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Notes on Crooked Cucumber - End Matter

Notes on the Text and Pronunciation

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Notes on the Text

and Pronunciation


For years I inquired about the Japanese term for "crooked cucumber," imagining the full-sized fruit, as suggested in the Introduction (P. xiii), and finding only the literal *magatta kyuri. After the book came out, Hoitsu Suzuki said he remembered that in his youth he had heard old people (though not his father) use another term: *hebo kyuri, signifying the tiny, runty, useless, weird, bent cucumber at the coiling tip of the vine (the vine as is represented in the typographical ornament used in this book). That may well be it.

 The quotes at the beginning of sections and all unascribed quotes are from Shunryu Suzuki and are not chronologically exact. Quotes have been edited without indication of omissions or additions.

 Macrons (long marks over extended vowels in Japanese and Sanskrit words) are not used here except in the glossary. In a few cases the vowel is doubled to indicate pronunciation.


 For notes on the text, interviews, list of characters, maps, and other material, see <>.



          Approximate Japanese pronunciation:

 a is similar to the a in father

 i is similar to the ea in eat

 u is similar to the oo in look

 e is similar to the e in egg

 o is similar to the o in go (said quickly)

          From An Introduction to Modern Japanese

          by Osamu and Nobuko Mizutani, Japan Times, Ltd., 1977. 


*Sumi circle on previous page was drawn by Shunryu Suzuki.





This book is the result of the kind, attentive, and considerable contributions of many people over the past five and a half years. First I extend my most sincere gratitude to the family of Shunryu Suzuki for their total support and for giving of their time so generously whenever they were asked. Endless thanks to Mitsu Suzuki for numerous interviews with me and others and for personally asking people to help me; to Hoitsu and *Chitose Suzuki for being gracious hosts at Rinso-in in Yaizu and to Hoitsu Suzuki for arranging interviews and continually helping me in many ways; to Yasuko (Suzuki) *Oishi, *Tatsusan (rip) and Aiko (Suzuki) Uchiyama; and in San Francisco to Otohiro and *Mitsuyo Suzuki.

 I would particularly like to thank my wife, Elin Chadwick, for her unfailing support, long hours of work through the years, and excellent advice; Michael Katz, my agent and friend, who has guided me through this project with utmost patience and skill; Michael Wenger and Bill Redican of the San Francisco Zen Center for all they have done to make this book possible; Bill Schwob for years of help with photography and photos in America and Japan; Liz Tuomi for years of transcribing; and Fred Harriman for so much of his time, skill with Japanese language, and knowledge of Japanese culture and history.

 I am also deeply indebted to the following people for all they have done and apologize that there is not space to adequately give them the credit and praise that they deserve. To all of you, and to some whom I have surely neglected, I offer nine bows.

For extensive help with editing: Elin Chadwick, Michael Katz, *Jisho Cary Warner, Linda Hess, Holly Hammond, Bill Redican, Carol Williams, and Charlie Conrad of Broadway Books.

For other editing, corrections, and suggestions upon reading the manuscript or parts of it: Richard Baker (especially for his work on editing Suzuki quotes), Ed Brown, Ananda Dalenberg, Arthur Deikman, Mike Dixon, Della Goertz, Daya Goldschlag, Janet Goldstein, Bob Halpern, Silas Hoadley, Wako Kato, Bill Lane, Taigen Dan Leighton, Gwynn (Catterton) O'Gara, Koshin Ogui, Grahame Petchey, Pauline Petchey, Louise Pryor, Yvonne Rand, Lew Richmond, Angie Runyon, Peter and Jane Schneider, Albert Stunkard, John Tarrant, Steve Tipton, Betty Warren, Mel Weitsman, Dan Welch, Michael Wenger, Phillip Wilson, and Marian (Derby, Mountain) Wisberg.

