Glossary of Zen Words

daisan - private interview between teacher and student for examining correct practice

dharma - The living truth, the universal teaching

gatha - verse

gassho - raising the hands with palms together as an expression of respect, gratitude, humility, or all three

han - a wooden implement used as a signal

jisha - attendant

jitsu - supervisor of the zendo who assists the teacher

koan - a perplexing paradox that points to ultimate truth

kin-hin - walking meditation

karma - the process of cause and effect

monitor - person who helps maintain zendo discipline

oryoki - the formal meal in the zendo

roshi - master teacher

samu - work practice

sensei - teacher

sangha - the Zen community

seiza bench - small bench on which to sit

sesshin - a Zen retreat

shikan-taza - just sitting

shippei - the Sensei’s teaching stick

sutras - scriptures

Tathagata - the “thusness” of the enlightened state; another name for Buddha

teisho - talk on the Dharma; Dharma Talk

tenzo - cook; person in charge of food

zazen - sitting meditation

zazenkai - all-day sitting

zabuton - mat on which one places the zafu or bench

zafu - pillow on which one sits

zendo - meditation hall

zenji - great or revered master