe an image of the newborn Buddha should be made by decocting five kinds of wood: peach, plum, pine, oak, and willow. In ordinary Japanese, the word tō 湯 often refers simply to hot water, such as that used for bathing or washing dishes, but boiled water can also be served as a "decoction." The expression hot water (ontō 温湯) refers to the water used to clean bowls at the end of a meal in a monastery, but it can also be translated as "warm" (on 温) "decoction" (tō 湯).
S. pari【左下矢印】āmanā. To transfer or give away merit (kudoku 功徳), meaning the karmic fruits or beneficial results of one's own good deeds, to another person or being. In Mahayana texts, especially, one finds the idea that a bodhisattva should from the very start dedicate all the merit that results from his/her cultivation of morality, concentration, and wisdom to all living beings. A great many observances in East Asian Buddhism hinge on the ritual production and dedication of merit. Merit is earned or accumulated by chanting sutras and dharanis, mindfully reciting buddha names, circumambulating, making prostrations and offerings to buddhas enshrined on altars, and other good deeds that are either acts of worship of Buddha or acts that spread his teachings. Merit is then spent or given away by formally reciting a verse for the dedication of merit (ekōmon 囘向文) which (1) states how the merit was generated, (2) names the recipient(s) of the merit, and (3) explains the hoped for outcome of the merit transference. In some cases, merit is dedicated to sacred beings such as buddhas and deities as a kind of offering similar to (and usually performed in conjunction with) offerings of food and drink to ancestral spirits. In those cases, the third part of the dedicatory verse is typically a prayer that asks the powerful recipient for some specific benefits in return. →"merit."
S. dhāraī, literally, "that which supports." A magical spell, chanted either to make something happen (e.g. open the throats of hungry ghosts to enable them to consume an offering of food) or to produce merit for dedication. Dharanis consist of strings of sounds that are deemed sacred and powerful, although they often have little or no discernible semantic value. Proper pronunciation of the sounds is deemed necessary for them to be effective. The Chinese characters with which dharanis are written were all selected by the original translators of Indian Buddhist texts into classical Chinese for their phonetic values (not their meanings) as a device to transliterate (not translate) spells that were originally written and/or chanted in Indic languages. Japanese liturgical handbooks always include a pronunciation guide, written in the kana syllabary, that runs alongside the Chinese characters.
Attempts have been made in the past to translate dharanis into English. Because dharanis have no meaning in the classical Chinese in which they are written, however, any such attempt must begin by reconstructing a text in the original Indic language (usually presumed to be Sanskrit) and then proceed to translate that hypothetical text into English. It is true that certain combinations of Chinese characters in dharanis, even when chanted by Japanese today, are recognizable as Sanskrit words. From the standpoint of critical scholarship, however, the reconstruction of a complete, ostensibly original text is a highly dubious process, for there is no way of knowing for sure which Indic or Central Asian language served as the starting point for any given Chinese transliteration, and there is no reason to assume that even the original Indic version had a clear enough syntax or meaning to support translation. That, and the fact that Buddhists in East Asia have never attempted to translate dharanis, has persuaded the board of editors of the Soto Zen Text Project to stick with the tradition of transliterating them (i.e. representing the Japanese kana in Roman letters). Some Zen practitioners in the West believe that dharanis should at least be restored to their "original" Sanskrit pronunciations, but in most cases that is not a critically viable option.
A building where the abbot of a monastery (or other senior officer temporarily assuming the place of abbot) takes a high seat (kōza 高座) to preach the dharma (seppō 説法) to an assembly of monks and lay followers, and may engage members of the assembly in debate (mondō 問答). Such gatherings in a dharma hall are referred to as "convocations" (jōdō 上堂).
In medieval Japanese Zen monasteries built on the Song Chinese model, the dharma hall was a massive structure that stood on the central north-south axis of the campus, to the north of the buddha hall (butsuden 佛殿) and the mountain gate (sanmon 山門). It was of post-and-beam construction with a gabled tile roof and stone floor, and it housed a large Sumeru altar (shumidan 須彌壇) that the abbot would mount for convocations. The architectural features and internal arrangements of dharma halls were identical to those of buddha halls, with the exception that the altar had no image on it. When the abbot took the high seat on the altar he sat facing south, in place of the buddha. The arrangement also mirrored that of the audience hall in the imperial court, where the emperor sat on a dais facing south, his courtiers lined up in rows on the east and west sides.
In Japanese Zen today, only a handful of Chinese-style dharma halls survive, mostly at a few Rinzai school head monasteries in Kyoto and Kamakura. The two Soto head monasteries, Eiheiji and Sōjiji, both have buildings called dharma halls, but in their architecture and internal arrangement those facilities are actually just very large main halls (hondō 本堂). In fact, no Soto monasteries or temples today have traditional Chinese-style dharma halls with stone floors and altars devoid of images. They all have main halls, which combine the functions once held separately by buddha halls and dharma halls. Although Standard Observances of the Soto Zen School refers to a dharma hall in various contexts, it is understood that the observances in question will take place in a main hall. →"main hall," "convocation."
A disciple who is the recipient of dharma transmission from a teacher in a particular dharma lineage.
Literally, to "succeed to" or "inherit" (shi 嗣) the "dharma" (hō 法). The act of receiving dharma transmission from a teacher who is himself or herself heir to a particular dharma lineage.
A metaphorical expression, which likens the dharma (hō 法) to the "flame of a lamp" (tō 燈) which can be passed to another lamp (i.e. from master to disciple) and thus be kept burning forever. In the Zen tradition, the transmission of the formless, ineffable buddha mind (busshin 佛心) down through the lineage of ancestral teachers (soshi 祖師) is referred to metaphorically as "transmission of the flame" (dentō 傳燈).
1. An unbroken line of dharma transmission that is traced back through many generations of teachers and disciples. 2. A list of names of the successive generations of teachers, culminating in one's own teacher, through whom one has inherited the dharma. This list is recited during in-room sutra chanting.
Also called precept name (kaimyō 戒名). 1. Buddhist name given a person upon their ordination as a monk, as decided by the teacher ordaining them. 2. Buddhist name given a lay person upon receiving the bodhisattva precepts, or in the posthumous ordination as a monk that is part of a funeral service.
An informal "talk" (wa 話) on the Buddhist teachings or "dharma" (hō 法).
The act of designating a dharma heir, thereby "passing on" or "transmitting" (den 傳) the "dharma" (hō 法) that has previously been inherited from a teacher in a particular dharma lineage.
Dōgen Kigen 道元希玄 (1200-1253). Founder of the sole surviving branch of the Soto lineage in Japan; one of the "two ancestors" of the present Soto school. Dōgen was ordained as a Buddhist monk in the Tendai school on Mt. Hiei at age 13. Later he resided at Kenninji 建仁寺, one of the first Chinese style Zen monasteries to be opened in Japan. There he became a disciple of Myōzen 明全, a leading follower of Eisai 榮西 (1141-1215), the founding abbot who had spent many years training in Song dynasty China. In 1223, Dōgen accompanied Myōzen to China, where he visited and trained in several large public Buddhist monasteries that were dominated by followers of the Zen school. Before his return to Japan in 1227, Dōgen became a dharma heir of Nyojō 如淨, a monk in the Soto branch of the Zen lineage who was the abbot of a large public monastery on Tiantong Mountain (Tendōzan, C. Tiantongshan 天童山). Dōgen understood his mission as the transmission of true Buddhism from China to Japan, including (a) the forms of individual and institutional monastic practice then current in mainstream Chinese Buddhism, and (b) the historical lore and teaching methods of the Zen lineage, as contained and reflected in the traditional literature of the Song Zen school. After his return to Japan he built a Chinese style monastery named Kōshōji 興聖寺 in Uji, south of Kyoto, then moved to the province of Echizen (modern Fukui Prefecture) where he founded the Chinese style monastery that became known as Eiheiji 永平寺. Dōgen named three main dharma heirs, the most important of whom (from the perspective of posterity) was Koun Ejō 孤雲懷奘 (1198-1280), the teacher of Tettsū Gikai 徹通義介 (1219-1309), who in turn transmitted Dōgen's dharma to Keizan Jōkin 瑩山紹瑾 (1268-1325). All members of the modern Soto clergy trace their lineages of dharma inheritance back to Dōgen. His major writings include: a diverse set of lectures given to disciples collected under the title Treasury of the Eye of the True Dharma (Shōbōgenzō 正法眼藏); the Eihei Extensive Record, a record of Dōgen's sayings and exchanges with disciples in a number of formal and semi-formal settings; six treatises on various aspects of monastic discipline collected and published in the Edo period (1600-1868) under the heading Eihei Rules of Purity (Eihei shingi 永平清規); and a short piece entitled Universally Recommended Instructions for Zazen (Fukan zazengi 普勸坐禪儀).
Literally "in the midst of" (chū 中) "tranquil" (an 安) "shelter" (go 居). →"retreat."
One of two head temples (honzan 本山) of the Soto school; the other is Sōjiji. Eiheiji still stands where it was founded by Dōgen in 1244, in the province of Echizen (modern Fukui Prefecture). Its mountain name (sangō 山號) is Kichijōsan 吉祥山 (literally, "Auspicious Mountain"). →"Eihei."
C. Huike. Eka is regarded as the leading dharma heir of Bodaidaruma, founder of the Zen lineage in China, who became the second ancestor (niso 二祖) of the lineage. He is variously referred to as: the Second Ancestor in China (Shintan niso 震旦二祖); Great Master Eka (Eka daishi, C. Huike dashi 慧可大師); Most Reverend Eka (Eka daioshō, C. Huike da heshang 慧可大和尚); and Great Master Shōshū Fukaku ( Shōshū Fukaku daishi, C. Zhengzong Pujue dashi 正宗普覺大師). For the story of Eka's initial encounter with Bodaidaruma, → "wonderful achievement of the snowy courtyard."
A name, category, or concept is said to be "empty" - a null set - if there are no really existing entities that correspond to it. →"emptiness."
Encyclopedia of Buddhism (Shakushi yōran, C. Shishi yaolan 釋氏要覽). A lexicon of Buddhist terms compiled by the Chinese monk Dōjō (C. Daocheng 道誠) in 1019.
Encyclopedia of Zen Monasticism (Zenrin shōkisen 禪林象器箋). A lexicon of Buddhist terms pertaining to Zen monastic practice compiled by the Japanese scholar monk Mujaku Dōchū 無著道忠 (1653-1744).
Literally "relaxing" or "loosening" (kai 解) the "rules" (sei 制) that are put in place upon opening of retreat. →"retreat."
→"age of the end of the dharma."
The "exhaustion" or "end" (gū 窮) of the kalpa (gō 劫).
S. sambhogakāya. One of the "three bodies" (sanshin 三身, S. trikāya) of Buddha. The enjoyment body, also called the "response body" (ōshin應身), is superhuman (albeit anthropomorphic) in form and appears to highly advanced bodhisattvas as a "reward" for their spiritual attainments. "dharma body," "transformation body."
A euphemism for death.
1. To leave lay life and become a Buddhist monk or nun. 2. To begin practicing Buddhism.
In Japan the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, commonly called o-higan お彼岸, are regarded as times when spirits of the dead return to the world of the living. Many people visit their family graves and/or make special offerings to ancestral spirits at the buddha altars (butsudan 佛壇) in their homes. Buddhist temples hold equinox assemblies (higan e 彼岸會) that feature offerings to spirits (shōrei kuyō 精靈供養). The term higan, literally the "other shore" or "opposite bank" of a river, entered the vocabulary of East Asian Buddhism as a metaphor for nirvana, that place of respite on the "other side" of sasāra, the torrent of birth and death. In Japanese usage, however the "other shore" is the realm of the dead, a place that is not necessarily free from suffering.
Literally "medicine" (yakuseki 藥石) and "drinking decoctions" (kittō 喫湯). According to the Indian Vinaya, Buddhist monks were not permitted to take solid food after midday, but drinking liquids was allowed. For monks who were ill, however, solid food was permitted at any time of day for medicinal purposes. In the Chinese Buddhist monasteries of the Song and Yuan dynasties that served as the model for Japanese Zen monasteries, an evening meal was routinely served to all the monks in residence, but it was euphemistically called "medicine."
S. upāya. Often translated as "skillful means." The ability of a buddha or bodhisattva to preach the dharma in a manner that is appropriate to the level of understanding of the listener, and to skillfully assist all living beings in overcoming suffering and delusion. A corollary of the Mahayana doctrine of the emptiness (kū 空, S. śūnyatā) of dharmas is the understanding that all discursive teachings, because they unavoidably make use of the false category of dharmas or "things," are at best expedient means.
face-to-face encounter/family mortuary temple/feeding hungry ghosts/field of merit/final nirvana/final verse/First Ancestor in China/five aggregates/folded hands/food for spirits/founding abbot/founding ancestor/four elements/four postures/Fugen Bodhisattva/fully fledged
A formal meeting between a disciple and a Zen master for the purpose of seeking and giving instruction.
Literally, a "temple" (ji 寺) where prayers for the "awakening" (bodai 菩提) of ancestral spirits are performed. In medieval Japan, some wealthy and powerful clans were able to sponsor entire Buddhist monasteries or sub-temple "stupa sites" (tatchū 塔頭) as mortuary temples dedicated exclusively to their own family's ancestors. In the Edo period (1600-1868), however, all households were required to have family mortuary temples, so single temples usually came to serve dozens or hundreds of parishioner households. In Japanese Zen today, all but a few training monasteries are family mortuary temples.
→"hungry ghost," "Bon festival."
The recipient of any gift or offering, who is likened to a field that is cultivated. The planting of seeds is a stock metaphor in Buddhist literature for performing actions (karma), all of which will necessarily have some result in the future. The act of giving always bears positive karmic fruit or "merit" (fuku 福), but the yield of merit is said to be greater or lesser depending on the worthiness of the recipient, just as seeds planted in fertile field will yield a more bountiful crop than the same seeds planted in a field with poor soil. The two richest fields of merit are the Buddha and the sangha: offerings and donations to them are said to produce the most merit for worshippers and donors. The reasoning behind this idea is that the Buddha and the monks who follow his teachings are the primary sources of merit, which they produce by the good deeds of maintaining moral precepts, practicing meditation, and developing wisdom. Lay followers who make donations of food, clothing, or shelter in support of those activities can gain a share of the merit accumulated by the monks. →"merit."
S. parinirvāa. 1. The ultimate escape from the round of rebirth that Shakamuni Buddha attained upon his death, as opposed to the "nirvana with remainder" that he attained upon awakening and becoming a buddha. 2. A euphemistic reference to the death of any Buddhist monk.
It is customary for Zen masters, when they see that their own death is near, to write a final verse that sums up their teachings or insight.
An epithet for Bodaidaruma, founder of the Zen lineage in China.
S. pañca-skanda. A list of five dharmas or factors that make up what is conventionally called the "self." The five are: (1) form (shiki 色, S. rūpa), which is the stuff of the material world as analyzed, for example, into the four great elements of earth, water, fire, and air; (2) feeling (ju 受, S. vedanā), or raw sensory input, which may be pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral; (3) apperception (sō 想, S. sajñā), in which raw sensory data is distinguished, named, and correlated according to conceptual criteria; (4) impulses (gyō 行, S. saskāra) that are karmically "formed" (saskāra) or conditioned by actions taken in the past and manifest themselves in the present as intentional or habitual actions and reactions; and (5) consciousness (shiki 識, S. vijñāna), which includes the functions of cognition and imagination.
Literally "clasped" (sha 叉) "hands" (shu 手). First make a fist with left hand, with thumb inside fingers; then cover it with palm of right hand, spread both elbows out to sides, rest hands lightly against chest; this is called "folded hands at chest" (shashu tōkyō 叉手當胸).
Literally, "rice" (han, ba 飯) for "living beings" (shō, sa 生).
Literally the one who "opened" (kai 開) the "mountain" (san 山), i.e. the first abbot of monastery.
A person revered as the founder of a clan or lineage (shū 宗).
Literally "four" (shi 四) "greats" (dai 大); an abbreviation of "four great kinds" (shi dai shu 四大種), which translates the Sanskrit mahābhūta, "great elements." The four are: earth, water, fire, and wind. In Buddhist texts dating back to ancient India, one finds the notion that human beings are made up of the elements of earth (flesh and bones), water (blood and other fluids), fire (the warmth of a living body), and wind (breath); that the elements are only temporarily held in conjunction with each other; and that the person dies when they break apart.
1. Walking, standing, sitting, and lying down. 2. A shorthand way of referring to every conceivable mode of human activity. 3. "Always," i.e., whatever one is doing, twenty-four hours a day. 4. The proper deportment (igi 威儀) that Buddhist monks and nuns should adhere to in all of their activities.
Four Universal Vows (shigu seigan 四弘誓願). ☞ "Verse of Four Universal Vows."