To *Yuki Ishimatsu, librarian for Japanese reference services at UC Berkeley, for frequent assistance; Kirk Rhodes for all the help in Yaizu; Harry Ransom Rose for generously answering so many questions about his adoptive mother, Nona Ransom; Grahame Petchey, *Hideko Petchey, Mark Petchey, and Pauline Petchey for all sorts of help; *Toshikazu Yasui for Japanese weather reports and details on Shoganji; and Elsie Mitchell for letters and more.

For scholarly information and suggestions: Carl Bielefeldt, Jeff Broadbent, Angelika Cedzich, Rick Fields (rip), Richard Jaffe, Wako Kato, Taigen Dan Leighton, *Shohaku Okamura and *Taiken Yokoyama of the Soto Zen Education Center of North America, Peter Schneider, Frank Joseph Shulman, Kazuaki Tanahashi, Philip Yampolsky (rip), and Brian Victoria, who commented on the sections about Shunryu Suzuki and Japan's militaristic period, with thanks for his skeptical tolerance of my unscholarly narrative method.

For translation of interviews: Carl and *Fumiko Bielefeldt for simultaneous translation on tape and Fred Harriman for written translation of the Schneider interviews and of his own; *Kyoko Furuhashi for translating her own interviews and to her and *Shizuko Takatsuka for translating my Japan interviews of 1993 and *Kaz Tanahashi's interviews with Mitsu Suzuki; *Takayo Harriman and Hideko Petchey for additional translation assistance.

For transcribing: Liz Tuomi, Jose Escobar, Layla Bockhorst, Bill Redican, Gary Brandt, and, in years past, Brian Fikes, Katherine Thanas, Barry Eisenberg, Tom Cabarga, and others.

For work on or assistance with audio tapes of Suzuki-roshi lectures and various interviews: Mark Watts, Bill Redican, Jim Wheeler, Peter Schneider, Michael Katz, Tony Johnson, Mike Dixon, Emma Bragdon, Michael Wenger, Howard Hammerman, Dan Gurley, Stan Jacox, and *Kenji Muro.

For photos: Bill Schwob for his and Raymond Rimmer's copy photos of archival photos, Pat McFarlin for the front cover photo, Tim Buckley for the back cover photo, Robert Schilling for the author photo. For providing historical photos of Shunryu Suzuki's Japan years: Hoitsu and Otohiro Suzuki, and Harry Ransom Rose. For the American years: San Francisco Zen Center, Crestone Mountain Zen Center, Sokoji Soto Zen Mission of San Francisco, Catrina Boni, Della Goertz, Pauline Petchey, Peter Schneider, and Dan Welch. For other photo help: Richard Baker, Rosalie Curtis, Christina Lehnherr, *Ikki Nambara, Susan O'Connell, Bill Redican, Russell Smith, Jeannie Stern, *Meiya Susan Wender, Michael Wenger. Special thanks to Robert Boni (rip). Every effort was made to identify photographers of photo inserts. Thanks to those not identified.

For design of the book: David Bullen. For the dingbat: Frances Thompson. Other graphics help: Mark Wiley and the folks at Sprint Copy Center in Sebastopol.

For various types of assistance or suggestions: Gil Fronsdal, Jane Hirshfield, *Shozen Hosokawa, Dan Kaplan, Michele Lesure, Paul Maxwell, Misha Merrill, *Jun Mink, Ikki Nambara, Brian Power, Diane Renshaw, Laurie Schley, *Akemi Shinomiya, Steve Snyder, *Shigematsu Soiku, *Reiko Takahashi, Steve Tipton, Brian Unger, Betty Warren, Dan Welch, Celeste West of the San Francisco Zen Center Library, Daphne Woodall, and *Shin Yoshifuku.

From Broadway Books: Rebecca Holland, Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich, Ted Sammons, and Rebecca Cole.

