Banka 晩課 Evening sutra chanting, literally “evening lesson”. Sometimes the term “service” 諷経 fugin is added to banka or chōka.
Chōka 朝課The morning sutra chanting service, literally “morning lesson”.
Densu 殿司 The person charged with waking the other jōjū officers in the morning, leading the chanting services and other ceremonies, and cleaning the ritual halls.
Dokusan 獨參 Individual meeting with the teacher. In the Rinzai-ji tradition most of the meetings with the rōshi are called sanzen, which is synonymous with dokusan.
Donai 堂内 Literally “inside the hall”; refers primarily to the students and officers in the zendō.
Eko 回向 The dedication chanted after reciting a sutra or text, usually to a certain person or group.
Fūsu 副司 The temple officer in charge of financial affairs.
Fūzui 副隨 The fūsu’s assistant, in charge of financial affairs and miscellaneous matters.
Gyōdō 行道 Sutra chanting while walking in step and single file inside the ceremony hall or zendō.
Han 板 A thick wooden board hung in front of the zendō; one of the narashimono used to signal times.
Handaikan 飯台看 The servers during formal meals. The densu trains and supervises the servers since the dining hall is his/her responsibility.
Hanka fuza 半跏趺坐 The half-lotus position.
Hashin kyūji 把針灸治 Literally “to grasp the needle, to treat with moxa.” Hashin kyūji is the day before sesshin during which the students can rest, repair clothes, and treat illnesses.
Inji 隱侍 The rōshi’s attendant.
Inkin 引磬 The handbell used by the jikijitsu to signal the beginning and ending of meditation, and for other miscellaneous purposes.
Ino 維那 The person who leads chanting during a service.
Jikijitsu 直日 Timekeeper, the senior student/monk in charge of meditation in the zendō.
Jisha 侍者 The senior student/monk in charge of caring for the students of the zendō; his/her duties include maintaining the zendō’s main image (usually Manjusri), serving tea, and caring for the sick. In the Rinzai-ji tradition we use the term shōji.
Jōjū 常住 The administrative section of the monastery and its officers, as opposed to the zendō, or dōnai.
Jokei 助警 A junior officer in the zendō helping the jikijitsu. During retreats there are two, one for the jikijitsu side of the zendō, one for the tantō side.
Jokō 助香 The main helper of the jikijitsu who switches the leading position in the on alternating days during retreats.
Kaichin 開枕 Bedtime at the monastery, marked by a short sutra-chanting. In urban practice the closing of the zendō.
Kaihan 開板 Striking of the han. This is done to signal specific times, for example in the morning at dawn, or at night during the kaichin ceremony.
Kaijō 開靜 Morning wake-up at the monastery.Literally “to open the silence”, i.e. samadhi.
Kanshō 喚鐘 The small hanging bell rung by the students to signal entrance to the master’s room during sanzen.
Keisaku 警策 The “warning stick,” used to encourage students during zazen.
Kekka fuza 結跏趺座 The full lotus position.
Kentan 檢單 The formal checking of the sitting students in the zendō by the rōshi or the jikijitsu staff.
Kesa 袈裟 The Buddhist liturgical robe usually translated as “surplice.” It is the stylized form of the original Indian Buddhist robe, worn around the body, over the left shoulder and under the right shoulder.
Kinhin 經行 Walking meditation.
Kōan 公案 Literally it means public plan, proposal. It refers to the zen “problem” that the master assigns to the student. The understanding of the student is tested by the master during sanzen.
Narashimono 鳴物 The various sound-producing instruments (bells, clappers, gongs) used to signal the times for various activities.
Nitten sōji 日天掃除 The daily cleaning done inside and outside the monastery.
Oshō 和尚 Title bestowed on a monk/nun who has completed their training and undergone suiji-shiki, the Temple Dharma Transmission ceremony. In the Rinzai-ji tradition a teacher of his/her own right, empowered to ordain others and transmit the Temple Dharma lineage.
Rakusu 絡子 The smallest style of kesa, shaped like a bib and worn around the neck.
Rōhatsu 臘八 The severest sesshin of the monastic year, commemorating the enlightenment of the Buddha. It is usually held early in December.
Rōshi 老師 The Zen monastic master.
Saba 生飯 A few morsels of food set aside at the beginning of meals to the hungry ghosts.
Samu 作務 “Work” in the formal practice, a part of training equally important to zazen.
Sanzen 參禪 Formal meditation study with a Zen master. More specifically, the private meetings between master and disciple in which the master instructs the disciple in meditation.
Sarei 茶礼 Occasions when tea is served, both on formally and informally. The closing ceremony at the end of an evening includes sarei.
Seikan 制間 The monastic off-season.
Seichū 制中 The monastic training season or training period. Mt. Baldy Zen Center offers two periods yearly, Summer and Winter seichū.
Sesshin 攝心 or 接心 Meditation retreats, generally lasting one week.
Shijō 止靜 The time between the beginning and end of a period of meditation, when silence must be maintained and no moving is permitted.
Shika 知客 The head monk in charge of the administrative section of the monastery, and whose duties involve meeting guests.
Shōji 聖侍 Synonymous with jisha, Tea Server.
Shukin 手巾 The belt that monks and nuns wear around their waist.
Sōsan 総參 Formal sanzen during which the shika rings the kanshō and the monks meet the rōshi in order of rank.
Sōzarei 総茶禮 A formal sarei that all students are required to attend. Usually held before important affairs.
Taku 柝木 Wooden clappers.
Takuhatsu 托鉢 Monastic begging rounds.
Tan 單 A meditation platform in a zendō. Usually there are two or three: the jikijitsu tan(the tan to the left as you enter the front of the zendō), tanto tan (the tan to the right as you enter the front of the zendō), naka tan (an auxiliary tan between the jikijitsu tan and the tanto tan). The sitting order on the tan reflects the seniority of ordained as well as students. In some setting there are no tan available and the cushions are set on the floor.
Tantō 單頭 The highest ranking monk/nun in the zendō, seated at the “head” of the tan.
Teishō 提唱 The rōshi’s dharma lecture, usually on a kōan, a Zen text, or a sutra.
Tenzo 典座 The cook.
Tokudo 得度 To be ordained as a monk or nun.
Unsui 雲水 Literally “clouds and water”; a Zen monk in training.
Yaza 夜坐 also 夜座 Literally “night sitting”; private zazen done after kaichin.
Zagu 坐具 also 座具 The rectangular “sitting cloth,” used during ceremonies at the time of ritual prostrations, to keep the kesa from touching the ground.
Zazen 座禅 also 坐禅 The seated meditation, including all aspects such as posture, breathing, mental activity and so on.
Zendō 禪堂 also 禅堂 A Zen meditation hall.