Fugen means "widely" (fu 普) "virtuous," "worthy," or "able" (ken 賢). S. Samantabhadra. A bodhisattva who is often paired with Monju Bodhisattva as one of two attendant figures who flank an image of Shakamuni Buddha. In this arrangement, Fugen is said to represent the Buddha's compassion (jihi 慈悲), whereas Monju represents the Buddha's wisdom (chie 智慧), those being the two complementary virtues that all bodhisattvas should cultivate. When paired with Monju, Fugen is the active party, practicing morality and meditation, fulfilling vows (gyōgan 行願) to save all living beings, and appearing in all buddha lands. Monju, in contrast, passively surveys the emptiness (kū 空) of all dharmas and cuts off all attachments to them. Fugen, riding a white elephant with six tusks, attends the Buddha on his right side. Monju, riding a lion, attends the Buddha on his left side.
A monastic rank, held by a person who has served as head seat (shuso 首座) for one retreat (kessei ango 結制安居) and gone through rite of dharma combat (hossen shiki 法戰式). Only monks who are fully fledged are qualified to assume an abbacy (jūshoku 住職). During the Edo period (1600-1868), a monk had to undergo a minimum of twenty years of monastic training after ordination before becoming fully fledged. At present, the minimum is five years. Ideally, a monk becomes fully fledged after serving as head seat for one retreat at a training monastery. Most trainee monks (unsui 雲水) today, however, do not remain at a monastery long enough to get a turn at being head seat, so they serve as head seat at an abbreviated retreat (ryaku kessei 略結制) instead. Abbreviated retreats may last only two days or a week, and are often held in conjunction with the installation of a new abbot (shinzan shiki 晉山式).
Literally, "joined" (gatsu 合) "palms" (shō 掌). A gesture of reverence, respect, or supplication. Hold both hands together, with arms slightly away from chest and fingertips aligned with end of nose; fingertips should be held at about same height as nose.
The Buddhist tradition speaks of two kinds of "giving" (se 施): that of material things, and that of the teachings or "dharma" (hō 法).
1. The "large" (dai 大) "group" or "assembly" (shu 衆) of monks who are registered for a retreat in a monastery and, because they do not hold any particular office in the monastic bureaucracy, are quartered in the sangha hall (sōdō 僧堂). Also called the sangha hall assembly (sōdōshu 僧堂衆). 2. A generic name for all the active participants (as opposed to mere spectators) in any Buddhist ritual observance, including lay people as well as monks, residents as well as visitors.
An epithet for Buddha Shakamuni. →"blessings."
An epithet for Bodaidaruma, founder of the Zen lineage in China. Engaku means "completely" (en 圓) "awakened" (kaku 覺). →"Bodaidaruma."
Honorific title given Keizan by the Meiji emperor in the late 19th century. Jōsai means "eternally" (jō 常) "benefitting, "saving," or "ferrying across" (sai 濟).
Honorific title given Dōgen by the Meiji emperor in the late 19th century. Jōyō means "upholding" (jō 承) the "sun," or "masculine (yang, as opposed to yin) principle" (yō 陽).
An epithet of Shakamuni Buddha.
The three root mental afflictions (bonnō 煩惱, S. kleśa).
Literally, "in charge of" (chi, shi 知) "guests" (ka 客). An officer in a monastic bureaucracy; one of the six prefects (roku chōshu 六頭首). In Song dynasty Chinese and medieval Japanese Zen monasteries, the position of guest prefect was subordinate to that of rector (ino 維那). The guest prefect handled all visitors to a monastery, including itinerant monks who might or might not want to register for a retreat, lay patrons who came to attend services or sponsor special offerings and feasts, lay pilgrims who sought temporary lodging, and government officials. In contemporary Soto Zen, only training monasteries (Eiheiji and Sōjiji foremost among them) have a functioning office of guest prefect held by a senior monk who actually deals with lay and monk visitors. The position of guest prefect survives, for the most part, only as a honorific title and seating position in various ritual observances, which some senior monk holds for the duration of the ceremony. →"six prefects."
Literally, "in charge of" (chi, shi 知) "halls" (den殿), chief among them the buddha hall (butsuden 佛殿). An officer in a monastic bureaucracy; one of the six prefects (roku chōshu 六頭首). In Song dynasty Chinese and medieval Japanese Zen monasteries, the position of hall prefect was subordinate to that of rector (ino 維那). The hall prefect was responsible for maintaining the Sumeru altar in the buddha hall, where an image of Shakamuni Buddha was enshrined, as well as altars for arhats, ancestral teachers and former abbots, tutelary deities, and the ancestral spirits of lay patrons. Whenever offering services were held for those figures, their altars needed to be decorated with flowers and candles, etc., and offerings of food, drink, and incense had to be readied in advance. In contemporary Soto Zen, only training monasteries (Eiheiji and Sōjiji foremost among them) have a functioning office of hall prefect held by a senior monk who actually oversees the decoration of altars and preparation of offerings. The position of hall prefect survives, for the most part, only as a honorific title and seating position in various ritual observances, which some senior monk holds for the duration of the ceremony. →"six prefects."
An officer in a monastic bureaucracy; one of the six stewards (roku chiji 六知事). The etymology of the term, which literally means "in charge of" (ten 典) "seating" (zo 座), is uncertain. In early Chinese translations of Indian Vinaya texts it referred to a monk in charge of nine miscellaneous tasks, including assigning seats, distributing robes and food, overseeing flowers and incense for offerings, etc. In Tang dynasty China (618-906), the term tenzo 典座 was sometimes used as a synonym for "monastery chief" (jishu, C. sizhu 寺主), one of three top officers (sankō, C. sangang 三綱), who was in charge of all practical and administrative affairs, such as supplies and finances. The job included overseeing the kitchen, so perhaps the later identification of tenzo as head cook derives from that.
In Song dynasty Chinese and medieval Japanese Zen monasteries, the head cook was the officer charged with providing meals for the great assembly of monks who were based in the sangha hall. Duties included planning the menu, obtaining ingredients, and overseeing a number of sous-chefs who cooked the rice, soup, and vegetables, and lay postulants who assisted them, served meals in the sangha hall, and cleaned up afterwards. In the Zen tradition the position of head cook came to be celebrated as epitomizing the ideals of frugality, resourcefulness, service to others, and mindfully practicing the dharma in the midst of everyday life.
In contemporary Soto Zen, only training monasteries have a functioning office of head cook. The position of head cook survives as an important one, however, in precepts-giving assembly (jukai e 授戒會) and all other gatherings that require feeding a large number of people at a temple. →"six stewards."
Literally "first," "chief," or "head" (shu 首) "seat" (za, so 座): the seat in a sangha hall (sōdō 僧堂) held by the monk deemed leader of the sangha hall assembly (sōdōshu 僧堂衆), also called the great assembly (daishu 大衆). An officer in a monastic bureaucracy; one of the six prefects (roku chōshu 六頭首). In Song dynasty Chinese and medieval Japanese Zen monasteries, the head seat was subordinate to the rector, who had overall responsibility for discipline in the sangha hall and occupied official quarters (ryō 寮) located nearby. The head seat resided in the sangha hall and served as leader of the great assembly that was based there. The head seat was not necessarily the member of the sangha hall assembly who had the most monastic seniority as measured by years since ordination: the position was usually held by a promising younger monk who was on track to someday become an abbot. It was also customary for a retired senior officer, who held a position known as rear hall head seat (godō shuso 後堂首座), to act as an advisor and assistant to the head seat. During each retreat there was a "dharma combat ceremony" (hossen shiki 法戰式), a convocation in the dharma hall at which the head seat took the place of the abbot and responded to questions from monks of the assembly. In the bureaucratic structure that took hold in medieval Japan, serving as head seat in a monastery for at least one retreat and being tested in a dharma combat ceremony became a prerequisite for promotion to an abbacy.
In contemporary Soto Zen, the position of head seat remains an important and prestigious one at training monasteries. Moreover, service as head seat for one retreat (kessei ango 結制安居), at which one goes through rite of dharma combat (hossen shiki 法戰式), remains a formal requirement for attaining the rank of a fully fledged (risshin 立身) monk, which in turn is a prerequisite for becoming the abbot (resident priest; jūshoku 住職) of a temple. The great majority of young men who undergo training at Soto monasteries are the sons of resident priests who are expected to succeed their fathers as the abbots of ordinary temples, so they all need to serve as head seat for at least one retreat. Because it is not possible for all of them to do so for a full ninety-day retreat at a training monastery, many serve as head seats at an abbreviated retreat (ryaku kessei 略結制) instead. Abbreviated retreats may last only a few days, and are often held in conjunction with the installation of a new abbot (shinzan shiki 晉山式). →"fully fledged," "six prefects."
In the Edo period (1600-1868), all Buddhist temples in Japan were organized by government decree into a hierarchies of "main" (hon 本) "mountains" (san 山) (i.e. monasteries) and branch temples (matsuji 末寺) that were organized by denomination (shūha 宗派) and geographic area. Such affiliations have been voluntary since the establishment of the current constitution in the aftermath of the second world war, but many networks of temples still maintain those traditional relationships.
A synonym of →"dharma seat" (hōza 法座).
A Sino-Japanese transliteration of Sanskrit namas. A verbal greeting that expresses respect, submission to, or reliance on another. In Sanskrit it meant something like, "I bow to you."
Literally "residing" (zai 在) in the "home" or "family" (ke 家). A Buddhist lay person. → "going forth from household life."
S., preta. One of six realms of rebirth. Spirits of the dead whose desires, especially for nourishment, cannot be satisfied. In East Asian Buddhism they are called "burning mouths" because when they put food to their mouths it bursts into flames and cannot be consumed. Theoretically, one's own deceased family members can be hungry ghosts, as in the case of Mokuren's mother. In Japanese Buddhism, however, hungry ghosts are more often understood as unconnected spirits: spirits of the dead who have no living family to provide them with offerings of nourishment. In any case, it falls to the Buddhist sangha to perform the ritual of feeding them. Although it appears in Dōgen's writings, the term gaki is considered politically incorrect in modern Soto Zen, due to its traditional use in the precept names of Japan's "untouchable" class (eta えた). The "feeding of hungry ghosts" (segaki 施餓鬼) was recently renamed in Soto ritual manuals as simply "food offerings" (sejiki 施食). →"Bon festival," "Mokuren."
The impermanence of all things (dharmas), and the realization that clinging to things causes suffering, are basic Buddhist teachings.
Literally, to "teach" (kyō 教) and "convert" (ke 化) people.
Instructions for Zazen (Zazengi 坐禪儀) 1. An abbreviated reference to a text by Dōgen, his Universally Recommended Instructions for Zazen (Fukan zazengi 普勸坐禪儀). 2. A genre of texts that deal with the methods and aims of seated meditation. Examples include Dōgen's Universally Recommended Instructions for Zazen and Keizan's Admonitions for Zazen (Zazen yōjin ki 坐禪用心記).
An eon. In the ancient Indian world view, the length of time that a universe exists.
→"Kannon (Kanzeon) Bodhisattva."
A shortened form of →"Kanzeon Bodhisattva."
Kannon Sutra (Kannon gyō 觀音經). A popular name for the "Kanzeon Universal Gate" Chapter of the Sutra of the Lotus of the Wonderful Dharma (Myōhō renge kyō kanzeon fumon bon 妙法蓮華經觀世音普門品).
S. Avalokiteśvara, "the lord who looks down." The bodhisattva who "sees" or is "cognizant of" (kan 觀) the "sounds" or "cries" (on音) of the "world" (ze 世) and responds with compassion (jihi 慈悲) to save beings from all kinds of misfortune and suffering. Also called Kannon Bodhisattva (Kannon Bosatsu 觀音菩薩) and Kanjizai Bodhisattva (Kanjizai Bosatsu 觀自在菩薩). Images of Kanzeon take many different forms in East Asia where, despite the fact that Avalokiteśvara is a masculine noun in Sanskrit, this bodhisattva came to be understood as a female figure associated with (among many other things) motherly kindness, assistance in childbirth, and the protection of children. Images of the Eleven-Faced Kannon (Jūichimen Kannon 十一面觀音) and Thousand-Hand Kannon (Senju Kannon 千手觀音) graphically illustrate the concepts that Kanzeon can see everywhere and is fully endowed with the expedient means (hōben 方便) needed to respond effectively to every kind of emergency. In Zen monasteries, an image of Kanzeon is enshrined in the common quarters (shu ryō 衆寮) as the Sacred Monk of that facility.
The fruits of past actions (karma), which in turn become the conditions that constrain and inform present and future actions. →"causes and conditions."
S. Kāśyapa. Also called Makakasho (Makakasho 摩訶迦葉, S. Mahākāśyapa). A disciple of Shakamuni Buddha, an arhat, renowned for his ascetic practice. In the mythology of the Zen lineage, Kasho is the first in the line of twenty-eight Indian ancestral teachers that culminates with Bodaidaruma. He is said to have been the only member of the audience who understood what Shakamuni Buddha meant by holding up a flower in a wordless sermon, and thus to have been recognized by Shakamuni as heir to the formless buddha-mind (busshin 佛心) that is the dharma transmitted by the Zen lineage.
Keizan Jōkin 瑩山紹瑾 (1268-1325). One of the "two ancestors" of the present Soto school. A fourth generation dharma heir of Dōgen, the founder of the Soto lineage in Japan. Keizan became a monk at Eiheiji at age 13. At age 32 he received dharma transmission from Tettsū Gikai 徹通義介 (1219-1309), an heir to Dōgen's lineage who had converted Daijō Monastery (Daijōji 大乘寺) in Kaga (modern Ishikawa Prefecture) into a Chinese style Zen monastery. Keizan later succeeded Gikai as abbot of Daijōji and turned it into a major center of Soto Zen proselytizing in the region. He also founded or rebuilt a number of other monasteries that were to become instrumental in the spread of Soto Zen all around Japan: Jōjūji 淨住寺, Yōkōji 永光寺, and Sōjiji 總持寺; → "Sōji Monastery." The great majority of Soto clergy in Japan today trace their lineages of dharma inheritance back to Keizan (and through him to Dōgen). Keizan's most influential writings include: Admonitions for Zazen (Zazen yōjin ki 坐禪用心記), Record of the Transmission of the Light (Denkōroku 傳光録), and Keizan's Rules of Purity (Keizan shingi 瑩山清規).
Keizan's Rules (Keigi 瑩規). An abbreviation of →Keizan's Rules of Purity (Keizan shingi 瑩山清規).
Keizan's Rules of Purity (Keizan shingi 瑩山清規). T 82.423c-451c. A text, originally entitled Ritual Procedures for Tōkoku Mountain Yōkō Zen Monastery in Nō Province (Nōshū tōkokuzan yōkōzenji gyōji shidai 能州洞谷山永光禪寺行事次第), written by the abbot Keizan Jōkin in 1324. Keizan seems to have compiled it as a handbook of ritual events and liturgical texts for use in the single monastery named in its title. The text contains a detailed calendar of daily, monthly, and annual observances that the monks of Yōkō Zen Monastery were to engage in, and the dedications of merit (ekō 囘向) statements of purpose (sho 疏) that they were to chant on those various occasions. It thus had the basic functions of a schedule of activities and a liturgical manual, as well as laying out a few rules and ritual procedures for monastic officers. It shared those features with the Rules of Purity for the Huanzhu Hermitage (Genjūan shingi 幻住菴清規), a manual written in 1317 by the eminent Zen master ChūhōMyōhon (C.Zhongfen Mingben 中峰明本; 1263–1323). Keizan probably modeled his text on that or some other similarly organized work imported from Yuan dynasty China. In 1678, the monk Gesshū Sōko月舟宗胡 (1618-1696) and his disciple Manzan Dōhaku 卍山道白 (1636-1715), two monks active in the movement to reform Soto Zen by "restoring the old" (fukko 復古) modes of practice originally implemented by Dōgen and Keizan, took the set of rules written for Yōkōji and published them for the first time under the title of Reverend Keizan's Rules of Purity (Keizan oshō shingi 瑩山和尚清規). From that point on the text became a standard reference work used in many Soto Zen monasteries. In its organization and contents, Keizan's Rules of Purity is the direct predecessor of the present Standard Obsevances of the Soto Zen School (Sōtōshū gyōji kihan 曹洞宗行持規範).
A rectangular ceremonial vestment that is worn draped over the left shoulder by Buddhist monks in East Asia and is emblematic of the robes originally worn by Buddhist monks in India. All kesas are pieced robes (kassetsue 割截衣), made with five, seven, nine, or more panels of cloth that are sewn together. The panels themselves comprise both long and short pieces of cloth. The word kesa originated as a Chinese transliteration of the Sanskrit kāṣāya or "ochre," an earthy pigment containing ferric oxide that varies from light yellow to brown or red. Buddhist monks in India were originally supposed to wear robes made from discarded cloth that was ritually polluted or literally filthy. The procedure was to cut out usable pieces of cloth, wash them, sew them together, and dye the resulting garment with ochre. From that uniform color, Buddhist patchwork robes in general came to be called kāṣāya. As the monastic institution evolved, new cloth for robes came to be provided by lay donors, but the practice of cutting the cloth into small pieces and sewing those together to make robes was retained. Buddhist monks in India were allowed three types of kāṣāya: (1) an antarvāsa or "under robe," (2) an uttarāsangha or "upper robe," and (3) a saghāi or "full dress robe." In the colder climates of Central Asia and China, however, the Indian mode of dress was often insufficient, so monks from those regions wore their native clothing and draped the Indian upper robe or full dress robe on top of that. In China, the word kāṣāya was transliterated as jiasha 袈裟, which is pronounced kesa in Japanese. Worn over a Chinese-style full-length sleeved robe that was tied at the waist with a belt or sash, the jiasha (kesa) lost its function as a practical piece of clothing to cover and protect the body but retained its meaning as an emblem of membership in the monastic order. As vestments used only when formally dressed for solemn Buddhist observances, there was a tendency for jiasha to evolve into finery, crafted from pieces of colorful brocaded silk. Soto monks today receive three kesas upon their ordination. →"robes," "three robes," "long robe," "rakusu."