For finding errata: Donald Allen, Bernd Bender, Ahdel Chadwick (lots of it), Bob Halpern, Richard Jaffe, Rick Levine (lots), Andrew Main, Fran Miller, Jim Morton, David Padwa, Britton Pyland, Bill Redican, Neil Rubenking, Victor Sergeyev, Albert Mickey Stunkard, Liz Tuomi, J.J. Wilson.†

And others whom I may have left out and who informed me of errata after the book came out which is recorded in the Errata section on - if not already added here.




My own memories of Suzuki-roshi's lectures and conversations with him and his other students, family, and acquaintances through the years are essential sources for this book. In addition, I have studied all the surviving transcripts of Suzuki's lectures (almost three hundred), including Marian Derby's original transcript of twenty-one lectures which led to Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind (book and tapes, which I did not use as a source for quotes, though I reread and listened to them several times). I found other useful materials in the archives and library of the San Francisco Zen Center, such as board notes, letters, and brochures.

Most useful were the interviews: Peter Schneider's with Shunryu Suzuki in 1969 in English and others with Suzuki's oldest students in that year, and the interviews done by Peter and Jane Schneider and Carl and Fumiko Bielefeldt in 1971 and 1972 in San Francisco and in Yaizu, Japan, with the Suzuki family, Gen'ichi Amano, and Kojun Noiri. Fred Harriman's interviews in Japan in 1995 with Hoitsu Suzuki, Taro Kato, *Tsuna Kato, and *Kan Kimpara, Kyoko Furuhashi's interviews with Hoitsu Suzuki and Masaji Yamada in 1993, Kaz Tanahashi's interviews with Mitsu Suzuki, and other interviews and records of people's own memories in Wind Bell and in the San Francisco Zen Center's archives and other publications.

Aside from the family of Shunryu Suzuki, those whom I interviewed in Japan were *Shoko and Noriko Okamoto of Zoun-in, *Kando and Tomiko Sugiyama of Zuioji, Seison Suzuki, Jr., *Kumataro and Mrs. Yamada, Masaji Yamada, *Shunko Yamaguchi, *Masao Yamamura, *Kin'ichi Sugizaki, *Takei Yuzo of Shoganji, Ryuho Yamada, and *Sadayoshi Asaoka, *Yasumasa Amada, and Yasuo Suetsune of the Takakusayama-kai (the High Grass Mountain Group).

