OF ZEN BUDDHIST TERMINOLOGY
Foreword and Acknowledgments / 9
Introductory remark / 11
Preface / 15
Dictionary / 23
Addenda / 162
The historical Buddha / 162
The hierarchy of clerics in the Soto school of Zen / 164
Bibliography / 167 All rights reserved Dictionary of Zen Buddhist terminology Part One: from a- tokProf. Dr. Kamil V. Zvelebil, CSc. © Kamil V. Zvelebil, 2003 © TRITON, 2003 Cover © Renata Ryšlavá, 2003 Published by TRITON, s. r. o., Vykáňská 5, 100 00 Praha 10, www.triton-books.cz ISBN 80-7254-438-1
Foreword and Acknowledgments
As stated below, it would probably be more to the point
to entitle the following work ,glossary‘ rather than ,dic-
tionary‘ (a term which seems to me to be too pretentious). Also, the term ,glossary‘ points, at least to my
mind, more precisely to the purpose of the work: to be
a handy, ready-to-use aid to those who practice Zen
Buddhism rather than a detailed work destined forscholars to study.
I am in the first place indebted to Madame Giselle TATOUAT who has taken care, with infinite patience, of the editorial and technical side of the work, typing out every single item, after having discussed it with me, and sending it off to Japan for control.
I can hardly express in adequate words my gratitude to Daitsu Tom WRIGHT of Kyoto. He has taken up every single entry for critical perusal, added innumerable comments, discussed some of the items with Zen monks and scholars in Japan, offered wise advice as well assevere admonitions wherever deserved. Without Daitsu Tom this work could have never been accomplished.
Needless to say that I am most grateful to thepublisher, Dr Stanislav JUHANAK of TRITON publications in Prague, for his eager willingness to publish this work, and to the members of the staff of the publishing house Triton.
The original plan was to compile an exhaustivedictionary of Zen Buddhist terms, in English, Pali, Sanskrit,
Chinese, Korean and Japanese. It was found that this
task is beyond the capacities of an individual. A whole
team of Zen Buddhist scholars would be necessary to
bring out such work, and, in addition, to include terms
from such languages as Vietnamese, or such usage as
e.g. the contemporary American English usage. Hence,
what is offered here for simple daily use of practitioners is a basic and indispensable „pocket“ glossary
of Zen Buddhist terms in Pali (Pa), Sanskrit (Skt),Chinese (C), Japanese (J) and Korean (K), with theemphasis on Japanese, and in English (E). The sequence of
entries is in the English alphabetic order. No personal
names (of people, deities, bodhisattvas etc.) and nonames of texts or literary works have been included.
A distinction is not made between the usage of the three
Japanese Zen Buddhist schools, Obaku, Rinzai and Soto,
unless the difference is really striking. Apart from abbreviations for the languages, few additionalabbreviations are used: B = Buddhist, MB = Mahayana Buddhist,
TB = Theravada Buddhist, R = Rinzai, S = Soto. Words
in original languages are included in „broad“, i.e.Anglicized transcription, bearing in mind the usage ofpractitioners who are not familiar with the diacritics and other
Because of its nature as a sort of ,pocket‘ aid topractitioners, I prefer to have it published in two relatively
slender volumes, one containing entries from a- to k-,
the other entries from l- to z-.
I am of course fully responsible for any errors,ommissions, and inadequaces occurring in the text.
Dosho Kamil V. Zvelebil
10 DICTIONARY OF ZEN BUDDHIST TERMINOLOGY
treatises on Son (Zen, KVZ) praxis and collections of
Son lore. Most began their meditation training only after
they were steeped in the basic teachings of Buddhism.
Many had several years of study in the seminary behind them before they even considered startingmeditation; as one monk told me, an infant must learn to
crawl before it tries to walk, and so too must monksstudy before they begin to meditate“.
Although I stressed the fact that this dictionary was
indispensable for those who are engaged in Zen Buddhist practice, I certainly do not exclude thepossibility of using this work by those who read or study about
Zen Buddhism, or, in fact, those who are interested in
Buddhism generally, as well as Buddhist scholars (so
called „Buddhologists“, a term I dislike).
markings of the original languages. Length of vowels is
indicated by double vowels.
While working on this dictionary, I was muchinspired by the belief of the great modern Korean Zenmaster Suryon Kusan Sunim (1908–1983) that „a scholarly
career was a viable vocation of a Buddhist in the West,
which does not yet have the developed monastictraditions so necessary for a celibate lifestyle“
Also, by what Robert E.Buswell, Jr., writes in hisvery valuable book on Korean Buddhism: „Perhaps the
most fundamental self-definition of the Zen school reeated ad infinitum in Western literature – so fundamental that it is often made to constitute a virtual root
paradigm of the Zen tradition – is the famous four-line
aphorism attributed to Bodhidharma...: Zen is ,a special
transmission of Buddhism distinct from the teachings,
which is not dependent on words and letters.‘ Taking
the statement at face value, many Western writersdeict Zen Buddhism as radically bibliophobic andadvocate that doctrinal understanding has no place in Zen
training. But would such a reading be correct?... Most
Korean monks training in the meditation hall haveextensive knowledge of Buddhist doctrine, ranging frombasic „Hiinayaana“ and Mahaayaana suutras, to theoretical
12 DICTIONARY OF ZEN BUDDHIST TERMINOLOGY
Robert E. Boswell, Jr., The Zen Monastic Experience, Princeton
University Press, 1992, p.95.
The compiler of the dictionary, Dosho-san (Dr. K. V. Zvelebil) has
received Buddhist precepts in the ceremony of zaike tokudo on
the 4th day of the 9th month of the 1st year of Era Heisei
(4. 9. 1989) from Ven. Yuho Hosokawa and Ven.Shohaku Okumura
at Taiheizan Sosenji in Kyoto, Japan. Dosho-san is a formerprofessor of Indian studies at the Universities of Prague, Heidelberg,Chicago, Utrecht and the Colle`ge de France. He has translated into his
native Czech Kosho Uchiyama Roshi’s Open the Hand of Thought
(1993; Czech version 2000), and teaches as visiting professor at
Charles University in Prague (lectures on Zen Buddhism etc.).
It is perhaps of advantage and necessity to give at this
place a survey – as brief and as simple as possible – of the
basic doctrinal background of all types of Zen Buddhism;
in other words, a very brief survey of Mahayana Buddhist
Let me begin this survey with a quotation from the well-known classic, Aldous Huxley’s The PerennialPhilosophy
: „The last end of man, the ultimate reason for
human existence, is unitive knowledge of the divine
Ground – the knowledge that can come only to those
who are prepared to ,die to self‘... Out of any givengeneration of men and women very few will achieve the
final end of human existence; but the opportunity forcoming to unitive knowledge will, in one way or another,
continually be offered until all sentient beings realize
Who in fact they are.“ This is nearly in full agreement
with the doctrines of Mahayana Buddhism.
„The Absolute Ground of all existence has apersonal aspect... Mahayana Buddhism“ (proceeds Huxley) „teaches these same metaphysical doctrines“ (as Hinduism and Christianity, KVZ) „in terms of the ,Three Bo- 1) London, Chatto and Windus, 1957, pp.28 ff.