Literally, "admonishing" or "startling" (kyō 警) "whip" (saku 策). A stick used by hall monitor (jikidō 直堂) or meditation patrol (junkō 巡香) to strike the shoulders of meditators and wake them when they are dozing, or to encourage them in their sitting.
Literally, to "unloosen" (ge 解) and "cast off" (datsu 脱) that which binds one to the round of birth and death. In the early Buddhist tradition, liberation meant attaining nirvana. In Mahayana sutras, liberation is often equated with insight into the emptiness of dharmas, which can be realized by bodhisattvas even as they remain in the round of rebirth to help living beings.
All sentient beings, however they are conceived, in all realms of existence.
A style of Buddhist monk's robe that was developed in China by "sewing" (totsu 裰) "directly" (jiki 直) together the upper and lower robes that were worn by monks in India to make a single garment that (unlike the Indian model) has long sleeves, covers both shoulders, and is fastened with a sash or belt around the waist; see "kesa," "robes," "three robes."
main bowl/mental afflictions/merit/mind/Miroku Bodhisattva/Miroku Buddha/Mokuren/monasteries and temples/monastery/Monju/Monju Bodhisattva/Monjushiri Bodhisattva/monk/monk in training/morning gruel/most reverend/mountain gate/mountain seat ceremony
The largest bowl in a nested set of bowls; the outer bowl which contains all the others. Also called the oryoki (ōryōki 應量器), a monk's alms-gathering bowl. →"bowl," "oryoki," "alms bowl."
S. kleśa. Unhealthy states of mind that vitiate all actions and are the root causes of suffering. The three principle afflictions are greed/desire/craving (ton 貪), anger /hatred (jin 瞋), and delusion/ignorance/stupidity (chi 癡).
S. punya. Literally the "virtue" or "power" (toku 徳) of "good deeds" (ku 功). The results of good deeds, i.e. karmic consequences, conceived in the abstract as a kind of spiritual cash that can be earned (accumulated), spent (dedicated) in support of specific prayers, or given away (transferred) to others. →"dedication of merit," "field of merit."
1. The mental faculties in general. 2. To pay attention to, or fix the mind on, some object of perception or idea. 3. The buddha-mind (busshin 佛心), the awakened mind of Shakamuni Buddha, also called the mind-dharma (shinbō 心法) which is transmitted in the Zen lineage. 4. The "heart" or "essence" of something. This is the meaning intended in the title of the Heart Sutra (Hannya Shingyō 般若心經), which is said to contain the distilled essence of the perfection of wisdom genre of sutras.
S. Maitreya. The future buddha, now a bodhisattva in a heaven awaiting his final birth on earth.
Same as ☞ "Miroku Bodhisattva."
The protagonist of the Ullambana Sutra (Urabonkyō 盂蘭盆經), an apocryphal text (i.e. one that claimed to be a translation of an Indian Buddhist sutra but was actually written in China) that provided a scriptural basis for the mid-summer ghost festival, which became popular in medieval China and is still celebrated all over East Asia. According to the sutra, Mokuren was one of Shakamuni Buddha's ten great disciples, a monk who was known for his magical power. Being a good filial son, he made the usual ancestral offerings of food to his deceased parents and assumed that all was well with them. One day, however, he decided to use his magical powers to check up on them in the afterlife. Mokuren saw that his father had achieved a favorable rebirth as a brahmin, but was shocked and distressed to discover that his mother had become an emaciated hungry ghost. She could not eat the ancestral offerings that he gave to her because, due to her bad karma, the food burst into flames every time she brought it to her mouth. In despair, Mokuren asked Buddha for help but was told that his mother had accumulated so much bad karma that she could not be saved by the actions of just one person. Buddha recommended that on the fifteenth of the seventh month, when the three-month-long monastic retreat is over and the monks are replete with good karma, Mokuren should make offerings of food to them. The merit from that good deed, which tapped into the vast merit created by the Buddhist sangha (monastic order) itself, could then be successfully dedicated to his mother. The spiritual power of the sangha, in short, could ensure that the traditional offerings of nourishment got through without bursting into flames. Moreover, the sutra argues, offerings to the sangha at the end of the summer retreat is the best way to save one's parents and ancestors for seven generations from the three worst of the six rebirths. After Mokuren followed these instructions, his mother was reborn out of the path of hungry ghosts. This basic story of Mokuren was further elaborated in folklore and drama in China, where it informed the assembly for feeding hungry ghosts (segaki e 施餓鬼會), also known as "saving the burning mouths." The Mokuren story, ghost-feeding rituals, and associated beliefs and practices all found their way to Japan by the eighth century. They survive today in the context of the Bon festival. →"Bon festival," "hungry ghost."
The Sino-Japanese word jiin 寺院 is usually translated as "[Buddhist] temple" or "[Buddhist] monastery." In English, a temple is a building devoted to the worship of a god or gods, whereas a monastery is a place where a community of monks lives under religious vows. Thus, when focusing on the function of jiin as places for the worship of buddhas, bodhisattvas, devas, and ancestral spirits, we are likely to say "temple," and when speaking of jiin as places where Buddhist monks live together in community (and where they engage in precisely the aforementioned worship), we are likely to say "monastery." When struggling to decide which word to use in translation, we become aware of the apparent "ambiguity" of the word jiin, but in the East Asian Buddhist tradition the distinction between a temple and a monastery does not exist. A jiin is simply a jiin, regardless of how many monks are in residence or what sorts of practices they engage in. Nevertheless, for the purposes of the present work, we reserve the word "monastery" for jiin that have a community of monks in residence. All other jiin, which typically have a single abbot (jūshoku 住職) or head priest in residence with his family, are called "temples." By these criteria, there are less than 100 Zen monasteries in Japan today and approximately 21,000 Zen temples.
A number of different Sino-Japanese terms appearing in Sōtōshū gyōji kihan have been translated into English in Standard Observances of the Soto Zen School as "monastery." In general, we reserve the term "monastery" for a place where monks live together and engage in communal observances under a single set of rules and procedures. When ji 寺 or jiin 寺院 refers to a place where a resident priest (jūshoku 住職) lives with his wife and children, we translate those terms as "temple."
1. In Japan the word ji 寺 applies almost exclusively to Buddhist institutions, but in Chinese it applied to a variety of government offices and religious establishments, including what in English might be called monasteries, temples, shrines, and mosques.
2. In the original Chinese, similarly, the word in 院, which coupled with ji寺 forms the binome jiin 寺院 (translated herein as "monasteries and temples"), referred to any courtyard or walled compound, within which might be a home, school, government office, or any other institution housed in one or more buildings.
3. The word garan 伽藍 is a truncated Chinese transliteration of the Sanskrit saghārāma, meaning a "forest" or "grove" in which members of the Buddhist sangha dwelled.
4. The term sōrin 叢林, literally a "thicket" (sō 叢) that is a "grove of trees" (rin 林) (the latter term also indicates a "gathering place") is the Chinese translation of the Sanskrit saghārāma, meaning a "forest" or "grove" in which members of the Buddhist sangha dwelled.
5. Bon'en 梵苑 means "pure" (bon 梵) "garden" or "park" (en 苑). The reference to Buddhist monasteries as "gardens" recalls the story of Anāthapiνδika, a wealthy layman who gave a park named Jeta's Grove (Gionrin 祇園林, Gion shōja 祇園精舍, S. Jetāvana) in Śrāvastī to the Buddha to build a monastery.
6. Bonsetsu 梵刹 means "pure" (bon 梵) "monastery" (setsu刹). The original meaning of setsu刹 is "flag pole." It may refer to markers that were used to establish the perimeter of a "pure" area where monks resided during the rainy season retreat in India.
7. A sōdō 僧堂 or "sangha hall" was originally just one building within a monastery compound, but in the Edo period (1600-1868) in Japan it came by synecdoche to refer to a training monastery as a whole, especially one that had a meditation hall (zendō 禪堂) but no sangha hall proper.
8. The term sanmon 山門, literally "mountain gate," refers both to the main gate of a monastery and, by synecdoche, to the monastery as a whole. It often has the meaning "this monastery," or "here within the gates of this monastery."
Monju is an abbreviation of Monjushiri 文殊師利, the Sino-Japanese transliteration of the Sanskrit Mañjuśrī, "shining elegance." A bodhisattva who is often paired with Fugen Bodhisattva as one of two attendant figures who flank an image of Shakamuni Buddha. In this arrangement, Monju is said to represent the Buddha's wisdom (chie 智慧), which is his insight into the emptiness (kū 空) of dharmas, whereas Fugen represents the Buddha's compassion (jihi 慈悲), those being the two complementary virtues that all bodhisattvas should cultivate. In the Shakamuni triptych, Monju rides a lion and attends the Buddha on his left side; Fugen rides a white elephant with six tusks and attends the Buddha on his right side. In Chinese monasteries of the Song and Yuan dynasties and the medieval Japanese Zen monasteries that were modeled after them, Monju Bodhisattva also became identified as the Sacred Monk (shōsō 聖僧): the tutelary deity of the sangha hall (sōdō 僧堂). A statue of him, which depicts him as an ordinary monk seated in meditation, was enshrined in an altar in the center of the hall. →"Fugen Bodhisattva," "Sacred Monk."
In China and most other countries where Buddhism has flourished, a Buddhist monk is a man who has (at least) shaved his head, donned monastic robes, and been ordained with the ten novice precepts (shami jikkai 沙彌十戒) established in the Indian Vinaya, which makes him a novice (shami 沙彌). A bhikṣu (biku 比丘) or full-fledged monk (daisō 大僧) is one who has, in addition, been ordained with the full precepts (gusokukai 具足戒) of the complete Prātimokσa. In Japan, however, from the Heian period (794-1185) on some men who shaved their heads and joined monastic orders began to be ordained using only bodhisattva precepts. In present day Soto Zen, monks are men who have undergone the ceremony of taking precepts (tokudo shiki sahō 得度式作法); the rite entails shaving the head, donning monastic robes, and receiving the bodhisattva precepts. In present day Rinzai Zen, monks are men who have taken the traditional ten novice precepts. Technically, therefore, there are no Japanese Zen bhikṣus (biku 比丘), but in certain ritual contexts that term is used for Zen monks (zensō 禪僧) nevertheless. Throughout most of the history the Zen schools of Buddhism in Japan, celibacy was the norm for Zen monks. However, in 1873 the new Meiji government reversed state policies concerning the Buddhist sangha that had in been in force during the preceding Edo period (1600-1868), and since that time monks belonging to the Zen schools have been allowed to marry. Most Zen monks today are the sons of Zen temple priests, an occupation that has become largely hereditary. In Japanese Zen today, monks comprise more than 99% of the total ordained clergy, which numbers about 25,000. →"sangha," "precepts," "nun."
1. In Song and Yuan dynasty China, monks who wandered about seeking teachers and novel experiences were likened to "fleeting clouds and floating water (kōun ryūsui 行雲流水) in their lack of any fixed abode and thus came to be known as "clouds and water monks" (unsui sō 雲水僧). They wore the "patched robes" (nō 衲) of a wandering monk (unsui 雲水), and so came to be called "cloud robes" (unnō 雲衲) as well. 2. In Edo period Japan (1600-1868), the designations unsui and unnō came to apply to young monks who had not yet become resident priests (jūshoku 住職) - the abbots of ordinary temples - but were still in a training monastery (sōdō 僧堂) or "wandering on foot" (angya 行脚) between training monasteries to learn from different Zen masters. That nomenclature is somewhat incongruous because most monks called unsui today are in fact registered (kata 掛搭) as residents of a monastery and thus are not wandering monks in the original sense of the term.
Rice gruel (shuku 粥), a porridge made by boiling rice until the kernels have mostly disintegrated, was the standard breakfast fare in Chinese Buddhist monasteries of the Song and Yuan dynasties and the medieval Japanese Zen monasteries that were modeled after them. It continues to be served for breakfast at Japanese Zen monasteries today.
The main gate of a Buddhist monastery. Some main gates (sanmon 山門) at Zen monasteries in Japan are two-story buildings supported by twelve massive wooden pillars, arranged in three rows of four. There are thus three spaces (ken 間) between the pillars which, at the ground level, may be hung with doors. Or, the two outer spaces may be used to enshrine guardian figures, usually a pair of benevolent kings (niō 仁王) - devas depicted as glowering, muscular martial artists stripped to the waist - or the four deva kings (shi tennō 四天王), depicted as Chinese generals in full armor. A mountain gate may be called a "triple gate" (sanmon 三門) if it has three portals, but there are many smaller mountain gates that have only one portal. Although called "gates," the function of these buildings is largely ceremonial and symbolic, for they are often located well inside a monastery's compound and are typically free standing structures that no longer have adjacent walls or corridors that would prevent anyone from simply walking around them; the practical task of keeping out unwanted visitors is handled by outer walls and gates. The second floor of large main gates at Zen monasteries are used as worship halls, often with a flower-holding Shaka (nenge Shaka 拈花釋迦) (giving his wordless sermon on Vulture Peak) as the main object of veneration (honzon 本尊), flanked by Kasho 迦葉 and Anan 阿難 (the first and second ancestral teachers of the Zen lineage). Or, the central figure may be a crowned Shaka (hōkan Shaka 寶冠釋迦), flanked by Zenzai Dōji 善財童子, famous as the youthful pilgrim whose story is told in the "Entering the Dharma Realm" section of the Flower Garland Sutra (Kegon kyō 華嚴經), and Gatsugai Chōja 月蓋, who appears in Buddhist mythology as a lay believer who saved his city from pestilence by calling on Kannon. The Shaka triptychs are in turn flanked by images of the sixteen arhats (jūroku rakan 十六羅漢), eight to a side, and sometimes by the five hundred arhats (gohyaku rakan 五百羅漢) as well. The offering to arhats (rakan kuyō 羅漢供養) and arhats liturgy (rakan kōshiki 羅漢講式) mentioned in Standard Observances of the Soto Zen School are held in the second floor of a main gate. →"triple gate," "arhats hall."
Literally, the "ceremony" (shiki 式) of "ascending" (shin 晉) the "mountain" (san 山). The ceremony of installing a new abbot. The "mountain" referred to is the monastery or temple in question.
A type of kesa; a pieced robe (kassetsue 割截衣) with two long and one short piece of cloth (usually silk) in each of its nine panels. Also called the sōgyari robe, it is one of the three robes that Soto monks are supposed to receive upon ordination, in accordance with Chinese translations of the Indian Vinaya. →"sōgyari robe," "three robes."
1. Nine prostrations (raihai 禮拜) performed in sequence: a large number that shows great respect. 2. A very polite expression used when signing formal letters.
S. nirvāa. 1. Escape from the round of rebirth or samsara (rinne 輪廻). The complete cessation of all becoming; an exalted state entirely beyond karmic conditioning. 2. The state attained by Shakamuni Buddha upon his death. 3. In Mahayana texts, the freedom from attachment to and suffering in the round of rebirth that results from an insight into the emptiness of all dharmas attained by a bodhisattva, despite the fact that he/she remains in rebirth to save other beings and still feels compassion for them. 4. The death of Shakamuni Buddha. 5. A euphemism for the death of any ordinary human being.
An assembly to commemorate the nirvana of Shakamuni Buddha, in East Asia traditionally held on the 15th day of the 2nd month by the lunar calendar.
observances/old buddha/one Buddha and two ancestors/"one hundred prostrations"/open a sangha hall/ordaining master/ordination/original master/oryoki/Our Great Benefactor and Founder of the Teachings, the Original Master Shakamuni Buddha/overnight quarters
Literally "practicing" (gyō 行) and "upholding" (ji 持), or "carrying out" (gyō 行) "affairs" (ji 事). A very broad designation referring to activities that may variously be called in English "practices," "ceremonies," "rituals," "procedures," "etiquette," "work," "study," "prayer," "ascesis," etc.
A reference to one's own revered teacher, especially after he/she has passed away.
Shakamuni Buddha, Dōgen, and Keizan.
Used when signing letters to mean "Very Respectfully Yours."
→"sangha hall," "sangha hall opening."
The monk who initiates someone into the Buddhist monastic order by shaving their head and giving them the precepts.
Literally, to be "enabled" (toku 得) to "cross over" or "be saved" (do 度). Ordination rites always involve receiving precepts (jukai 受戒), which "enable" one to successfully follow the Buddhist path.