In the course of writing this book I interviewed and informally talked to about 150 people in America, some of them a number of times for many hours and some of them for a few minutes. The following list includes the names of those people and an equal number who wrote to me, those who had memories printed in Wind Belland the Chronicles of Haiku Zendo, some whose stories from before this project I recalled, those whom I have heard speaking at meetings, those whose letters are collected in the San Francisco Zen Center archives, and those whose memories of Shunryu Suzuki came to my attention through someone else. A few of them never met Suzuki but relayed second-hand information on him or background information. Mark Abrams, Robert Aitken, Marc Alexander, Paul Alexander, Donald Allen, Jonathan Altman, Peg Anderson, Reb Anderson, Rusa Chiu Anderson, Frank Anderton, Antoinette Artino, Tony Artino, Tim Aston, Art Atkinson, John Bailes, Peter Bailey (rip), Richard Baker, Virginia Baker, Marty Balin, David Barrow (rip), Joshua Bear, Anna Beck, Bob Beck, Lucy Bennett, Bill Benz, Ken Berman, Layna Berman, Craig Boyan, Emma Bragdon, Jeff Broadbent, Annapurna Broffman (Georgianne Coffey), Ed Brown, Tim Buckley, Joanna Bull, Sterling Bunnell, Tim Burkett, Susan Burns, Katy Butler, Del Carlson, Ahdel Chadwick, Susan Chadwick, Kobun Chino, Milton Clapp III, Darlene Cohen, Don Collins, Bill Colvig, Kathy Cook, Peter Coyote, Linda Ruth Cutts, Arthur Dahl, Ananda Dalenberg, Dave Davenport, Gertrude Davenport, Kent Davis, Donn DeAngelo (Donnie Crockin), Lee deBarros, Arthur Deikman, Etta Deikman, Gene DeSmidt, Peter DiGesu, Lorraine Dieudonne, Paul Discoe, Ruthie Discoe, Mike Dixon, Pam Dixon, Trudy Dixon (rip), Issan Tommy Dorsey (rip), Margo Patterson Doss, Jane Dunaway, Jack Elias, Rick Fields, Jacob Fishman, Stephanie Flagg, Tim Ford, June French, Mark Frisch, Robert Front (Roovane Ben Yumin), Jerry Fuller (rip), Charles Gilman, Allen Ginsberg (rip), Della Goertz, Herb Gold, Jack Goldberg, Daya (Dianne) Goldschlag, Eva Goldsheid, Richard Gomez, Edmond Gordillo, Robert Halpern, Jerry Halpern, Gladys Halprin, Larry Hanson, Lou Harrison, Trudy Hartman, Blanche Hartman, Lou Hartman, Mitzi Hartman, Dave Hazelwood, Roy Henning, Pat Herreshoff, Harriet Hiestand, Barbara Hiestand (rip), Silas Hoadley, Ned Hoke, Niels Holm, Irene Horowitz, Liz Horowitz, Tony Johansen, Molly Jones, Barbara Kaiser, Dahlia Kamesar, Jack Kamesar, Dainin Katagiri (rip), *Tomoe Katagiri, Wako Kato, Les Kaye, Mary Kaye, Fran Keller, Durand Kiefer, Fred Kimball, Richard King, Taiji Kiyokawa, Allen Klein, Howard Klein, Arnie Kotler, Margaret Kress, Rowena Pattee Kryder, Bill Kwong, Laura Kwong, Joanne Kyger, Myo Denis Lahey, Lewis Lancaster, Bill Lane, Paul Lee, Rick Levine, Mark Lewis, Yvonne Lewis, Jim Lewinson, Jed Linde, Maria Linde, Margo Locke, Juan Lopez, Dot Luce, David Lueck, Deborah Madison, Taizan Maezumi (rip), Andrew Main, Alan Marlowe (rip), Barrie Mason, Toni (Johansen) McCarty, Willard McCarty, Pat McFarlin, Grace McLeod, Chris Miller, Elsie Mitchell, Russ Mitchell, Reb Monaco, Daigyo Moriyama, Carolyn Morton, Jim Morton, Rick Morton, Kenji Muro, Michael Murphy, Toshiaka Nakahara, John Nelson, Koshin Ogui, Phil Ohlson, Ann Overton, Peter Overton, David Padwa, Caroline Page, Charles Page, Susan Page, Loring Palmer, Tony Patchell, Grahame Petchey, Pauline Petchey, Jerome Peterson, Rene Pettit, Pat Phelan, Brian Power, Larry Prager, Louise Pryor, Brit Pyland, Mary Quagliata, Yvonne Rand, Norman Randolf, Jerry Ray, Carole Raymond, Richard Raymond, Charles Reeder, Eric Remington, Amy Richmond, Lew Richmond, Doug Roberts, Sue Roberts, Fred Roscoe (rip), Nancy Roscoe, Harry Ransom Rose, Paul Rosenblum, Jean Ross (rip), Loly Rosset, Angie Runyon, Sue Satermo, Ed Sattizahn, Elizabeth Sawyer, Ken Sawyer, Jill Schireson, Jane Schneider, Peter Schneider, Kenneth Schnelle, Bob Shuman, Holly Schwarz, Mary Lou Schwarz, Charlotte Selver, Helen Seward, Henry Shafer, Ippo Shaku, Jim Shriner, *Noboru Shumizu, Bill Shurtleff, David Silva, Amy Simpson, Bill Smith, Huston Smith, Gary Snyder, Mary Kate Spencer, John Steiner, Brother David Steindl-Rast, Jeanie Stern, Norman Stiegelmeyer, Will Stocker, Barton Stone, Erik Storlie, Steve Stroud, Teah Strozer, Albert Stunkard, Jim Sullivan, Kazuaki Tanahashi, Katherine Thanas, Frances Thompson, Steve Tipton, Al Tribe, Fran Tribe (rip), Ted Tripp, Elizabeth Tuomi, Helen Tworkov, Edward van Tassel, Jack van Allen, Helen Walker, Betty Warren, Bob Watkins, Sandy Watkins, Judyth Weaver, Steve Weintraub, Mel Weitsman, Dan Welch, Jack Weller, Bill Wenner, Philip Whalen, Gerald Wheeler, Stan White, David Whitaker, Wesley Williams, J.J. Wilson, Phillip Wilson, Stephen Wiltse, Marian (Derby) Wisberg, Daphne Woodall, Tom Wright, and Barbara Young.

