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Zen Glossary

Here are some Buddhist terms used in this web site.  some of them, such as Nirvana, are in common use, but are usually used incorrectly.

Bodhisattva
An enlightened being that selflessly works to help others.  Guanyin (Chenrezig in Tibetan, Kanon in Japanese) is a Bodhisattva.

Buddha
A fully enlightened being.

Kuanyin. Kannon in Japanese,
Chenrezig in Tibetan.
The bodhisattva of compassion
The statue above is from Japan,
but in a fairly Chinese style.

Ch'an ()
Chinese for Zen

dhyana
Pali for Zen

dharma
Many meanings, but the most common in Buddhism is: the Buddhist teachings

duhkha
Suffering, including the very subtle but powerful suffering for awareness that the commonly perceived reality is bogus.

karma
Mental imprints created by the volitional thoughts and acts of a deluded mind.

koan ()
Kungan in Chinese.  Sometimes referred to as Zen riddles. A short "problem" assigned by a Zen master to a student.  The student meditates on it to break thorough their reliance on logic.  More here

zendo ()
Meditation Room.
Above is the zendo at
Yun Men's Monastery

Mahayana
Literally, Great Wheel Buddhism also known as the Northern School.  Zen is part of the Mahayana school

nirvana
Enlightenment.  The extinction of the flame of desire and therefore the extinction of suffering.

samsara
The repetitive cycle of birth, death and rebirth to which all unenlightened beings are condemned.

satori ()
A momentary flash of enlightenment/insight

zazen ()
Seated meditation.  A core practice of Zen

zen () See, what is Zen?

 

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