1. An epithet for Shakamuni Buddha, progenitor of the Buddhist dharma and sangha. 2. The founding ancestor of any lineage (shū 宗). Shakamuni is also called the "original master" in the Zen tradition because he is said to have founded the Zen lineage. 3. Ordaining master (jugōshi 受業師): the monk who initiates someone into the Buddhist monastic order by shaving their head and giving them the precepts. 4. Primary master: the dharma-transmitting master (shihō no honshi 嗣法の本師) from whom one has inherited the dharma in the Zen lineage.
Literally a "vessel" (ki 器) that contains an "appropriate amount" (ōryō 應量) of food. In India, Buddhist monks carried a bowl (S. pātra) when soliciting alms food from the laity that was supposed to be large enough to hold a nourishing meal but small enough to prevent gluttony. The bowl was one of the few personal possessions allowed a Buddhist monk. It was received upon ordination as a novice monk and was, together with the patchwork ochre robe (S. kāṣāya), emblematic of membership in the monastic order. As Buddhism evolved in India, it became the accepted norm for monasteries to have stores of food, kitchens, and dining halls for communal meals, but the bowl (or set of bowls) in which the meal was received and eaten remained the personal property of individual monks. In Soto Zen today, monks receive a set of nested bowls (made of lacquered wood) upon ordination and use them for formal meals when residing in training monasteries. →"bowl."
A set phrase used to refer to Shakamuni in liturgical texts. He is "founder of the teachings" (kyōshu 教主) and the "original master" (honshi 本師) because he is the progenitor of the Buddhist dharma and sangha. In the Zen tradition Shakamuni is revered above all other buddhas and is considered the founder and "original master" of the Zen lineage. →"Shakamuni."
"Quarters" (ryō 寮) for "staying over until dawn" (tanga 旦過). Facilities for housing wandering monks who are not registered as regular residents in a monastery.
Literally "gateway" (kan 關) to the "mysterious" (gen 玄). The entrance to an abbot's quarters (hōjō 方丈), which traditionally is a separate portico added onto the main building.
Also called dharma name (hōgō法號, hōmyō 法名). 1. Buddhist name given a person upon their ordination as a monk, as decided by the teacher ordaining them. 2. Buddhist name given a lay person upon receiving the bodhisattva precepts, or in the posthumous ordination as a monk that is part of a funeral service.
Rules of moral behavior that are binding on individual Buddhists and define their status in the institutional hierarchy. The precepts used by Chinese Buddhists in the Song, Yuan, and Ming dynasties were the ones most influential on Japanese Zen. They were based on the Four Part Vinaya (Shibunritsu, C. Sifenlü 四分律), a fifth century Chinese translation of the Vinaya of the Indian Dharmaguptaka school, and were prescribed in the Rules of Purity for Zen Monasteries (Zen'en shingi, C. Chanyuan qinggui 禪苑清規), compiled in 1103. The major sets of precepts found in those sources are: the ten precepts (jikkai 十戒) binding on novice monks (shami 沙彌) who have entered the Buddhist order by "going forth from home" (shukke 出家); the full precepts (gusokukai 具足戒) undertaken by full-fledged monks and nuns (daisō 大僧); the five precepts (gokai 五戒) for Buddhist lay people; and the bodhisattva precepts (bosatsu kai 菩薩戒), which both monks and lay people can receive to affirm their commitment to the ideals of the Mahayana. The novice precepts are crucial, for they mark the divide between householders and monastics who "leave home." As explained in the Four Part Vinaya novice monks undertake the following ten vows: (1) not to take life, (2) not to steal, (3) not to engage in sexual activity, (4) not to speak falsely, (5) not to drink alcohol, (6) not to adorn the body with flowers, headdresses, or perfumes, (7) not to sing, dance, or perform as an entertainer, and not to go to see or hear such things, (8) not to sit on high, magnificent couches, (9) not to eat at improper times, and (10) not to handle gold and silver, money, or valuables. The five precepts for the Buddhist laity are the same as the first five of the ten novice precepts, with the exception that only improper sexual activity (as opposed to all sexual activity) is proscribed. The full precepts comprise 250 rules for individual monks which are grouped according to the seriousness of the offenses and the means of expiating them. For example, the four most serious transgressions (sexual intercourse, theft, killing a human being, and falsely claiming superhuman faculties) are classed as offenses requiring expulsion from the sangha. The next most serious class of transgressions are offenses requiring probation and temporary exclusion from the sangha. The least serious offenses are ones that can be atoned by simply confessing them and transgressions of minor etiquette for which there are no explicit sanctions. See →"bodhisattva precepts" for a list of the precepts, the role they played in the history of Chinese and Japanese Buddhism, and a discussion of the precepts now used in Soto Zen.
1. Ordaining master (jugōshi 受業師). The monk who initiates someone into the Buddhist monastic order by shaving their head and giving them the precepts. 2. The master who gave one dharma transmission in the Zen lineage. Also called "primary master from whom one has inherited the dharma" (shihō no honshi 嗣法の本師). In contemporary Soto Zen, this is most often a monk's own father, who was also his ordaining master.
Literally "tranquil" (an 安) "shelter" (go 居) during the monsoon "rains" (u 雨); S. varṣavāsa. Also called summer retreat (ge ango 夏安居). →"retreat."
A small kesa that is hung around the neck by a strap and worn on the chest like a bib. →"kesa."
A senior monk who occupies a place on the platform next to the rear door in a sangha hall and acts as an advisor to the head seat (shuso 首座).
S. jāpa, "murmuring prayers." Literally "mindful" (nen 念) "recitation" (ju 誦). In East Asian Buddhism in general, this commonly refers to the recitation of buddha names to generate merit that is dedicated in support of prayers or to establish karmic affinities with the buddhas named. In some esoteric (mikkyō 密教) schools, nenju refers more specifically to the recitation of a dharani while fixing the mind on a deity associated with the dharani and contemplating the mystical identity of the deity and one's self. In present day Soto Zen, recitations usually entail chanting the verse known as Ten Buddha Names (Jūbutsumyō 十佛名), but in the past the name of Amida Buddha was recited in connection with funeral rites. Entire ceremonies that center around the chanting of the names of buddhas but involve other practices as well (e.g. incense offerings, circumambulation) have come to be known as "recitations." →"Ten Buddha Names."
An officer in a monastic bureaucracy; one of the six stewards (roku chiji 六知事). The etymology of the term is complex. Indian Vinaya texts speak of a monk officer called the karma-dāna or "assigner of duties." That term that was translated into Chinese as "disciplinarian" (kōi 綱維) and transliterated as katsuma dana羯磨陀那. By the Tang dynasty (618-906), a mixed translation and transliteration which combined the final character of both terms - i 維 and na 那 - had become standard. In Tang Buddhist monasteries the rector was one of three top officers (sankō 三綱) and was charged with enforcing rules and maintaining discipline. The other two were the "top seat" (jōza 上座), i.e. the elder who served as spiritual leader or abbot, and the "monastery chief" (jishu 寺主), who was in charge of all practical and administrative affairs, such as supplies and finances.
In Song dynasty Chinese and medieval Japanese Zen monasteries, the rector was in charge of registering monks for retreats, enforcing rules, advising the head seat (shuso 首座) and maintaining discipline in the sangha hall, initiating sutra chanting (kokyō 擧經) by the great assembly, and reciting verses for dedicating the merit (ekō 囘向) produced by that sutra chanting. In contemporary Soto Zen, only training monasteries have a functioning office of rector held by a senior monk who actually serves as disciplinarian for the monastery. The position of rector survives as an important one, however, in all observances that entail chanting sutras and dedicating merit. Whenever the resident priests of affiliated temples get together at one of their temples to perform services for assembled parishioners, one priest will be designated to act as rector for the occasion. →"six stewards."
Short for "hall manager's" (dōsu 堂司) "assistant" (anja 行者). A junior monk charged with assisting the rector (ino 維那), a senior officer called the "hall manager" because he/she was traditionally the overseer of discipline in the sangha hall (sōdō 僧堂), home to the great assembly (daishu 大衆) of monks in training. The rector's assistant, in general, works to direct the movements of the great assembly, e.g. by playing percussion instruments that signal the start of activities, hanging placards, making verbal announcements, and so on. →"rector," "assistant."
When an abbot is not available to hold a small convocation (shōsan 小參) the gathering is cancelled, which is called "release from convocation."
S. śarīra, "remaining bones." The remains of a buddha, bodhisattva, or eminent monk that are gathered after cremation and enshrined in a stupa. The veneration of relics of Shakamuni Buddha as a means of making merit is attested from an early time in the history of the Buddhist sangha in India, and has continued down to the present day in East Asia. Relics are also believed to have magical powers of purification and healing. →"stupa."
San 懺 means to "regret," "feel remorse," "repent," or "confess sins." Ge 悔 means to "have remorse," "regret," or "repent," but it can also mean something that one regrets, that is, a "mistake," "error," or "crime." Thus, sange can be glossed either as two verb compound meaning "to repent" or as verb object compound meaning "to repent errors." The East Asian Buddhist tradition of which Zen is a part employs a variety of repentance procedures (senbō 懺法), ranging from the simple recitation of a Verse of Repentance to prolonged, complex sequences involving the invocation of buddhas and bodhisattvas, offerings, purification, and confession. →"Verse of Repentance," "rite of repentance."
A period of intensified practice in the life of a monastery during which uninterrupted residence is mandatory for registered monks in training. Ango means "tranquil" (an 安) "shelter" (go 居). A more formal name is "retreat in which the rules are bound" (kessei ango 結制安居). The term kessei refers either to (1) the act of "binding" (ketsu 結) a stricter "system" or set of "rules" (sei 制) of monastic training in a formal rite that marks the opening of a retreat, also called "binding the retreat" (ketsuge 結夏), or to (2) the entire period of time that the stricter rules are in force, which is also called the "period of retreat" (seichū 制中) or "during the retreat" (angochū 安居中). The end of a retreat (kaisei 解制) is marked by a rite in which the "rules" (sei 制) are "relaxed" or "loosened" (kai 解). The time between retreats (geai 解間), literally the "period" (ai 間) of "loosening" (ge 解), is when monks in training may come and register in a monastery or terminate their registration and depart. All appointments to official positions in a monastic bureaucracy are formally confirmed at the start of the retreat and remain fixed for the duration of the retreat.
At Japanese Zen monasteries today there are two annual retreats, which go by various names: (1) the rains retreat (u ango 雨安居), summer retreat (ge ango 夏安居), or summer assembly (natsu e 夏會), and (2) the snow retreat (setsu ango 雪安居), winter retreat (tō ango 冬安居), or winter assembly (fuyue 冬會). The traditional length of time for a retreat in East Asia is ninety days (kujun 九旬), or "nine" (ku九) "ten-day periods" (jun 旬), which is three months according to the Chinese lunar calendar. The dates recommended in Standard Observances of the Soto Zen School are May 15 to August 15 for the summer retreat and November 15 to February 15 for the winter retreat. These dates accord with the schedule for "middle retreats" (chūango 中安居) as established in the Soto School Constitution (Sōtōshū shūsei 曹洞宗宗制). The Constitution also allows for "early retreats" (zen ango 前安居) that begin and end one month earlier than middle retreats, and "late retreats" (go ango 後安居) that begin and end one month later.
The retreat as it is observed in Buddhist monasteries around the world today is a ritual replication of the rains retreat (S. varṣavāsa) originally observed by monks in ancient India during the three months of the monsoon. The expression "cloistered retreat" (kinsoku ango 禁足安居), still used in Japanese Zen, reflects the fact that monks were "forbidden" (kin 禁) to wander "on foot" (soku 足) during the rainy season. The Pali Canon (Mahāvagga, III, 2, 2) suggests that, at some early stage in the evolution of the Buddhist monastic order, there was a system of two dates for the assignment of seats at temporary dwelling sites set up for the rains retreat: one at the start of the rains, and a second one approximately a month later that was intended to accommodate latecomers. Subsequently, a third assignment of seats was implemented at the end of retreats, ostensibly for the purpose of reserving places for the next year's retreat, but actually to accommodate monks who planned to remain at the site for the eight or nine months of the year between retreats; that was called the "intervening" (Pali, antarā) assignment of seats. Modern scholars theorize that the phenomenon of permanent Buddhist monastic institutions evolved from that practice. Although monasteries came to be occupied on a year-round basis, the rains retreat continued to be marked by a ritual "binding" and "releasing" of the community, and the seniority of individual monks came to be reckoned by the number of annual retreats that had passed since they received the precepts and joined the order.
Monastic retreats have traditionally been understood within the Buddhist world to begin and end on the days of a full moon and last for three months, but there is much variation in their timing. Chinese sources attest to that variation in ancient India and Central Asia and evince considerable difference of opinions on the issue. The Chinese pilgrim monk Genjō (C. Xuanzang 玄奘, 600-664), for example, reported in his Record of Western Lands (J. Saiikiki 西域記) that in some countries in Central Asia the retreat ran from the 16th day of the 12th month through the 15th day of the 3rd month, because that was time of year when the rains were heavy (T 51.872a-14-15). Chinese translations of Indian Vinaya texts accurately rendered the three times for the assignment of seats for a retreat as "earlier" (zen 前), "later" (go 後) and "in between" (chū 中), but the influential Chinese Vinaya exegete Dōsen (C. Daoxuan 道宣, 596-667) seems to have misconstrued the intended meaning of those terms. In his Commentary on the Four-Part Vinaya (J. Shibun ritsu gyōji shō 四分律行事鈔) Daoxuan wrote that the "early retreat" (zen ango 前安居) begins on 4/16 and lasts for three months; the "late retreat" (go ango 後安居) begins on 5/16 and also lasts for three months; but the "middle retreat" (chū ango 中安居) begins any time from 4/17 through 5/15 and does not necessarily last for three months (T 40.38b23-26). The present day Soto interpretation of the three times for commencing retreats (early, middle, and late) derives from Dōsen's interpretation of the Indian Vinaya tradition. The Sūtra of Brahma's Net (J. Bonmōkyō 梵網經), a Chinese apocryphon that is the locus classicus for the bodhisattva precepts (bosatsukai 菩薩戒) used in East Asian Buddhism, says that disciples of the Buddha should enter into retreat for austere practice (zuda 頭陀) and sitting meditation (zazen 坐禪) twice a year, once in the winter and once in the summer (T 24.1008a13). It is the oldest source to mention such a system, which may have begun in Central Asia or China. The practice of holding two annual retreats was well established in the public monasteries of Song dynasty (960-1278) China that served as a model for Japanese Zen.
Literally "binding" (ketsu 結) a stricter set of "rules" or "system" (sei 制) for monastic training during a retreat. →"retreat.
S. upādhyāya; in ancient Indian brahmanism, the primary teacher of a young student. In Indian Buddhism, a monk who has at least ten years of seniority since full ordination and is thus qualified to sponsor the ordination of others. In present day Soto Zen, the title of reverend is afforded to any monk or nun who has inherited the dharma (shihō 嗣法), i.e. received dharma transmission (denbō 傳法). The title "most reverend" (daioshō 大和尚) is reserved for one who has headed a retreat (kessei ango 結制安居) at his or her own temple.
1. A general term for traditional Japanese (as opposed to Western-style) clothing. 2. A general term for any formal outer garments worn by Buddhist monks in Japan; also called dharma robes (hōe 法衣). 3. A Chinese-style robe that is worn by Buddhist monks in East Asia; also called a long robe (jikitotsu 直裰). The koromo has long sleeves and a collar and is tied by a sash or belt (obi 帶) around the waist. Zen monks in Japan wear a Japanese-style long cotton kimono (yukata 浴衣) under the koromo, with a collared white undershirt (juban 襦袢) under the kimono. The ceremonial kesa, a vestige of the upper robe that covered one shoulder of Buddhist monks in India, is worn over the koromo. Formally dressed Zen monks thus wear two layers of traditional Japanese clothing (kimono), covered by a Chinese Buddhist long robe (koromo), which is topped by an Indian Buddhist robe (kesa). →"kesa."
1. An abbreviated name for Birushana Buddha (Birushana butsu毘盧遮那佛). 2. In the Tendai (C. Tiantai 天台) school's interpretation of the doctrine of the three bodies (sanshin 三身, S. trikāya) of Buddha, Birushana 毘盧遮那 is the dharma body (hosshin 法身, S. dharmakāya), Rushana 盧舍那 is the response body (ōshin應身, S. sambhogakāya), and Shakamuni is the transformation body (keshin 化身, S. nirmāakāya) of the Buddha. This scheme is reflected in the verse of Ten Buddha Names (Jūbutsumyō 十佛名) used in Japanese Zen, which begins with those three names.