Throughout the book I have referred to people by their real names. By necessity, many people who were close to Suzuki were left out, and a few people in the book are, to a small extent, composite characters: Yasuo Suetsune (who represents himself and Yasumasa Amada in the High Grass Mountain Group); and, in Part Two, George Hagiwara and Bob Halpern, Niels Holm, and me David Chadwick. Those instances are mostly pointed out in notes to this book.


Contributions of further memories and stories about Shunryu Suzuki, lost lecture tapes or transcripts, or financial support to help continue this archiving work may be sent to: Cuke Archives, PO Box 151471, San Rafael, CA 94109.






Anderson, Reb. Warm Smiles from Cold Mountains: A Collection of Talks on Zen Meditation. Rodmell Press, 1999.

Baker, Richard. Original Mind: The Practice of Zen in the West. Riverhead Books, 1999.

Barry, Ernie. "The Way of the Gateless Gate." Berkeley Barb, September 29, 1967.

Behr, Edward. Hirohito: Behind the Myth. Villard, 1989.

Brown, Edward Espe. Tomato Blessings and Radish Teachings. Riverhead Books, 1997.

Chadwick, David. Thank You and OK! An American Zen Failure in Japan. Penguin Arkana, 1994.

Doss, Margot Patterson. San Francisco at Your Feet. Grove Press, 1964.

Fields, Rick. How the Swans Came to the Lake (third edition, revised and updated). Shambhala, 1992.

Fujimoto, Rindo. The Way of Zazen. Cambridge Buddhist Assn. Inc., 1966.

Gaskin, Ina May. Spiritual Midwifery. The Book Publishing Co., 1990.

Gaskin, Stephen. Amazing Dope Tales. The Book Publishing Co., 1980.

Hiestand, Barbara, editor. Chronicles of Haiku Zendo. Haiku Zendo

Foundation, 1973.

Jeschke, Matthew Paul. "The Interpretation of Zen in the West." Thesis, Division of Philosophy, Religion, and Psychology, Reed College, May 1995.

*Kato, Kozo. Soufuku (Running and Resting). Tomokichisha, 1994.

*Kawashiri, Rumi. "Sokoji and Zen Center." Unpublished paper, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley, June 6, 1969.

Kaye, Les. Zen at Work. Crown, 1996.

*Kozuki, Shigeo. "Kokoro no Furusato" (Hometown of the Heart), Nikkei, Tokyo, 1974.

Lahey, Denis Myo. "Climbing the Mountain Seat." Unpublished paper, Department of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley, 1972.

Leighton, Taigen Dan. Bodhisattva Archetypes. Penguin Arkana, 1998.

Matthiessen, Peter. Nine-Headed Dragon River. Shambhala, 1986.

Mitchell, Elsie. Sun Buddhas, Moon Buddhas. Weatherhill, 1973.

Mountain, Marian. The Zen Environment. William Morrow, 1982.

Needleman, Jacob. The New Religions. Doubleday, 1970.

Olson, Philip. The Discipline of Freedom. State University of New York Press, 1993.

Power, Brian. The Puppet Emperor. Universe Books, 1988.

