Technical terms in Zen

The layman who takes part in a zazen meeting for the first time gets embarrassed. This comes from the fact that there is a specific use of words in Zen. Therefore, those who intend to participate would like to look at the following words. Knowing the meaning of these terms is important.


Banka evening service, reading sutras.


Choka morning service, reading sutras.
Chukai Originally it means to loosen the cowl and kesa. It means the pauses between the ?? ¨Shijo of two zazen, where the strict posture can be dissolved.


Densu The office of those who are responsible for the administration and order of the Buddha hall and the main hall. The quarters of the densu are called densuryo.
Dojo place for training, for ?? ¨Shugyo.
Training center for Zen practice or Japanese martial arts.
Dokusan Individually voluntary ?? ¨Sanzen. A student speaks to ?? ¨Roshi alone in order to independently present the interpretation of ?? ¨Koan.


Fukusu cloth to wrap the bowls and bowls.


Gassho fold your hands. The expression of being there with all your heart.
All kinds of discourses of Zen. Works in verse that extol the founders of Zen, i.e. the patriarchs, and monks of great virtue.
Gyojuzaga walking-standing-sitting-lying. The movements of everyday life go through four paths, these are called ?? ¨Shiigi.


Handaikan The office of serving the meal, in rotation.
Hankafuza Half Lotus Position. The left foot on the right thigh.
Hojo The tradition that Buddha’s disciple Vimalakirti lived in a room in which the sides (Ho) were about 2.5m (a jo) long gives the temple building where the main priest lives this name. The main hall of a temple can also be called a hojo.


Ino leader of the monks’ assembly. He begins reciting the sutra, after which the crowd joins in, and he reads the praises alone.
Inryo The residence of the ?? ¨Shike or the elder.
Intoku Strive for low, unpleasant work in secret and acquire virtue yourself on the basis of this. The often hated toilet cleaning is one of them.
Isshu The character “shu” is used to count incense sticks. Today it is used as a measure of time in zazen; it takes about 45 minutes to burn a stick.


Jihatsu Your own bowls that you wrap in a cloth and carry with you. They are unpacked at the dining table, used, washed and wrapped up again.
Jikido The dining room.
Jikijitsu jurisdiction for the day. The office of regulating everyday life, taking care of the maintenance of the house and equipment and directing all work. The Jikijitsu is in charge of the zendo and directs the zazen.
Juki The soup container for miso soup etc.
Read Jukyo sutras, in silence or aloud.
Junkei Jundokeisei. Walking around in ?? ¨Zendo with ?? ¨Keisaku to correct those who show negligence or drowsiness.


Kaichin Spread out the bedding for bed, then sleep.
Kaihan The time of day is communicated by hitting the wooden board hanging by the zendo.
Kaijo Get up, start the day.
Kaiyoku opening of the bath. In Zen temples there is a washing and bathing day every five days, on the days with a 4 or a 9 in the date.
Kankin Silently read Buddhist scriptures and sutras. See the words with your eyes, receive the teaching with your heart.
Kannazen Due to the discourse of the disciple with the ?? ¨Koan, one koan after the other, the ?? ¨Sanzen of ?? ¨Roshi and disciple are at the center of the practice, which is supposed to lead on the path to enlightenment. This is the style of Rinzai-Zen, the method of Soto-Zen is called ?? ¨Mokushozen.
Kanto leader while eating. The head of the ?? ¨Handaikan.
Kato means: hang on the hook. If you are new to the monastic community in order to sit down for a certain period of time for training, you first hang your robe and robe on the hook above the mat, which from then on will be your bedroom and living room.
Keisaku A stick, as a measure to encourage and warn. Called Kyosaku in Soto Zen.
Kenge judgment and interpretation of ?? ¨Koan, from an independent point of view.
Kensho Seeing through the original nature of oneself clearly, the enlightenment.
Kentan The ?? ¨Shike or also the ?? ¨Jikijitsu makes the rounds in the zendo and checks the posture in zazen.
Kinhin Walk slowly around a fixed place. In zazen, from time to time you get up from sitting, hold your hands in ?? ¨Shashu and walk still. This in order to prevent drowsiness and to allow the exhausted legs to recover.
Koan The problem assigned to the practitioner by the ?? ¨Roshi.
Koban Stand for setting up incense sticks, which are used to determine the duration of zazen.
Kosoku old guidelines. Words, sayings, guidelines and explanations left by Zen Patriarchs and eminent personalities. Used in Zen as a reference material for discussion.
Kukyu waitresses while eating. Those who serve are called Handaikan.


Mokushozen While the style in Rinzai is called ¨Kannazen, in Soto one speaks of Mokushozen. Silently absorbed in zazen, there emerges the spiritual work of the mind.