Sacred Monk/Sal tree/sangha/sangha hall/seal/seal of the buddha-mind/seat of awakening/Second Ancestor in China/secretary/sesshin/sesshin assembly/seven-panel robe/Shaka/Shakamuni/Shakamuni Buddha/sit cross-legged/sit semi-cross-legged/sitting cloth/six destinies/six stewards/small bowl-bell/small convocation/snow retreat/Sōji Monastery/Sōjiji/spread sitting cloth/student/Sumeru altar/summer retreat/sutra/sutra chanting/sutra reading
A name for Monju Bodhisattva, who is enshrined in an altar in the sangha hall (sōdō 僧堂) or meditation hall (zendō 禪堂) of a Zen monastery. In most other contexts, Monju is depicted seated on a lion and holding a sword, which symbolizes the perfection of wisdom (hannya haramitsu 般若波羅蜜, S. prajñāpāramitā). In the sangha hall (meditation hall), however, he is often depicted dressed as an ordinary monk in training, hence the name "Sacred Monk." He is in a sense the tutelary deity of the hall, as well as a symbol of the wisdom that trainees strive to cultivate there. But he is also treated as the highest ranking monk in residence, being offered tea first, for example, when tea is served to the entire hall assembly. There is also a Sacred Monk of the common quarters (shu ryō no shōsō 衆寮の聖僧), who is Kannon Bodhisattva. →"Monju Bodhisattava."
S. śāla. Variety of tree under which Shakamuni Buddha is said to have died.
1. The Buddhist monastic order, consisting of ordained monks (sō 僧) and nuns (nisō 尼僧). 2. The four-fold sangha (shishu 四衆), consisting of Buddhist monks, nuns, lay men, and lay women. 3. Teachers, followers, and supporters of Buddhism in all realms of existence, including buddhas, bodhisattvas, arhats, devas, and a host of other supernatural beings. →"monk," "nun."
Literally, "hall" (dō 堂) for the "sangha" (sō 僧). Because sō 僧 can also be translated as "monk," sōdō 僧堂 is often rendered in English as "monks' hall." That is not an error, but "sangha hall" is a more apt translation, for two reasons. First, all of the buildings in a monastery are for use by monks, but the sōdō is the place where only the great assembly of monks (daishu 大衆) - a "sangha" in the sense of a "group" or "collective" - is quartered. Monks who hold various monastic offices are not part of the great assembly: they have their own quarters (ryō 寮) where they perform their duties, keep their personal possessions, and sleep at night. Secondly, the sōdō has traditionally been considered one of the three most important buildings in a monastery, the first two being the buddha hall (butsuden 佛殿) and the dharma hall (hattō 法堂). Because the "three treasures" (sanbō 三寶) are the "Buddha, dharma, and sangha" (buppōsō 佛法僧), the third building in this set is best called the "sangha hall."
1. In Song and Yuan dynasty Chinese monasteries and the medieval Japanese Zen monasteries (such as Dōgen's Eiheiji) that were modeled after them, the sangha hall was the central facility on the west side of a monastery compound. It was a large structure divided internally into an inner and an outer hall and surrounded by enclosed corridors that connected it with nearby ancillary facilities. The inner hall was further divided into front and rear sections and featured low, wide sitting platforms arranged in several blocks in the center of the floor space and along the walls. Enshrined on an altar in the center of the inner hall was an image of Monju Bodhisattva, called the Sacred Monk, who was treated both as the tutelary deity of the hall and the highest ranking "monk" in the assembly. Registered monks of the great assembly spent much of their time at their individual places on the platforms, sitting in meditation, taking their meals, and spreading out bedding for sleep at night. Their bowls were hung above their seats, and their few personal effects and monkish implements were stored in boxes at the rear of the platforms. Seats in the inner hall were also designated for the abbot and the monastic officers and assistants who directed the training there. Monks with no special duties were seated in order of seniority, according to years elapsed since ordination. Other officers, acolytes, and unregistered monks were assigned seating places in the outer hall, where the platforms were not deep enough to recline on. They would gather in the sangha hall for meals, ceremonies, and a few periods of meditation but slept elsewhere. Observances centered in the sangha hall included: recitations of buddha names to generate merit in support of prayers; rites marking the induction and retirement of monastic officers in the ranks of stewards and precepts; novice ordinations; sutra chanting; prayer services sponsored by lay patrons, who would enter the hall to make cash donations and hear their prayers recited; and formal tea services. Apart from those group observances, however, the individual drinking of tea, sutra reading or chanting (whether for study or devotional purposes), and writing were not allowed in the sangha hall, lest they interfere with the attitude of introspective concentration that monks were supposed to maintain there. Monks of the great assembly could engage in such activities only at their seats in the common quarters. Contrary to the claims of some modern scholarship, sangha halls were a standard feature of all major Buddhist monasteries in Song and Yuan dynasty China. The modes of practice that went on in them were neither invented by nor unique to monks belonging to the Zen school.
In Kamakura period (1185-1333) Japan, there were a few Chinese-style monasteries not associated with the Zen tradition that had sangha halls, but Zen monks such as Dōgen and Keizan were in the forefront of the movement to implement sangha hall training. During that period, most Zen monasteries in Japan had sangha halls, but the divisiveness of competing lineages and the proliferation of mortuary sub-temples (tatchū 塔頭) in the Muromachi period (1333-1573) resulted in the demise of those facilities for communal training. It was not until 1796 that a Song Chinese style sangha hall was rebuilt at Eiheiji and an effort was made to reinstate the modes of training there that had originally been established by Dōgen. Even today, there are only a handful of Song style sangha halls operating in Japan, all of them at Soto monasteries (Eiheiji and Sōjiji first among them).
2. In Edo period (1600-1868) Japan, the term sangha hall (sōdō 僧堂) came to refer to any Zen temple that operated as a training monastery, that is, a place with a meditation hall (zendō 禪堂) and a sizable community of monks in training under a Zen master, as opposed to an ordinary parish temple which typically housed just a resident priest and a few disciples. In the revival of communal monastic practice that was sparked by the importation of so-called Ōbaku Zen from China in the seventeenth century, ordinary temples were converted into training monasteries (sōdō 僧堂) by "opening platforms" (kaitan 開單), which is to say, building meditation halls.
An engraved stamp, used as a signature.
Buddha-mind (busshin 佛心) is the awakening (bodai 菩提, S. bodhi) that turns ordinary beings into buddhas. The Zen lineage is said to transmit Shakamuni's buddha-mind from master to disciple "without relying on scriptures" (furyū monji 不立文字). That wordless "mind to mind transmission" (ishin denshin 以心傳心) is likened to the kind of non-verbal communication that takes place when a carved seal (in 印), used in East Asia as a legally binding signature, is inked and pressed on a piece of paper. The awakened mind of the master presses directly, as it were, on the mind of the disciple, thereby replicating itself. A disciple whose understanding of the dharma is formally approved and documented by a master is also said to have received a "seal of approval" (inka 印可).
1. Where Shakamuni Buddha sat, under the bodhi tree, when he attained awakening. 2. Any place, physical or metaphorical, associated with awakening. →"awakening."
Eka (C. Huike 慧可), who cut off his own arm to demonstrate his sincerity to Bodaidaruma.
Literally "writer" (sho 書) and "recorder" (ki 記). An officer in a monastic bureaucracy; one of the six prefects (roku chōshu 六頭首). In Song dynasty Chinese and medieval Japanese Zen monasteries, the position of secretary was subordinate to that of rector (ino 維那). The secretary was in charge of all official correspondence, especially that which went back and forth between a monastery and the civil authorities. In China, Buddhist monasteries were obligated to submit census records for their populations of monks, nuns, postulants, laborers, and serfs, as well regular reports on landholdings, crop yields, and activities such as ordinations held and building projects. They also had to get official approval for the appointment of high ranking monastic officers, especially abbots, and to obtain travel permission and passports for itinerant fund raisers and monks who wished to go on pilgrimages. The secretary thus took care of the sort of legal business and correspondence that, in a modern institution such as a university, would be handled by attorneys. In contemporary Soto Zen, only training monasteries (Eiheiji and Sōjiji foremost among them) have a functioning office of secretary held by a senior monk who actually serves as an official correspondent and keeper of records. The position of secretary survives, for the most part, only as a honorific title and seating position in various ritual observances, which some senior monk holds for the duration of the ceremony. →"six prefects."
Literally, to "collect" or "gather in" (setsu 攝) the "mind" (shin心). A period in the life of a Japanese Zen monastery, usually a week in length but sometimes just a few days, when the ordinary schedule of daily observance is adjusted to maximize the hours spent in zazen and reduce or eliminate time devoted to other routine activities such a communal labor and sleep.
Same as ☞ "sesshin."
A type of kesa; a pieced robe (kassetsue 割截衣) with two long and one short piece of cloth (usually silk) in each of its seven panels. Also called the uttarasō robe, it is one of the three robes that Soto monks are supposed to receive upon ordination, in accordance with Chinese translations of the Indian Vinaya. →"uttarasō robe," "three robes."
Short for ☞ Shakamuni.
S. Śākyamuni, literally "Sage of the Śākya clan." An epithet for the "historical" Buddha, the founder of the Buddhist religion in the present world cycle. In the Zen tradition, Shakamuni is revered more than any other buddha in the Mahayana pantheon because he said to have founded the Zen lineage when he vouchsafed his formless "mind dharma" (shinbō 心法) to his disciple Makakasho in a "separate transmission apart from the teachings" (kyōge betsuden 教外別傳). An image of Shakamuni (shakazō 釋迦像) is the main object of veneration (honzon 本尊) on the central altar of most Zen monasteries and temples. The traditional story of the life of Buddha Shakamuni is broken into major episodes in his career, often depicted in a series of sculptures or paintings. In India, famous events in the Buddha's life (as well incidents said to have occurred in his past lives) were also commemorated by stupas built at the locations where they were believed to have taken place. The four episodes (as told in Chinese Buddhist texts known across East Asia) that are deemed most important in the Zen tradition are: (1) Shakamuni's miraculous birth in the Lumbinī Grove near Kapilavastu, where he emerged from his mother's side as she stood holding a tree branch, took seven steps, looked in the four directions, pointed to the sky with one hand and to the earth with the other and declared, "In the heavens above and this earth below, I alone am uniquely honored" (tenjō tenge yuiga dokuson 天上天下唯我獨尊); (2) his "attainment of the way" (jōdō 成道) in Magadha, where he sat in meditation under the bodhi tree (bodaiju 菩提樹) and declared that he would not move until he attained awakening; (3) his first preaching of the dharma (seppō 説法), also called "turning the dharma wheel" (tenbōrin 轉法輪), which took place in the Deer Park in Sārnāth, near the city of Vārāνasī; and (4) his death or "entry into nirvana" (nyūmetsu 入滅), which took place between a pair of Sal trees (sara sōju 娑羅雙樹) on the banks of the river Hiraνyavatī in Kuśinagara. All four of these events are recalled on a daily basis in Soto monasteries in the Verse upon Hearing the Meal Signal (Montsui no ge 聞槌の偈), and three of them are commemorated in major annual observances called the Buddha's birthday assembly (buttan e 佛誕會), Buddha's attainment assembly (jōdō e 成道會), and nirvana assembly (nehan e 涅槃會).
To sit with the left foot on the right thigh and the right foot on the left thigh; the so-called "full lotus" position. A posture often used for sitting meditation (zazen 坐禪), and also when sitting on tatami mat floors during religious services. →"sit semi-cross-legged."
To sit with one foot on the opposite thigh and the other foot under the opposite thigh; the so-called "half lotus" position. A posture often used for sitting meditation (zazen 坐禪), and also when sitting on tatami mat floors during religious services, especially by people for whom the proper cross-legged position ("full lotus") is too difficult. →"sit cross-legged."
S. nisīdana. A rectangular cloth carried by monks and spread out to sit or make prostrations on. Originally a woven straw mat that monks in India used for sitting and sleeping on the ground, to keep away insects and protect their robes. In East Asia the sitting cloth came to have a largely ceremonial, symbolic use, and is rarely if ever laid on the bare ground.
The six realms of rebirth: devas (ten 天), humans (ningen 人間), demigods (ashura 阿修羅), animals (chikushō 畜生), hungry ghosts (gaki 餓鬼), and hell (jigoku 地獄).
A set of senior monastic officers; literally the "six" (roku 六) "managers" (chi 知) of "affairs" (ji 事). They are: (1) prior (tsūsu 都寺), (2) comptroller (kansu 監寺), (3) assistant comptroller (fūsu 副寺), (4) rector (ino 維那), (5) head cook (tenzo 典座), and (6) labor steward (shissui 直歳). In Song dynasty Chinese and medieval Japanese Zen monastic bureaucracies, the steward positions were considered the most important, exceeded only by that of abbot. They were called the "east row" (tōjo 東序) of officers because they lined up in the front row on the east side of the buddha hall and dharma hall when attending major observances held in those facilities. Among the stewards, only the rector was concerned primarily with the discipline and training of the great assembly of monks based in the sangha hall (sōdō 僧堂). The other five all had their quarters in the administration hall (kudō 庫堂), the center for managing all the practical affairs of the institution, such as finances, building maintenance, and supplies of food and other necessities. The administration hall was on the east side of a monastery, opposite the sangha hall, which was on the west side.
The system of six stewards evolved from a simpler model of monastic bureaucracy in Tang dynasty (618-906) China, in which there were but three top officers (sankō, C. sangang 三綱): the "top seat" (jōza, C. shangzuo 上座) or "elder" (chōrō, C. zhanglao 長老), who served as spiritual leader; the rector (ino, C. weina 維那), who was charged with enforcing rules and maintaining discipline; and the monastery chief (jishu, C. sizhu 寺主), who handled all practical and administrative affairs. By the Song, the position of "elder" had evolved into that of abbot (jūji 住持); the office of rector had spawned a number of subordinate positions held by officers called prefects (chōshu 頭首); and job of monastery chief had come to be divided among the prior, comptroller, assistant comptroller, and labor steward.
In contemporary Soto Zen, only training monasteries have the six stewards as actively functioning monastic offices. The steward positions survive, for the most part, only as a honorific titles and seating position in various ritual observances, which senior monks hold for the duration of the ceremony. →"six prefects."
A gathering, originally in an abbots quarters, at which an abbot instructs his or her monk disciples in manner somewhat less formal than in a convocation (jōdō 上堂) in a dharma hall (hattō 法堂). →convocation."
Literally "tranquil" (an 安) "shelter" (go 居) during the season of "snow" (setsu 雪). Also called winter retreat (tō ango 冬安居). The ninety day snow retreat, which is held in addition to the ninety day rains retreat (u ango 雨安居, S. varśavāsa) that originated in ancient India, was probably an innovation of the Buddhist monastic order in Central Asia or China. →"retreat."
One of two head temples (honzan 本山) of the Soto school; the other is Eiheiji. In 1321, Keizan took over as abbot of a monastery on the Noto Peninsula (modern Ishikawa Prefecture) and changed its name to Shogaku Mountain Sōjiji (Shogakusan Sōjiji 諸嶽山總持寺); it had previously been called Shogaku Kannon Hall (Shogaku Kannondō 諸嶽觀音堂) and was affiliated with the Shingon Vinaya school (Shingon Risshū 眞言律宗). The term sōji, literally "all" (sō 總) "upholding" (ji 持), entered the lexicon of East Asian Buddhism as a Chinese translation of the Sanskrit dhāraī (magical spell, literally, "that which supports"). Under Keizan's guidance, Sōjiji became a leading center of Soto Zen. In 1898, almost the entire monastery was destroyed by fire. In 1907, Sōjiji was moved to its present location in Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture, where it was constructed on a grand scale. The original monastery site, rebuilt to some extent after the fire, is now called the Ancestral Cloister of Sōjiji (Sōjiji Soin 總持寺祖院).
To lay the sitting cloth (zagu 坐具) on the floor in front of one as a place to sit or make prostrations. → "sitting cloth."
A "person" (nin人) who "studies" or "practices" (gaku 學). Also translated herein as "trainee." In modern Japanese, the word gaku means "knowledge" or "learning," and the intellectual "study" that is necessary to acquire it. In pre-modern Buddhist texts written in classical Chinese, however, gaku refers to all three of the basic modes of training, which were summarized as (1) keeping moral precepts, (2) calming the mind through meditation, and (3) cultivating wisdom by reading sutras and commentaries.
A large dais, accessible by steps on either side, which serves as the altar for the main object of veneration (honzon 本尊) in a buddha hall, and as the place where the abbot's chair is set for sermons in a dharma hall. The altar is named after the vast mountain which, according to traditional Buddhist cosmology, rises out of the sea at the center of the universe.
Literally "tranquil" (an 安) "shelter" (go 居) during the summer. Also called rains retreat (u ango 雨安居) or summer assembly (natsu e 夏會). →"retreat."
A scripture said to contain the words of Shakamuni Buddha, as recalled by his disciple Anan.
The recitation of sutras, usually by a group of monks, to produce merit (kudoku 功徳) for dedication in conjunction with and support of prayers.