Reischauer, Edwin O. Japan Past and Present (third edition). Knopf, 1964.

Richmond, Lewis. Work as a Spiritual Practice. Broadway Books, 1999.

Ross, Nancy Wilson. Buddhism: A Way of Life and Thought. Knopf, 1980.

Schneider, David. Street Zen. Shambhala, 1993.

Storlie, Erik. Nothing on My Mind. Shambhala, 1997.

Storry, Richard. A History of Modern Japan. Penguin, 1960.

Suzuki, Mitsu. Temple Dusk. Parallax Press, 1992.

Suzuki, Shunryu. Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind. Weatherhill, 1970.

Suzuki, Shunryu. Branching Streams Flow in the Darkness: Lectures on the Sandokai. University of California Press, Berkeley, 1999.

Tipton, Steve. Getting Saved from the Sixties. University of California Press, 1982.

Trungpa, Chogyam. Born in Tibet (third edition). Shambhala, 1985.

Trungpa, Chogyam. "Suzuki-roshi: A Recollection of Buddha, Dharma, Sangha." Garuda. Tail of the Tiger and Karma Dzong Communities, Spring 1972.

Tworkov, Helen. Zen in America. Kodansha, 1994.

*Uchiyama, Kosho. The Zen Teaching of "Homeless" Kodo, Kyoto Soto Zen Center, 1990.

Victoria, Brian. Zen at War. Weatherhill, 1997.

Wenger, Michael. Thirty-three Fingers. Clear Glass, 1994.

Wind Bell (publication of the San Francisco Zen Center), 1961–1998.

Wise, David Thomas. "Dharma West: A Social-Psychological Inquiry into Zen in San Francisco." Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley, September 1971.




Originally the book had here that Genichi Amano represented two Godfathers to Shunryu but that was wrong so that note is deleted.

Thanks for help with this glossary Taigen Dan Leighton

Definitions of Japanese, Sanskrit (Skt), and English words as used in this book.


abbot Used for jūshoku, chief priest of a temple or monastery.

Amida Buddhism (Amidism) A devotional form of Buddhism venerating the mythic/cosmic Buddha Amida (Skt: Amitābha). Includes Jōdo and Jōdo Shin Buddhism.

Avalokiteshvara (Skt) The mythic/cosmic bodhisattva of compassion who hears the cries of the world. Japanese: Kannon.

Bodhidharma (Skt) A semi-legendary Indian monk who became the first ancestor of Zen in China.

bodhisattva (Skt) Enlightening being, one who vows to awaken to ultimate truth together with all others.

bow Can mean Buddhist gassho or prostration, or the Japanese ojigi, wherein the head and upper body are tilted forward without the hands joining.

buddha (Skt) An awakened one, referring both to specific historic or mythic persons such as Shakyamuni Buddha and Amida Buddha, and also to ultimate awakened reality and to the possibility of awakening in all beings.

buddha hall (hondōhattō) Central room in a temple where ceremonies and services are held before buddha images.

Daikoku-sama Named after one of the seven gods of good fortune, women who lived, worked, and loved in Buddhist temples before it was permissible.

daioshō "Great priest," an honorific title for priests.

danka The community of lay members/supporters of a temple in Japan.

dharma (Skt) The teaching, also the truth or reality that is taught, and the path to approach that truth.

dharma brothers Disciples of the same teacher.

dharma transmission The authorization to teach passed from teacher to disciple.

Diet The assembly of nationally elected legislators in Japan.

Dōgen, Kigen (Eihei Dōgen, Dōgen-zenji) The founder of Sōtō Zen in Japan in the thirteenth century.

dokusan A formal private practice or dharma-related interview with a teacher who has received dharma transmission.