Nibenorai Leaving the zendo to go to the toilet. This is done during the ?? ¨Chukai. ?? B


Roshi Short form of the title Rodaishi, which means great old teacher. Old refers to great experience.


Saba rice donated to the world of spirits and demons, but no more than seven grains.
Sabaki container to collect the ?? ¨Saba from the dining table.
Saiki The container for canned vegetables etc.
Saiza Lunch
Samu Means to fulfill the duty, to do the service. The daily work in ?? ¨Sodo.
Sanmokudo The “three halls of silence” are the ¨Zendo, the dining room and the bath. Unnecessary exchanges are not allowed there.
Sanno The servant of the ?? ¨Shike, also called Inji.
Sanzen Go to the room of the ?? ¨Shike and the ?? ¨Kenge put forward the interpretation of a problem. Also Nisshitsusanzen.
Sarei Originally a tea drink in the Zen temple as an act of politeness. A distinction is made between Sosarei, where everyone gathers, and Yakuisarei, where those who are responsible for an office meet.
Sesshin Gathering the mind and not dispersing it. In Zen, sesshin means a period of time over a certain period in which zazen is continuously done day and night. In ?? ¨Sodo, a sesshin usually lasts seven days.
Sessuiki The container intended for the leftovers of the food and the remaining water. Strictly speaking, it is the container for the water that is left over from washing the ?? ¨Jihatsu, but half of it is drunk.
Shashu Place your hands on top of each other in front of your chest, keeping the left outside and the right inside, like covering the chest without touching. Keep your elbows horizontal.
Shiigi The four forms of daily existence, ?? ¨Gyojuzaga.
Shijo The period of time during which one is required to be quiet during zazen.
Shika The office of receiving guests and arranging business.
Shikantaza To pursue in zazen without intent, from the point of view where there is no pursuit of virtue or enlightenment, devote yourself solely to sitting.
Shike The highest leader the student can connect with, the ?? ¨Roshi.
Shoji The person responsible for the service at the ?? ¨Shoso, as well as generally caring in the ?? ¨Zendo, also called Jisha.
Shoken Formal waiting for the practitioner at the ?? ¨Shike.
Shoso The Holy Monk. The figure encased in the zendo, usually the statue of Monju Bosatsu, symbolizing wisdom.
Shugyo training of the heart. Steel your mind.
Shukuza morning meal.
Shuya The night round before going to bed. The person in charge goes around all the buildings outside to check that all doors are properly locked and to prevent fires and that there are no more fires burning. He does this while singing the mantra of the patron god of the night and hitting a large wooden rattle.
Sosan General Sanzen. As soon as the bell sounds as a sign, all practitioners of ?? ¨Sodo go to ?? ¨Sanzen in the room of ?? ¨Shike.
Sorin Synonymous with ?? ¨Sodo.
Sodo The settlement where the monks live together. A ?? ¨Dojo that is exclusively intended for ?? ¨Shugyo. The Zen monastery.
Susokukan Counting the breath during zazen. This method of observing yourself carefully is aimed at calming the mind.


Tan Tan means a unit. A monk’s individual place in the zendo is called a tan. Usually the size of a tatami mat is considered a tan. Tanpyo is a wooden plaque that is now hung over the tan with the name on it.
Teisho Lecture, teaching the Zen way. The ?? ¨Shike, addressed to the practitioner, takes up words from earlier patriarchs or from the ?? ¨Kosoku to provide guidance on the Zen path.
Tenzo The office of the cook.
Tosu toilets.


Unsui The monk in training, the Zen apprentice. Abbreviation for kounryusui, which means: moving clouds, flowing water. This metaphor indicates indifferent and nowhere, like clouds and water, longing for the true master of this world. One also says “unno”, or, if there are several, one says “daishu”.


Yakuseki Yaku stands for medicine, Seki stands for stone and means needles made of stone for healing treatment. Yakuseki is a term for medicine as well as for the therapy of illness. In Zen, this is what dinner is called.
Yaza zazen at night. After the kaichin secretly leave the zendo to do zazen of your own accord “under a tree on a stone”.


Zafu A round pillow that you can put under your buttocks to sit better. Used in Soto Zen. In the Rinzai, either the tanbuton, the mattress of a ?? ¨Tan, is folded and laid out, or a longitudinal buttock pad is used.
Zen Comes from the Sanskrit word Dhyana, became Channa in China and Zenna in Japan, the short form Zen being the usual. Bringing the heart into balance and harmony, and looking to the true ground of things. Also ?? ¨Zenjo.
Zendo The hall for Zen practice, i.e. where you do zazen.
Zenjo The word “Zen”, from Sanskrit, added to the Chinese word “jo” for determination. Zazen in deep immersion, where I and you, object and subject are one.