1. Chanting sutras aloud to make merit. 2. Reading sutras quietly for the purpose of grasping their meaning.
tathagata/Ten Buddha Names/Ten-Line Kannon Sutra/Tendō/Tendō Nyojō/thought of awakening/three modes of karma/three painful destinies/three robes/three times/three treasures/Tiantong Mountain/tradition of the monastery/trainee/turn the dharma wheel
S. tathāgata. Literally, "thus come." 1. An epithet for Shakamuni Buddha. 2. Any buddha.
A verse chanted daily at mealtimes, and in connection with other services, notably recitations (nenju 念誦) performed on "3" and "8" days and funerals. For meals, the verse is introduced by the rector (ino 維那), then chanted by the great assembly (daishu 大衆), as follows:
Relying entirely on the three treasures, which bestow upon us their certification,
we call upon the venerable assembly to mindfully recite:
nyan ni san po ansu inshi 仰惟三寶咸賜印知
nyan pin son shu nyan 仰憑尊衆念
Birushana Buddha, pure dharma body.
Rushana Buddha, complete enjoyment body.
Shakamuni Buddha, of trillions of transformation bodies.
Miroku Buddha, of future birth.
All buddhas of the ten directions and three times.
Mahayana Sutra of the Lotus of the Wondrous Dharma.
Monjushiri Bodhisattva, of great sagacity.
Fugen Bodhisattva, of the great vehicle.
Kanzeon Bodhisattva, of great compassion.
All honored bodhisattvas, those great beings.
Great perfection of wisdom.
shin jin pashin birū sha no fu 清淨法身毘盧舍那佛
en mon ho shin rushā no fu 圓滿報身盧遮那佛
sen pai kashin shikyā mu ni fu 千百億化身釋迦牟尼佛
to rai asan mirū son bu 當來下生彌勒尊佛
ji ho san shi ishî shi fu 十方三世一切諸佛
dai jin myo harin ga kin 大乘妙法蓮華經
dai shin bun jusu ri bu sa 大聖文殊師利菩薩
dai jin fuen bu sa 大乘普賢菩薩
daihi kan shiin bu sa 大悲觀世音菩薩
shi son bu sa mo ko sa 諸尊菩薩摩訶薩
mo ko ho ja ho ro mi 摩訶般若波羅蜜
The mindful recitation (nen 念) of various buddha names (butsumyō 佛名) is a common practice in Mahayana Buddhism. It is conceived both as an act of worship and as a means of generating merit (kudoku 功徳) that is subsequently dedicated in support of specific prayers. In Japan, the practice of mindfully reciting a buddha's name (nenbutsu 念佛) is most often associated with the Pure Land (jōdo 淨土) schools, which teach an exclusive reliance on the saving power of Amida Buddha, as expressed in the devotional recitation "Homage to Amida Buddha" (namu Amida Bu 南無阿彌陀佛). Japanese Zen, however, is heir to the mainstream Chinese Buddhist monastic institutions of the Song, Yuan, and Ming dynasties, in which the mindful recitation of buddha names (including but not limited to Amida) was a routine practice for all monks, whether or not they were affiliated with the Zen school. →"recitations."
The title Ten Buddha Names is somewhat incongruous in that the text does not actually name ten buddhas. Rather, it mentions four buddhas by name, then pays homage to "all buddhas of the ten directions and three times." It also mentions three bodhisattvas by name, then rounds out that category, too, by hailing "all honored bodhisattvas." In addition, it names the Lotus Sutra and the "great perfection of wisdom." The latter is personified as a deity in some Mahayana texts. The version of the Ten Buddha Names found in Standard Observances of the Soto Zen School derives from Dōgen's Procedure for Taking Meals (Fushukuhanpō 赴粥飯法). In the chapter of Dōgen's Treasury of the Eye of the True Dharma (Shōbōgenzō 正法眼藏) entitled Retreat (Ango 安居), however, he cites a version of the text that lacks the line "Mahayana Sutra of the Lotus of the Wondrous Dharma." Evidently, Dōgen intended that shorter version to be used in conjunction with recitations on "3" days and "8" days. The shorter version, which at least has the number of lines (ten) that the title leads one to expect, is the one used in Rinzai Zen monasteries. The title Ten Buddha Names is well attested in medieval Chinese monastic rules, including the Rules of Purity for Zen Monasteries (Zen'en shingi 禪苑清規), which dates from 1103, and is said to derive from the "standards for monks and nuns" (sōni kihan 僧尼規範) written by the Chinese monk Dōan (C. Daoan 道安, 312-385). The contents of verses called Ten Buddha Names exhibit considerable variation, however. In his Encyclopedia of Zen Monasticism (Zenrin shōkisen 禪林象器箋), Mujaku Dōchū 無著道忠 (1653-1744) reviews the textual evidence and despairs of finding a reasonable explanation of the title.
The pronunciation of the Ten Buddha Names given (using the kana syllabary) in Standard Observances of the Soto Zen School is noteworthy for its deviation from standard Japanese readings of Chinese Buddhist texts. It seems to have been influenced by Chinese pronunciations introduced to Japan in the seventeenth century by monks associated with the so-called Ōbaku school of Zen. That is evidence that the Ten Buddha Names, while used in Japanese Zen monasteries in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, was reintroduced from Ming China during the Edo period (1600-1868), when many of the modes of Japanese Zen monastic training that exist today were taking shape.
Also known as Life-Extending Ten-Line Kannon Sutra (Enmyō jikku kannon gyō 延命十句觀音經).
paying homage to Buddha,
forged a causal connection with Buddha,
a karmic affinity with Buddha,
a karmic affinity with Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha,
thus attaining permanence, ease, selfhood, and purity.
In the morning think of Kanzeon,
in the evening think of Kanzeon.
Thought after thought arises from mind;
thought after thought is not separate from mind.
kan ze on 觀世音
na mu butsu 南無佛
yo butsu u in 與佛有因
yo butsu u en 與佛有縁
butsu ho so en 佛法僧縁
jo raku ga jo 常樂我淨
cho nen kan ze on 朝念觀世音
bo nen kan ze on 暮念觀世音
nen nen ju shin ki 念念從心起
nen nen fu ri shin 念念不離心
The first six lines of this verse establish the bodhisattva Kannon (Kanzeon) as a being worthy of "mindful remembrance" (nen 念, S. smti) and prayers for help, typically by calling his name in "mindful recitation" (nen 念): "Homage to Kanzeon Bodhisattva" (namu Kanzeon Bosa 南無觀世音菩薩). Lines three and four play on the term innen 因縁, which in Buddhist philosophy refers to "immediate causes (in 因) and enabling conditions (en 縁)," but in common Japanese parlance means something like "karmic affinity." "Permanence, ease, selfhood, and purity" (jō raku ga jō 常樂我淨) are the four attributes of nirvana, which is free from the impermanence (mujō 無常), suffering (ku 苦), lack of self (muga 無我), and impurity (fujō 不淨) that characterizes all things (hō 法. S. dharmas) in the round of birth and death (shōji生死, S. sasāra). The final two lines turn away from Kanzeon as an object of devotion and focus attention on the mind (one's own mind) in which thoughts of that bodhisattva arise: that mind, in its essence, is nothing other than the buddha-mind (busshin 佛心) itself. This combination of devotional and introspective practice was typical of the Buddhism of Ming dynasty (1644-1912) China, which had a big influence on Japanese Zen
1. Tiantong Mountain (Tendōzan, C. Tiantongshan 天童山). 2. Tendō Nyojō, C. Tiantong Rujing 天童如淨, i.e. Nyojō of Tiantong Mountain.
C. Tiantong Rujing. 1163-1228. A Chinese monk, dharma heir to Sokuan Chikan 足庵智鑑 in the Soto lineage, and abbot of the Keitoku (C. Jingde) Monastery on Tendō (C. Tiantong) Mountain when Dōgen was in training there. Rujing had six dharma heirs, one of whom was Dōgen.
The "idea," "intention," or "thought" (shin 心) of "awakening" (bodai 菩提) is the aspiration to attain buddhahood for the sake of helping all living beings. This aspiration is definitive of the bodhisattva path.
The three modes of action: physical, verbal, and mental. Body (shin 身), speech (ku 口), and mind (i 意). Buddhist doctrine does not draw a fundamental distinction between thought and action. It regards thinking as a mode of doing (karma), albeit the most subtle and hard to control.
The three worst of the six realms of rebirth: those of hell (jigoku 地獄), hungry ghosts (gaki 餓鬼), and animals (chikushō 畜生). →"six destinies."
Three types of kesa Soto monks are supposed to receive upon ordination: (1) the five-panel robe (gojōe 五條衣), a.k.a. andae robe (andae 安陀會, S. antarvāsa), (2) seven-panel robe (shichijōe 七條衣), a.k.a. uttarasō robe (uttarasō 欝多羅僧, S. uttarāsangha), and (3) nine-panel robe (kujōe 九條衣), a.k.a. sōgyari robe (sōgyari 僧伽梨, S. saghāi). According to Indian Vinaya texts translated into Chinese, Buddhist monks are allowed three types of robes: (1) an antarvāsa or "under robe," (2) an uttarāsangha or "upper robe," and (3) a saghāi or "full dress robe." These three types of robes are symbolically represented by the three types of kesas that Soto monks receive today, but the latter do not have the same shapes or practical functions as the original Indian robes they are named after. "andae robe," "uttarasō robe," "sōgyari robe," "kesa," "robes."
Past, present, and future.
Buddha, dharma, and sangha (buppōsō 佛法僧). These are invoked collectively in Zen liturgy, as if they were a single deity being asked to bear witness and lend legitimacy to a ritual.
Popular mountain name (sangō 山號) for the Keitoku Monastery (Keitokuji, C. Jingdesi 景徳寺) in Zhejiang province, where Dōgen trained intermittently while in China from 1223 to 1227. The official name of the monastery at the time was Tiantong Jingde Chan Monastery on Taibai Mountain (Taihakusan tendō keitoku zenji太白山天童景徳禪寺). Tiantong Mountain was designated by the imperial court as a "monastery of the ten directions" (jippōsetsu 十方刹), or public monastery. As such, it was open to all Buddhist monks, regardless of their ordination or dharma lineages, and a retiring abbot could not be succeeded in that position by his own dharma heir. Tiantong Mountain was called a Zen monastery because the abbacy was restricted by the court to monks in one or another branch of the Zen lineage. When Dōgen first visited in 1223, the abbot was Musai (C. Wuji 無際, d. 1224), a dharma heir in the Rinzai lineage. When Dōgen returned in 1225, Wuji had been succeeded by Nyojō (C. Rujing 如淨, 1163-1228), a dharma heir in the Soto lineage, who gave him dharma transmission before his return to Japan.
San 山, literally "mountain," is a way of referring to one's own monastery; it is equivalent here to the expression "this monastery" (sanmon 山門). Pū (fū) 風, literally "wind," indicates the customs, style, and traditions of the monastery as well as its influence, fame and prestige. →"mountain gate," "wind."
A metaphor for preaching the dharma, that is, spreading Buddhist teachings. The Buddha's dharma is often called a "vehicle" (jō 乘, S. yāna), and to turn the wheels of a vehicle is to propel it forward. In Indian mythology, a "wheel-turning king" (tenrin ō 轉輪王, rinnō 輪王, S. cakravarti-rāja, cakravartin) is a mighty emperor or world ruler; the expression derived, perhaps, from the image of a king's chariots - his wheels - conquering a vast area. In the life story of the Buddha Shakamuni, a sage predicts before his birth that if he remains in the world he will become a wheel-turning king, but if he chooses the path of an ascetic renouncer he will become a spiritual conqueror instead: the Buddha, who after his awakening begins to preach and thus turns the wheel of dharma. →"dharma wheel."
Short for "unconnected spirits of the dead" (muenbotoke無縁佛): unfortunate spirits who have no living family to provide them offerings.
Verse After Eating/Verse Before Eating/Verse commentary of Tendō Kaku/Verse for Bell Ringing/Verse for Bowl Raising/Verse for Donning Kesa/Verse for Opening Sutras/Verse for Setting Out Bowls/verse from Great Perfection of Wisdom Sutra/Verse of Bathing Buddha (No. 1)/Verse of Bathing Buddha (No. 2)/Verse of Five Contemplations/Verse of Four Universal Vows/Verse of Giving Wealth/Verse of Homage to Buddha's Relics/Verse of Impermanence/Verse of Purifying Place of Practice/Verse of Purity While Abiding in the World/Verse of Repentance/Verse of Rice for Spirits/Verse of Rinse Water/Verse of Robe and Bowls/Verse of Seeking the Way/Verse of Sitting Cloth/Verse of Spiritual Aspiration/Verse of Three Refuges/Verse of Threefold Refuge/Verse of Tonsure/Verse on Sounding Board/verse paraphrase of Great Perfection of Wisdom Sutra/verse upon first striking of bell/Verse Upon Hearing Mallet/Verse When Ordinands Enter Ritual Site/Verses for Face Washing/Verses of Food Offering/vestment of liberation
Having finished eating this meal,
we pray that all living beings
shall be replete in virtue and practice
and attain the ten powers of a buddha.
bonjiki ikotsu 飯食已訖
to gan shujō 當願衆生
toku gyo ju yo 徳行充盈
jo jis-shu riki 成十種力
As we are about to eat and drink,
we pray that all living beings
may take the bliss of meditation as food
and be filled with the joy of dharma.
nyaku on jikiji 若飮食時
to gan shujō 當願衆生
zen etsu ijiki 禪悦爲食
hōki ju man 法喜充滿
Verse commentary (ju 頌) to the second case (dai ni soku 第二則) in the Congrong Hermitage Record (Shōyōroku 從容録), "Bodaidaruma's 'Wide Open and Bare'" (Daruma kakunen 達磨廓然):
"Wide open and bare - there is nothing sacred."
The point of his coming was very different.
Succeeding, he swung the axe without violating the first principle;
failing, he overturned the rice pot without looking back.
All alone, he sat frozen at Shaolin;
silent and still, he fully explained the true teaching.
The clear moon of autumn turns its frosty wheel;
the faint Dipper in the river of stars dangles its evening handle.
In an unbroken line, the robe and bowl were handed down to descendants;
thence have humans and devas produced medicines and maladies.
The lion's roar is inexhaustible.
kakunen mushō 廓然無聖
raiki keitei 來機逕庭
toku hihan bi ni kikin 得非犯鼻而揮斤
shitsu fukai tō ni dasō 失不迴頭而墮甑
ryōryō rei za shōrin 寥寥冷坐少林
moku moku zentei shōryō 默默全提正令
shū seigetsu ten sōrin 秋清月轉霜輪
ka tanto sui yahei 河淡斗垂夜柄
jōjō ehatsu fu jison 繩繩衣鉢付兒孫
jushi ninden sei yaku byō 從此人天成藥病
"Wide open and bare-there is nothing sacred" are words attributed to Bodaidaruma in his exchange with Emperor Wu of the Liang, uttered in response to the latter's question, "What is the first principle of sacred truth (shōtai daiichigi 聖諦第一義)?" Tendō Kaku (C. Tiantong Jue 天童覺) comments that the "main point" (ki 機) of Daruma's "coming" (rai 來) to China was "very different" (keitei 逕庭) from what the emperor imagined. Daruma "succeeded" (toku 得) because he was able to "swing the axe" (kikin 揮斤) - i.e. give a verbal reply to the emperor's question - without violating (han 犯) the first principle of sacred truth (shōtai daiichigi 聖諦第一義), which is that all verbal expression is fatally flawed because it necessarily employs conceptual categories (names of things) that are empty. The word "nose" (bi 鼻) here means "first," i.e. the "first principle" that the emperor asks about. Daruma "failed" (shitsu 失) because he could not make the emperor understand, but he did not let it bother him. → "exchange in the Liang court."
May living beings of the dharma realms,
stifled and mired in bitterness
in the three painful destinies and eight hardships,
hear the sound and awaken to the way.
sanzu hachi nan 三途八難
sok-ku jo san 息苦停酸
hok-kai shujō 法界衆生
mon sho godō 聞聲悟道
Verse chanted when raising bowl of rice in both hands, prior to eating:
The upper portion is for the three treasures.
The middle portion is for the four benefactors.
The lower extends to the six destinies.
May all alike be given nourishment.
The first mouthful is to cut off all evil.
The second mouthful is to cultivate all good.
The third mouthful is to deliver all living beings.
May all together attain the buddha way.
jo bun san bo 上分三寶
chu bun shion 中分四恩
gekyū roku do 下及六道
kai do kuyō 皆同供養
ik-ku idan is-sai aku 一口爲斷一切惡
niku i shu is-sai zen 二口爲修一切善
sanku i do shoshu jo 三口爲度諸衆生
kaigu jo butsu do 皆共成佛道
In most East Asian Buddhist liturgical manuals these are considered two separate verses of four lines each, but in Soto Zen they are treated as a single verse to be chanted straight though without pause.
The first half of the verse names the "three treasures" (sanbō 三寶), the "four benefactors" (shion 四恩) to whom monks are indebted, and all living beings in the "six destinies" (rokudō 六道) as symbolic recipients of an "offering of nourishment" (kuyō 供養) of the food that is about to be consumed by the monks themselves. The designations "upper" (jō 上), "middle" (chū 中), and "lower" (ge 下) invite one to imagine three separate portions (bun 分) in what is actually a single bowl filled with rice; the point is that offerings are given "up" to worship and honor superior beings, "across" as thanks to those of equal status who have provided help, and "down" to pitiable beings in unhappy rebirths who need help. Such distinctions are drawn among recipients of offerings of merit in the daily sutra chanting services, as well. →"three treasures," "four benefactors," "six destinies."