Eiheiji In Fukui prefecture, one of the two head temples/training monasteries of Sōtō Zen (along with Sōjiji in Yokohama). Founded by Dōgen.

emptiness A technical term denoting the lack of inherent, fixed existence of any entity. Implies interconnectedness, relativity, and the dependent co-arising of all phenomena. Not a thing, rather the nature of all existence. Not nonexistence as opposed to existence. Comes from root meaning "to swell."

four-and-nine-days Traditional days of relaxed schedule in Zen monasteries.

futon Japanese mat-style bed and bedding.

gasshō Buddhist gesture or greeting with the palms placed together.

genkan Entryway.

geta Wooden platform sandals.

go An ancient East Asian board game, the national board game of Japan, played on a grid with black and white disk-shaped "stones." A deceptively simple and intricately subtle game traditionally enjoyed by Zen adepts. The winner of the game is the one who defines and gains the most space.

goza Thin grass mats used for sitting or bowing.

hai Yes.

Haibutsu Kishaku The persecution of Buddhists at the beginning of the Meiji era.

haiku A seventeen-syllable verse form usually emphasizing natural images with seasonal references.

hakama A pleated traditional skirt for men and women. Still used in martial arts.

han (literally, "wood") A wooden plaque struck with a mallet, used to call monks to the zendo and for other ceremonial purposes.

head monk (shuso) The training position for a monk who helps lead the teaching during a practice period.

Heart Sūtra (Hannya Shingyō) The shortest and most widely used of the Prajnā Pāramitā (Perfection of Wisdom) Sutras, especially by Mahayana Buddhists; a concise distillation of the teaching on emptiness.

hibachi A cast-iron or earthen pot containing charcoal used for cooking.

Hōjō-san Title for the head priest of a temple.

ikebana Traditional Japanese flower arranging.

-ji, -in, and -an Suffixes used for the names of temples

jinrikisha A two-wheeled taxi pulled by a person.

Jōdo Shin-shū "The true school of the Pure Land," a faith-oriented sect of Buddhism, the largest in Japan. In the U.S. called the BCA, Buddhist Churches of America.

kanji Chinese characters (ideographs) used in Japanese writing.

Kannon See Avalokiteshvara.

kenshō (literally "seeing the nature") A sometimes dramatic experience of insight.

kesa Monk's outer patchwork robe signifying ordination (okesa, more respectfully).

kinhin Walking zazen or meditation.

kōan (literally, "public case") An exemplary story or dialogue to be studied or used as a meditation object worked on with a teacher.

koromo The long-sleeved monk's robe of Chinese origin worn over the kimono.

kotatsu A low table covered by a blanket, heated from underneath.

kyōsaku The stick used to hit drowsy monks on the shoulder.

lay ordination A formal ceremony for lay people to take the precepts and express their commitment to Buddha's way.

manjū A Japanese confection made from rice flower and bean paste.

matcha Strong, thick, powdered green tea, served in tea ceremony.

Meiji The period of Japanese history from 1868 to 1912.

mochi Sweet glutinous rice cakes, especially popular at New Year.

mokugyō (literally, "wooden fish") A hollow drum carved from one piece of wood and struck with a padded mallet.

monastery Term used for large training temples for monks, nuns, and sometimes lay people.

monk Someone who has received home-leaving ordination and who lives according to monastic discipline and schedule.

Mountain Seat Ceremony (Shinsanshiki) A rite in which the abbotship of a temple is passed on to the abbot's successor.

mudrā (Skt) A hand position or physical gesture or posture that embodies an aspect of Buddhist teaching.

nirvāna (Skt) In early Buddhism, the cessation of all suffering. In Zen, nirvāna is understood as ultimately not separate from everyday life and the worldly cycles of suffering.

Obon Japanese summer festival in which the spirits of the departed return.

ohaka Graveyard, place where remains, usually ashes, of the dead are interred (informally, haka).