The second half of the verse is called the Verse of the Three Spoonfuls (Sanshi ge 三匙偈) in other East Asian Buddhist liturgical manuals. The idea that a bodhisattva should vow to "cut off all evil, cultivate all good, and deliver all living beings" is also found in the three sets of pure precepts (sanjujōkai 三聚淨戒) that Soto monks receive upon ordination: the precepts of restraint, precepts of adopting good qualities, and precepts of benefiting all living beings.
How great the vestment of liberation,
robe that is a signless field of merit.
Wrapping ourselves in the Tathagata's teachings,
we encompass and deliver all living beings.
dai sai gedap-puku 大哉解脱服
musō fuku den'e 無相福田衣
hibu nyorai kyo 披奉如來教
kōdo shoshu jo 廣度諸衆生
The "vestment of liberation" is the kesa, the vestment (fuku 服) that is emblematic of Buddhist monk-hood, renunciation of attachments, and the path to "liberation" (gedatsu 解脱). The kesa, of course, is a visible sign of membership in the monastic sangha, which is a "field of merit" (fukuden 福田) because gifts made to it result in much merit for the giver, just as seeds planted in fertile field yield a bountiful crop. Nevertheless, the kesa or "robe" (e 衣) is called "signless" (musō 無相) because the liberation that it is symbolic of is not something that can be identified by any external marks (sō 相, S. nimitta). To don the kesa is to figuratively "wrap oneself" (hibu 披奉) in the "Tathāgata's teachings" (nyorai kyō 如來教). Because the two main functions of clothing are the practical one of protecting the person and the social one of signaling identity and status, this line has a double meaning: (1) to publicly identify oneself as a Buddhist monk by donning the kesa, and (2) to gain personal comfort and protection by accepting the Buddha's teachings. The goal of the Mahayana bodhisattva, however, is not simply to attain liberation (nirvana) for oneself alone, but to "deliver" (do 度) "all living beings" (sho shujō 諸衆生). Thus the suggestion that when donning the vestment of liberation and wrapping oneself in the Buddha's teachings, one should spread that figurative robe so broadly (kō 廣)as to "encompass" all others as well. → "kesa," "field of merit."
The unsurpassed, profound, subtle and wondrous dharma is difficult to encounter, even in a hundred, thousand, million kalpas. Now we see and hear it, and are able to receive and maintain it. We vow to understand the Tathagata's true meaning.
Mujō jin jin mimyō ho 無上甚深微妙法
hyaku sen man go nan so gu 百千萬劫難遭遇
gakon ken mon toku juji 我今見聞得受持
gange nyorai shin jitsugi 願解如來眞實義
We are now able to set out
the Tathagata's oryoki.
May we, together with all living beings,
discern the emptiness of the three wheels.
nyorai o ryōki 如來應量器
gakon toku futen 我今得敷展
gangu is-sai shu 願共一切衆
to san rin ku jaku 等三輪空寂
The oryoki (ōryōki 應量器) used by Soto monks is the largest of a set of four lacquered wooden bowls that nest inside each other and are wrapped in a cloth when not in use. For formal meals in a monastery, each monk/nun unwraps his/her own bowls and arranges them in a row in front of themself. Because the bowls are emblematic of Buddhist monk-hood, they are called the oryoki of the Tathagata (nyorai 如來), meaning the Buddha Shakamuni. Originally, Buddhist monks carried a single bowl and made the rounds of lay households to solicit one meal a day, which was to be taken before noon. Later, monasteries were permitted to store food donated by patrons, cook it in a central kitchen, and serve it in a communal dining hall where the monks would assemble to eat. Even in that setting, however, the monks had to bring their own begging bowls and utensils, and they were enjoined to remember that the food came to them as alms. The "three wheels" (sanrin 三輪) or aspects of giving mentioned here are: (1) the giver, (2) the recipient, and (3) the gift, or (in a variant formula) the act of giving. In Mahayana sutras that explain the "six perfections" (roku haramitsu 六波羅蜜) or practices of the bodhisattva, the first is the perfection of giving (danbaramitsu 檀波羅蜜), which is attained when one can give a gift without clinging to the idea of a giver, recipient, and gift: that is what is meant by "discerning (tō 等) the emptiness (kūjaku 空寂) of the three wheels." ☞ "oryoki," "three wheels,", "perfection of giving."
May be chanted during revolving reading of Great Perfection of Wisdom Sutra (tendoku daihannya 轉讀大般若). The verse is a list of twenty conceptual categories that are declared "empty" (kū 空) in the Great Perfection of Wisdom Sutra (Dai hannya kyō 大般若經). →"twenty empty categories."
We deeply bow our heads to the Most Holy Blessed One,
in the heavens above and this earth below, most revered of two legged beings.
We now, with this water of merit,
bathe the pure dharma body of the Tathagata.
keishu dai sho bagya bon 稽首大聖薄伽梵
ten jo ten ge ryo soku son 天上天下兩足尊
gatō kon iku doku sui 我等今以功徳水
kan yoku nyorai jo hos-shin 灌浴如來淨法身
We now bathe the various tathagatas;
their pure wisdom is adorned with an aggregate of merit.
The five impurities of living beings are rendered free from pollution;
together we bear witness to the pure dharma body of the Tathagata.
gakon kan boku shonyo rai 我今灌沐諸如來
jōchi sho gon kudokuju 淨智莊嚴功徳聚
gojoku shujō rei riku 五濁衆生令離垢
do sho nyorai jo hos-shin 同證如來淨法身
Verse chanted after food is served, before beginning to eat:
First, considering how much effort produced this food, we reflect on its origins.
Second, mindful of the deficiencies of our own virtue and practice, we strive to be worthy of this offering.
Third, we take restraining the mind and avoiding faults such as greed as the essential principle.
Fourth, we use this food properly as good medicine, to keep our bodies from withering away.
Fifth, for the sake of attaining the way, we now receive this food
hitotsu ni wa, kō no tashō wo hakari, kano raisho wo hakaru
futatsu ni wa, onore ga tokugyō no zenketsu wo hakatte, ku ni ōzu
mitsu ni wa, shin wo fusegi, toga wo hanaruru koto wa tontō wo shū to su
yotsu ni wa, masa ni ryōyaku wo koto to suru wa gyōko wo ryōzen ga tame nari
Itsutsu ni wa, jōdō no tame no yue ni, ima kono jiki wo uku
In this verse, monks are asked to reflect on the fact that the food they eat comes to them as donations from lay supporters. If they are not "worthy of offerings" (ōgu 應供), a term that was used in Chinese to translate the Sanskrit arhat, then the gift of food given by the laity will not generate much merit, and accepting it will amount to misappropriation. The most important thing when eating is to avoid "greed, etc." (tontō 貪等), meaning the three principle mental afflictions (bonnō 煩惱, S. kleśa): greed (ton 貪), anger (jin 瞋), and delusion (chi 癡). One should not be motivated by gourmandise or gluttony, but should look upon food as if it were medicine: something necessary to sustain the body as one strives to attain awakening, not something to take pleasure in. The English translation of the third contemplation given here follows the original Chinese. The Japanese rendering used in Soto Zen today contains a grammatical error which, if translated directly into English would read, "Third, as for restraining the mind and avoiding faults, we take greed and the like as the essential principle."
Living beings are limitless; I vow to deliver them.
Mental afflictions are inexhaustible; I vow to cut them off .
Dharma gates are incalculable; I vow to practice them.
The buddha way is unsurpassed; I vow to attain it.
shujō muhen sei gan do 衆生無邊誓願度
bon-no mujin sei gan dan 煩惱無盡誓願斷
ho mon muryō sei gan gaku 法門無量誓願學
butsu do mujō sei gan jo 佛道無上誓願成
This verse expresses the basic vow (seigan 誓願) of the bodhisattva: to attain (jō 成) the way of the buddha (butsudō 佛道), which is awakening, for the sake of delivering (do 度) all living beings (shujō 衆生) from suffering in the round of rebirth. The four vows commit the bodhisattva, in effect, to a never-ending struggle, for there are limitless (numberless) beings to save, inexhaustible mental afflictions (bonnō 煩惱) such as greed, anger, and delusion to cut off (dan 斷), and an inconceivable variety of dharma gates (hōmon 法門), that is, modes of Buddhist study and practice (gaku 學).
A verse chanted at mealtimes when there is a special donation of food from a lay patron:
The two gifts, of wealth and dharma,
are incalculable in their merit.
The perfection of giving
is completed and perfected.
zai ho nise 財法二施
kudoku muryō 功徳無量
dan para mitsu 檀波羅蜜
gusoku en man 具足圓滿
"Wealth" (zai 財) refers to money and material assets and commodities of all kinds. In general, lay donors give material support to the monastic order, which in turn gives the dharma (the Buddhist teachings) to everyone. Both kinds of giving are good deeds that produce a great deal of merit (kudoku 功徳). The "perfection of giving" (danparamitsu 檀波羅蜜, S. dāna-pāramitā) is the first of the six perfections (roku haramitsu 六波羅蜜) or practices of the bodhisattva, which is accomplished when one gives without clinging to the idea that there is a giver, recipient, and gift. ☞ "perfection of giving."
With wholehearted reverence we bow
to the relics of the true body
of the Tathagata Shaka,
who is fully endowed with myriad virtues;
to the dharma body which is the fundamental ground;
and to his stupa, which is the whole universe.
With deep respect we venerate the one
who manifested a body for our sake.
Through the sustaining power of the Buddha,
which enters us even as we enter it,
we verify awakening.
By means of the Buddha's spiritual power,
we benefit living beings,
arouse the thought of awakening,
cultivate bodhisattva practice,
and together enter perfect peace,
the knowledge of the equality of all things.
Now let us reverently bow.
is-shin cho rai 一心頂禮
man toku en man 萬徳圓滿
sha ka nyo rai 釋迦如來
shin jin sha ri 眞身舍利
hon ji hos-shin 本地法心
hok-kai to ba 法界塔婆
ga to rai kyo 我等禮敬
i ga gen shin 以我現身
nyu ga ga nyu 入我々入
butsu ga ji ko 佛加持故
ga sho bo dai 我證菩提
i butsu jin riki 以佛神力
ri yaku shu jo 利益衆生
hotsu bo dai shin 發菩提心
shu bo satsu gyo 修菩薩行
do nyu en jaku 同入圓寂
byo do dai chi 平等大智
kon jo cho rai 今將頂禮
"relics," "stupa," "dharma body."
All things are impermanent:
this is the law of arising and passing away.
When arising and passing away are extinguished,
that extinction is ease.
shogyō mujō 諸行無常
ze shōmetsu hō 是生滅法
shōmetsu metsu i 生滅滅已
jakumetsu i raku 寂滅爲樂
Scattering flowers, we adorn everywhere in the ten directions.
We scatter a mass of jewel flowers, regarding them as a canopy.
Scattering flowers, we adorn everywhere in the ten directions.
We offer them to all the tathagatas.
sange sho gon hen jip-po 散華莊嚴徧十方
sanshu hōke ii cho 散衆寶華以爲帳
sanshu hōke hen jip-po 散衆寶華徧十方
kuyō is-sai shonyo rai 供養一切諸如來
A verse chanted at meals times, in conjunction with ordination as a monk, and various other observances. There are two pronunciations:
Abiding in this world which resembles empty space,
like a lotus flower that touches not the water,
the mind is pure and transcends it.
Maintaining this principle, we bow our heads to the Most Honored One.
shishi kai jiki kun 處世界如虚空 shosei kai nyoko ku
jiren ka fu jashī 如蓮花不著水 nyoren gefu jaku sui
shin shin jo cho ihi 心清淨超於彼 shin sho jo cho ohi
kishu rinbu jo son 稽首禮無上尊 keishu rai bujō son
Lotus plants are rooted in the muck at the bottom of shallow, murky ponds, but their beautiful blossoms rise above the water and are not sullied by it. The lotus flower (renge 蓮花) is thus an apt symbol of the Mahayana bodhisattva, who for the sake of helping living beings remains in the muck of the world (sekai 世界) of birth and death rather than entering nirvana, but whose mind remains pure because he or she realizes the emptiness (kū 空) of all dharmas (phenomena) and thus remains unattached (fujaku 不著) to them. The verse as it now stands derives from the Rules of Purity for Zen Monasteries (Zen'en shingi 禪苑清規), compiled in 1103, but there are sources for it in older Buddhist literature.
I now entirely repent
all the evil actions I have perpetrated in the past,
arising from beginningless greed, anger, and delusion,
and manifested through body, speech, and mind.
gashaku shozō shoaku go 我昔所造諸惡業
kai yu mushi ton jinchi 皆由無始貪瞋癡
ju shin kui shisho sho 從身口意之所生
is-sai gakon kai sange 一切我今皆懺悔
San 懺 means to "regret," "feel remorse," "repent," or "confess sins." Ge 悔 means to "have remorse," "regret," or "repent," but it can also mean something that one regrets, that is, a "mistake," "error," or "crime." Thus, sange can be glossed either as two verb compound meaning "to repent" or as verb object compound meaning "to repent errors." "Evil action" (akugō 惡業) is any action (gō 業, S. karma) performed under the influence of greed, anger, or delusion (tonjinchi 貪瞋癡), which are the three root mental afflictions (bonnō 煩惱, S. kleśa). "Body, speech, and mind" (shinkui 身口意) are the three modes of karma (sangō 三業), i.e. the three ways in which actions may be manifested: physically, verbally, and mentally. According to the Buddhist doctrine of no-self (muga 無我, S. anātman), what we conventionally call "self," "me," or "mine" (ga 我, S. ātman) is really just a bundle of transient phenomena conditioned by past actions. The "evil actions" that one repents are not limited to things done in what is conventionally regarded as one's own "present life," but includes all actions done throughout beginningless time, in all "past lives."
Verse chanted at main meal time (saiji 齋時) (midday meal) in conjunction with an offering of seven grains of rice that monks take from their individual bowls to feed hungry ghosts:
You host of spirits,
I now give you an offering.
This food is given to all spirits
throughout the ten directions.
jiten kijinshu 汝等鬼神衆
gokin suji kyu 我今施汝供
suji hen jihō 此食偏十方
ishi kijin kyu 一切鬼神供
Verse intoned mentally (without being voiced aloud) when pouring off water used to rinse bowls after a meal:
The water I used to wash my bowls
has the flavor of heavenly ambrosia.
I offer it to the host of spirits;
may they all be fully satiated.
gashi sen pas-sui 我此洗鉢水
nyo ten kan romi 如天甘露味
seyo kijinshu 施與鬼神衆
shitsu ryo toku bo man 悉令得飽滿
On makura sai sowaka 唵摩休羅細娑婆訶
Verse chanted when giving bowls to ordinand in ceremony of taking precepts (tokudo shiki 得度式):
Splendid, these alms bowls,
which always hold an accumulation of merit.
I now accept them with reverence
and spread them out to convert living beings.
zen zai hat-tara 善哉鉢多羅
jōji kudokuju 常持功徳聚
gakon cho daiju 我今頂戴受
ten den kegun jo 展轉化群生
Chanted in connection with ceremony of taking precepts (tokudo shiki 得度式):
When bodhisattvas in the round of birth and death
first give rise to the thought of awakening,
their earnest quest for bodhi
is strong and immovable.
The merit of that single thought
is deep, vast, and without limit.
Were the Tathagata to explain it conceptually
he could not exhaust it to the end of time.
bosatsu oshōji 菩薩於生死
saisho hos-shinji 最初發心時
ik-ko gubodai 一向求菩提
kengo fuka do 堅固不可動
hiichi nen kudoku 彼一念功徳
jin ko mugai sai 深廣無涯際
nyorai fun bes-setsu 如來分別説
gu go funō jin 窮劫不能盡
The "single thought" (ichinen 一念) referred to here is "giving rise to the thought of awakening" (hotsu bodaishin 發菩提心), i.e. the bodhisattva's aspiration to attain buddhahood for the sake of all living beings, but ichinen also means "an instant," which is the amount of time it takes for a single thought to occur in the mind. The verse thus draws a contrast between the instantaneous thought of awakening, which produces unlimited "merit" (kudoku 功徳), and "conceptual explanation" (funbetsu setsu 分別説), which relies on discriminatory thought (funbetsu分別) and can drag on forever and still not be able to fully convey the profound consequences of the intention to seek bodhi.
Chanted when giving sitting cloth to ordinand in ceremony of taking precepts (tokudo shiki 得度式):
Splendid, the sitting cloth,
which all buddhas have received and used.
We vow to include all beings
and always sit within its borders.
zen zai nishi dan 善哉尼師壇
shobutsu shoju yu 諸佛所受用
gangu is-saishu 願共一切衆
jōza ogo chu 常坐於其中
Chanted in connection with ceremony of taking precepts (tokudo shiki 得度式).
Splendid, worthy man / worthy woman!
You can comprehend the impermanence of the world.
Abandoning the worldly, you are destined to nirvana.
This is something rare and hard to comprehend.
zen zai dai jōbu/ fujin 善哉大丈夫/夫人
no ryo semu jo 能了世無常
kizokushu nai on 棄俗趣泥洹
keu nan shigi 希有難思議
An expanded version of the threefold refuge (san kie 三歸依), that is, taking refuge in (relying on) the three treasures: buddha, dharma, and sangha.
I take refuge in buddha,
with the prayer that living beings
may embody the great way
and give rise to the highest aspiration.
I take refuge in dharma,
with the prayer that living beings
may enter deeply into the canon,
that ocean of wisdom.
I take refuge in sangha,
with the prayer that living beings
may ensure that the great assembly
is entirely free from hindrances.
jikie butsu 自歸依佛
to gan shujō 當願衆生
taige tai do 體解大道
hotsu mujōi 發無上意
jikie ho 自歸依法
to gan shujō 當願衆生
jin nyu kyo zo 深入經藏
chie nyokai 智慧如海
jikie so 自歸依僧
to gan shujō 當願衆生
tōri daishu 統理大衆
is-sai muge 一切無礙
To "embody" (taige 體解) the "great way" (taidō 大道) means to personally engage in the practice of Buddhism. To "give rise to the highest aspiration" (hotsu mujō i發無上意) is to arouse the thought of awakening (bodaishin 菩提心, S. bodhicitta), meaning the intention to attain buddhahood for the sake of all living beings, which is the first step on the bodhisattva path. The canon (kyōzō 經藏, S. sūtra-piaka) is the collection of sutras that embody the wisdom (chie 智慧, S. prajñā) and teachings (hō 法, S. dharma) of the Buddha, which are said to be vast and deep, "like an ocean" (nyokai 如海). The "great assembly" (daishu 大衆) refers to the order of Buddhist monks and nuns, in general, and those who are resident in a given monastery, in particular. This verse extends the meaning of "sangha" (sō 僧) to include all living beings (shujō 衆生), however, for it invites them to participate in the Buddhist community by entering the bodhisattva path, studying the sutras, and giving material support to the monastics so they will be " free from hindrances" (muge 無礙).
Also called precepts of three refuges (sankikai 三歸戒). Verse for taking refuge in three treasures in connection with ceremony of taking precepts (tokudo shiki 得度式).
Hail refuge in buddha.
Hail refuge in dharma.
Hail refuge in sangha.
I take refuge in buddha, honored as highest.
I take refuge in dharma, honored as stainless.
I take refuge in sangha, honored as harmonious.
I have taken refuge in buddha.
I have taken refuge in dharma.
I have taken refuge in sangha.
namu kie butsu 南無歸依佛
namu kie ho 南無歸依法
namu kie so 南無歸依僧
kie butsu mujō son 歸依佛無上尊
kie ho rijin son 歸依法離塵尊
kie so wagō son 歸依僧和合尊
kie buk-kyō 歸依佛竟
kie ho kyo 歸依法竟
kie so kyo 歸依僧竟
Two verses go by the same name. 1. Verse chanted in connection with ceremony of taking precepts (tokudo shiki 得度式), and in funeral of a lay follower (danshinto sōgi 檀信徒喪儀):
In the round of rebirth in the three realms,
the bonds of love cannot be severed.
To cast off human relations and enter into the unconditioned
is the true repayment of blessings .
ruden san gai chu 流轉三界中
on nai funō dan 恩愛不能斷
kion nyu mui 棄恩入無爲
shin jitsu ho on sha 眞實報恩者
In East Asia (the sphere of Chinese cultural influence), where the influence of Confucian values is strong, children are enjoined to "repay the blessings" (hōon 報恩) bestowed by the parents who gave them life, cared for them in childhood, and continue to aid them in adulthood. That repayment, traditionally, consists of honoring and obeying parents, caring for them in their old age, and making regular offerings of nourishment (kuyō 供養) to their spirits when they have passed on to the afterlife. In the case of sons, in particular, it also means having children (at least one son) to carry on the family line and ensure that there will always be descendants to care for the ancestral spirits. To leave home (shukke 出家) and become a celibate monk, therefore, could be criticized as a selfish, unfilial act that failed to meet one's obligations to one's parents. This verse speaks to that criticism by arguing, as Buddhists in China were wont to do, that becoming a monk and gaining liberation from the round of rebirth is the best and truest way of repaying blessings received from parents and ancestors. ☞ "blessings."
In modern Soto Zen, becoming a monk does not entail celibacy, and most monks are ordained by their own fathers, so the problem that this verse addresses scarcely exists. Indeed, many young men enter the clergy precisely because they feel obligated to succeed their fathers as abbots and care for their parents in old age: if there is no successor to a deceased abbot within his own family, then his widow, children, and grandchildren may not be able to remain in the temple that is their home.
2. Verse chanted whenever shaving (jōhatsu 淨髮), as is done routinely on "4" and "9" days:
In shaving off beard and hair,
we pray that all living beings
should forever be free from mental afflictions
and in the end attain nirvana.
teijo shuhatsu 剃除鬚髮
to gan shujō 當願衆生
yōri bon no 永離煩惱
kugyō jakumetsu 究竟寂滅
The Matter of Birth and Death is Great
Impermanence is Swift
All Be Mindful of This
Take Care Not to Waste Time
shōjiji dai 生死事大
mujō jinsoku 無常迅速
kaku gi shōkaku 各宜醒覺
shin butsu hōitsu 愼勿放逸
May be chanted during revolving reading of Great Perfection of Wisdom Sutra (tendoku daihannya 轉讀大般若).
Dharmas all arise from causes and conditions.
Because they arise from causes and conditions, they have no own-being.
Because they have no own-being, they have no going or coming.
Because they have no going or coming, there is nothing obtained.
Because there is nothing obtained, in the final analysis they are empty.
Because in the final analysis they are empty,
this is called the perfection of wisdom.
Homage to all the three treasures,
incalculable and vast,
which give rise to unsurpassed supreme and perfect awakening.
shohō kaize in-nen sho 諸法皆是因縁生
in-nen sho komuji sho 因縁生故無自性
muji sho komuko rai 無自性故無去來
muko rai komu shotoku 無去來故無所得
musho tokuko hik-kyo ku 無所得故畢竟空
hik-kyo kūko 畢竟空故
zemyō han-nya hara mitsu 是名般若波羅蜜
namu is-sai san bo 南無一切三寶
muryō ko dai 無量廣大
hotsu anoku tara san myaku san bodai 發阿耨多羅三藐三菩提
nōbo bagya batei 納慕跋伽筏帝
haraja hara mita ei 鉢喇壤波羅蜜多曳
shitsu rei ei 室囇曳
shitsu rei ei 室囇曳
shitsu rei ei 室囇曳
shitsu rei ei 室囇曳
sai sowaka 細薩婆訶
The sources of this verse and the accompanying dharani are obscure, but the verse appears to be based on phrases found in the Great Perfection of Wisdom Treatise (Daichidoron 大智度論), a commentary on the Great Perfection of Wisdom Sutra (Dai hannya kyō 大般若經).
Hearing sounds, one awakens to the way;
seeing forms, one illuminates the mind.
When the spiritual mirror is not obscured,
it transcends past and present.
Homage to Kanzeon, of Great Compassion.
mon sho godō 聞聲悟道
ken shiki myo shin 見色明心
rei kan fumai 靈鑑不昧
chōko ek-kin 超古越今
namu daihi kan zeon 南無大悲觀世音
The signal for setting out bowls (tenpatsu 展鉢) at the start of a formal meal is a blow on an octangular wooden block made by a "mallet" (tsui 槌). The great assembly of monks then gassho and chant:
Buddha was born in Kapilavastu,
attained the way in Magadha,
preached the dharma in Vārāνasī,
and entered nirvana in Kuśinagara.
bus-sho kabira 佛生迦毘羅
jo do makada 成道摩掲陀
sep-po harana 説法波羅奈
nyu metsu kuchira 入滅拘絺羅
For a discussion of these four episodes in the traditional life of Shakamuni Buddha and the significance given them in Soto Zen, see ☞ "Shakamuni."
Homage to buddha.
Homage to dharma.
Homage to sangha.
Homage to ancestral teacher bodhisattvas.
namu fudo ya 南無佛陀耶
namu tamo ya 南無達磨耶
namu sugya ya 南無僧伽耶
namu susu bu sa 南無祖師菩薩
(when picking up tooth stick)
Upon grasping the tooth stick,
I pray that all living beings
may attain the true dharma in their minds,
and naturally be pure and clean.
shujū yōji 手執楊枝
to gan shujō 當願衆生
shin toku sho bo 心得正法
jinen sho jo 自然清淨
(when using tooth stick)
Upon chewing the tooth stick at daybreak,
I pray that all living beings
may be able to restrain their teeth
and bite off all mental afflictions.
shin shaku yōji 晨嚼楊枝
to gan shujō 當願衆生
toku cho bukuge 得調伏牙
zeisho bon-no 噬諸煩惱
(when rinsing mouth)
Upon rinsing out the mouth and teeth,
I pray that all living beings
may approach the pure dharma gate
and finally attain liberation.
so so kushi 澡漱口齒
to gan shujō 當願衆生
ko jo ho mon 向淨法門
kugyō gedatsu 究竟解脱
(when washing face)
Upon washing the face with water,
I pray that all living beings
may gain the pure dharma gate
and forever be without defilement.
isui sen men 以水洗面
to gan shujō 當願衆生
toku jo ho mon 得淨法門
yo muku zen 永無垢染
The "tooth stick" (yōji 楊枝) mentioned here is literally a "willow" (yō 楊) "branch" (ji 枝), as prescribed in the Indian Vinaya. Chewing it may have shredded it to make it an effective tool for cleaning the teeth, and some modern scholars have suggested that it had medicinal properties similar to fluoride that could help prevent tooth decay. Buddhist monks in medieval China were aware that the branch of a certain tree was used in India and called it "willow," but they did not know what kind of tree it was (if indeed it even grew in China) and, at least by the Song dynasty (when Dōgen visited China), had given up on using any kind of tooth sticks. Instead, they used medicinal tooth powder (shiyaku 齒藥), rubbed on the teeth and gums by hand and rinsed out with water. Even so, they chanted the preceding verses that speak of chewing a tooth stick. Zen monks today use Western style toothbrushes and toothpaste, and still chant "tooth stick."
Verses chanted at meal times. The "offering of food" (sejiki 施食) refers primarily to donations made to a monastery by lay supporters, although the monks ritually extend those offering to all sentient beings.
• gruel time (shukuji 粥時) (breakfast) verse:
This morning gruel has ten benefits
that richly profit the practitioner.
Its fruit is boundless:
a supreme and lasting ease.
shu yu jiri 粥有十利
nyoi an jin 饒益行人
kohō buhen 果報無邊
kyu kin jo ra 究寛常樂
The "ten benefits" (jūri 十利) are: (1) good physical appearance (shoku 色), (2) strength (riki 力), (3) long life (ju 壽), (4) bodily ease (raku 樂), (5) a clear voice (chōseiben 調清辯), (6) prevention of indigestion (shukushokujo 宿食除), (7) prevention of colds (fūjo 風除), (8) elimination of hunger (kishō 飢消), (9) elimination of thirst (kasshō 渇消), and (10) healthy defecation and urination (daishōben chōteki 大小便調適). "Lasting ease" (jōraku 常樂) refers both to the physical well-being that results from the meal and to the ultimate well-being that is nirvana.
main meal time (saiji 齋時) (midday meal) verse:
This food of three virtues and six flavors
is given to Buddha and his sangha.
May sentient beings throughout the dharma realm
be equally nourished by this offering.
sante rumi 三徳六味
shifu gisun 施佛及僧
hakai ujin 法界有情
fuzun kyun nyo 普同供養
The "three virtues" (santoku 三徳) of food are that it is: (1) light and soft (keinan 輕軟), (2) pure and clean (jōketsu 淨潔), and (3) in accordance with the rules (nyohō 如法), i.e. the dietary restrictions that pertain to alcohol, meat, hot peppers, alliums, etc. The "six flavors" (rokumi 六味) are (1) bitter (ku 苦), (2) sour (saku 醋), (3) sweet (kan 甘), (4) hot (shin 辛), (5) salty (kan 鹹), and (6) bland (tan 淡). The point of this verse is to accept the food that has been donated to the monastic community by lay patrons and to offer (kuyō 供養) it in turn to all sentient beings. It may also be construed as a verse in which the merit produced by donations of food to the sangha is dedicated (ekō 囘向) to all sentient beings.
→"Verse for Donning Kesa."
Same as ☞ "winter retreat."
Literally "tranquil" (an 安) "shelter" (go 居) during the "winter" (tō冬). Also called snow retreat (setsu ango 雪安居) or winter assembly (fuyue 冬會). The ninety day winter retreat, which is held in addition to the ninety day summer or rains retreat (u ango 雨安居, S. varśavāsa) that originated in ancient India, was probably an innovation of the Buddhist monastic order in Central Asia or China. →"retreat."
Literally "without" or "there are no" (mu 無) "words," "logographs," or "letters" (ji 字). Ordinarily a seal (in 印) has one or more logographs (Chinese characters) carved on it. The metaphorical "seal of the buddha-mind" is said to be "without letters" because the mind or awakening of the Buddha cannot be conveyed in words.
Although there is good reason to speak of the "Zen school" as a distinct branch of the Buddhist tradition of Japan, there has never been any organized social or institutional entity bearing that name. At present, there are twenty-two comprehensive religious corporations (hōkatsu shūkyō hōjin 包括宗教法人) registered with the Japanese government that are recognized as belonging to the Zen tradition (Zenkei 禪系). These include: the Soto School (Sōtōshū 曹洞宗); fifteen separate corporations that identify themselves as branches (ha 派) of the Rinzai lineage (Rinzaishū 臨濟宗); the Ōbaku School (Ōbakushū 黃檗宗); and five small corporations that have splintered off from the Soto and Rinzai organizations. Each of the twenty-two Zen denominations has a number of temples affiliated with it, ranging from 14,664 in the Soto School to 3,389 in the Myōshinji branch of the Rinzai lineage (Rinzaishū Myōshinjiha 臨濟宗妙心寺派), 455 in the Ōbaku School, a few hundred in the smaller Rinzai denominations, and just a handful in the smallest of the corporations (all data from Bunkachō 文化廳, ed., Shūkyō nenkan 宗教年鑑, 2003 Edition).
One thing that clergy affiliated with all the Zen denominations in Japan hold in common is the belief in a Zen lineage (Zenshū 禪宗) of dharma transmission said to have been founded by the Buddha Shakamuni, established in China by the Indian monk Bodaidaruma, and subsequently transmitted to Japan by numerous Japanese and Chinese monks. During the Kamakura period (1185-1333) and the two decades immediately following, by one account, some twenty-four separate branches (ryūha 流派) of the Zen lineage were established in Japan. By another reckoning, there were forty–six individual transmissions of the Zen dharma to Japan, beginning with Myōan Eisai 明庵榮西 (1141-1215) in 1191 and extending down to the Chinese monks Ingen (C. Yinyuan 隱元,1592–1673) and Shinetsu (C. Xinyue 心越, 1639–1696), who came to Japan in 1654 and 1677, respectively, and established the so-called Ōbaku lineage (Ōbakushū 黃檗宗). At present, however, all Zen clergy trace their own lineages of dharma inheritance back to China through only two men: (1) Nanpo Jōmyō 南浦紹明 (1235-1308), a.k.a. Daiō Kokushi, founder of the Daiō branch (Daiōha 大應派) of Rinzai Zen; and (2) Dōgen Kigen 道元希玄 (1200-1253), founder of the Dōgen branch (Dōgenha 道元派) of Soto Zen. All the other branches of the Zen lineage that flourished in the past are said to have died out, having failed at some point to produce any more dharma heirs.
Most of the Zen denominations in Japan operate training monasteries in which the bureaucratic structures, ritual calendars, and modes of practice are modeled after those found in the leading Buddhist monasteries of Song (960-1279) and Yuan (1280-1368) dynasty China. Those institutional forms were first imported into Japan in the Kamakura period, chiefly (but not exclusively) by the same monks who transmitted the Zen lineage. Texts containing the religious lore of the Zen lineage in China - genealogies of dharma transmission, biographies of Zen masters, records of their discourses, and koan collections - were also brought to Japan at that time, and have been handed down to the present within the various denominations as the common heritage of the Zen school.
The 2nd, 7th, 12th, 17th, 22nd, and 27th days of every month.
The 3rd, 13th, and 23rd days of every month. In training monasteries, these are days for cleaning and recitation of buddha names.
The 3rd, 8th, 13th, 18th, 23rd, and 28th days of every month.
The 4th, 9th, 14th, 19th, 24th, and 29th days of every month. In training monasteries, these are days for bathing, tonsure, mending clothes, and moxa.
The 8th, 18th, and 28th days of every month. In training monasteries, these are days for cleaning and recitation of buddha names.