ōryōki Monk's stacked and cloth-wrapped eating bowls.

pachinko An upright form of pinball machine, totally dependent on luck, played in noisy, crowded halls where one can win small prizes.

practice period (ango, "dwelling in peace") A time, usually three months, of intensive monastic training under the guidance of a teacher in a temple or monastery.

precepts Ethical guidelines of conduct for expressing buddha mind. They include taking refuge in buddha, dharma, and sangha, and a series of descriptions of awakened ethical conduct that begin with refraining from taking life.

priest Someone who has received home-leaving ordination (monk training), and who performs ceremonial and pastoral functions.

prostration (raihai) Full bow with the shins, forehead, hands, and elbows touching the floor.

rakusu Bib-like vestment received in monk or lay ordination.

Rinzai Zen One of the two main sects of Zen, emphasizing vigorous dynamic style and systematic kōan study.

rōshi "Venerable old teacher," respectful title for priest, Zen master.

sama Very polite form of address used after a person's name, more polite thansan.

samādhi (Skt) A deep meditative state. Many specific samadhis are listed in Buddhist writings.

sangha (Skt) The Buddhist community. Originally the order of monks, later coming to include all practitioners.

satori A sudden flash of deep insight into the nature of reality.

seiza Traditional Japanese kneeling position.

sensei Title used for teachers, doctors, and other respected persons.

sesshin A concentrated zazen retreat of one or more days, usually five or seven.

shashu A formal position used in walking meditation, wherein the hands are held together at the solar plexus.

shiatsu Japanese pressure point massage.

shikantaza "Just sitting," zazen without a fixed object of concentration, emphasizing upright posture and presence.

Shinto Japan's indigenous spiritual tradition, involving veneration of nature spirits.

shōji Sliding door of wood latticework and translucent rice paper.

Shōwa The period of Japanese history from 1926 to 1989.

shū A religion or a religious sect or school, as in Sōtō-shū.

Shushōgi A compilation of important Sōtō writings put together in the late nineteenth century.

Sōjiji See Eiheiji.

Sōtō Zen One of the two main sects of Zen, emphasizing "just sitting" or silent illumination meditation and its application to everyday activity.

stick See kyōsaku. Not to be confused with the teacher's stick.

sumi Traditional black ink used in calligraphy and painting.

sūtra (Skt) Discourses of the Buddha, used for old Buddhist scriptures or scriptures to be chanted.

tabi White socks with a separate pocket for the big toe, worn with zorigeta, or other sandals.

Taishō The period of Japanese history from 1912 to 1926.

Taoism (also Daoism) An ancient Chinese religion/philosophy emphasizing an appreciation of nature and harmonious life.

takuhatsu (literally, "to entrust the bowl") Monk's formal begging.

tatami Japanese rigid straw floor mats approximately two inches thick and three by six feet in area.

tea ceremony (chanoyu) A formal, aesthetic method of preparing and serving tea, originating in Japan around the sixteenth century.

teacher's stick (nyoi) A short, carved, curved stick carried by teachers in formal situations, often with a tassel.

theosophy A Western spiritual movement founded in the nineteenth century in Europe, highly influenced by Eastern religions.

the ten directions Shorthand for everywhere: north, south, east, west, their midpoints, the zenith and nadir.

the three times Past, present, and future.

tokonoma An alcove in a Japanese room in which may be placed such objects as a calligraphy scroll, a stone, or a flower arrangement.

transmission See dharma transmission.

unsui (literally, "cloud and water") A monk, often novice monks.

whisks, horsehair and ox-hair (hossu) An emblem of a teacher, traditionally used to whisk away flies.

zafu Zazen cushion, usually black and round.

zazen Zen meditation, sitting meditation.

zazenkai In Japan, a regular lay zazen group, usually meeting weekly or monthly.

Zen A school of Buddhism originating in China which emphasizes zazen, direct insight, and actual experience of Buddhist truth in everyday activity.

zendō A Zen meditation hall, zazen hall. Also used herein for sodō, which in Japanese training monasteries is also used for sleeping and eating.

zenji A title meaning Zen master.

zōri Traditional Japanese sandals, thongs.

Thanks for the help with this glossary Taigen Dan Leighton  

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