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Thread: Pronunciation of Zen terms

  1. #1

    Pronunciation of Zen terms

    Okay, so the last time I was a "real" Zendo I was a bit surprised to hear them pronounce sesshin with the stress on the second syllable, which by the way is not a long e sound but a short i sound. Before I stumble on anything and/or further entrench a bad habit, let's just go over the exact way to say other such terminology. Shikantaza, for example. Oryoki? Rakusu?

    -Mike

  2. #2

    Re: Pronunciation of Zen terms

    Quote Originally Posted by spinpsychle
    Okay, so the last time I was a "real" Zendo I was a bit surprised to hear them pronounce sesshin with the stress on the second syllable, which by the way is not a long e sound but a short i sound. Before I stumble on anything and/or further entrench a bad habit, let's just go over the exact way to say other such terminology. Shikantaza, for example. Oryoki? Rakusu?

    -Mike
    Okay, they are pronounced "Shikantaza" and "Oryoki". :wink:

    Actually, yes, in Japanese these have a certain pronunciation (which, in most cases, is already a Japanese bastardization of the original Chinese ... which is sometimes itself derived from Sanskrit ... and Pali). Having lived and taught in both Japan, Europe and America for a few years, I have seen that many of these words are getting Westernized (when I visited a Sangha in Paris, they pronounced words like "Samadhi" and "Bodhisattva" in such a luscious way, it made my heart skip a beat).

    So, do not worry about it too much.

    If you listen to me on the 'sit-a-longs', you will probably hear me bounce back and forth between a Japanese and Yankee way of pronouncing terms.

    But these terms are beyond culture or place, and just being Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese or Indian has little to do with it. The "right" way to say them is not about that.

    Gassho, Jundo

    Ps- Treeleaf is a "real" Zendo. :evil:

  3. #3
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Pronunciation of Zen terms

    Gassho. Is it 'Gas-hoe' or 'Ga-show'?

  4. #4

    Re: Pronunciation of Zen terms

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo

    Ps- Treeleaf is a "real" Zendo. :evil:
    Oh, I know! It's one of those things where choice of wording can be tricky, like where even though I have no independent self, I still have to refer to me somehow, so I may still use the word "self." How else may I say it? Um. One that reinforces the illusion of permanence by having a terrestrial meeting space, form world address, and so on? I thought it easier to throw out some quotation marks and hope nobody notices. That sure worked. :wink:

    - Mike

  5. #5

    Re: Pronunciation of Zen terms

    Quote Originally Posted by spinpsychle
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo

    Ps- Treeleaf is a "real" Zendo. :evil:
    Oh, I know! It's one of those things where choice of wording can be tricky, like where even though I have no independent self, I still have to refer to me somehow, so I may still use the word "self." How else may I say it? Um. One that reinforces the illusion of permanence by having a terrestrial meeting space, form world address, and so on? I thought it easier to throw out some quotation marks and hope nobody notices. That sure worked. :wink:

    - Mike
    Oh, you are absolutely -not- "real". 8)

  6. #6

    Re: Pronunciation of Zen terms

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Gassho. Is it 'Gas-hoe' or 'Ga-show'?
    That's what I want to know!

    I googled it and found a place that says that it's pronounced, "gah sho."

  7. #7

    Re: Pronunciation of Zen terms

    Quote Originally Posted by Brock
    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Gassho. Is it 'Gas-hoe' or 'Ga-show'?
    That's what I want to know!

    I googled it and found a place that says that it's pronounced, "gah sho."
    Ga (rhymes with "ma and pa") and sho (like "let's go to a show")

    Gassho, Jundo

  8. #8

    Re: Pronunciation of Zen terms

    I always pronounce Spanish language wise:

    Ga-cho.

    Which makes laugh cuz it's also the word for "meany" or "mean" in Spanish. :mrgreen:

  9. #9

    Re: Pronunciation of Zen terms

    Quote Originally Posted by chicanobudista
    I always pronounce Spanish language wise:

    Ga-cho.
    Gesundheit!

  10. #10

    Re: Pronunciation of Zen terms

    Gassho = Ga show
    Interesting. I've Always pronounced it Ga sow according to how I've heard it.


    Will

  11. #11

    Re: Pronunciation of Zen terms

    What about the "Shakyamuni" in Shakyamuni Buddha?

  12. #12

    Re: Pronunciation of Zen terms

    Quote Originally Posted by Brock
    What about the "Shakyamuni" in Shakyamuni Buddha?
    Rhymes with "Shake your Booty" :twisted:

    Actually, more like "shock" (as in "shock absorber") ya (as in German "ya = yes") "muni" (rhymes with "loony" of "loonytunes")

    You know, I could make an audio/video tape. My concern is that I still have a bit of an unavoidable American accent when I speak Japanese and Chinese. (Like asking a fellow from Shanghai how to pronounce the Queen's English). But, I may do it with a Japanese friend. Let me think about the best way.

    Gassho, Jundo (as in the "the month of June" and "Doe a dear")

  13. #13

    Re: Pronunciation of Zen terms

    Quote Originally Posted by Brock
    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Gassho. Is it 'Gas-hoe' or 'Ga-show'?
    That's what I want to know!

    I googled it and found a place that says that it's pronounced, "gah sho."
    Hi,

    I have always heard it pronounced as "gah sho" with equal emphasis of both sylables.

    gassho,
    jinho

  14. #14

    Re: Pronunciation of Zen terms

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Quote Originally Posted by Brock
    What about the "Shakyamuni" in Shakyamuni Buddha?
    Rhymes with "Shake your Booty" :twisted:
    :roll: Don't be afraid he's a Zen Master :mrgreen:

    It's funny, the discussion you are having about pronunciation.
    I've never heard something like that, it must be because of the French language. We always pronunciate the words as they are written, of course we don't say Avalokiteshvara or sattipattana sutta in every sentence.

    It's just funny to see how our mothertongue conditionate the way we think or act...

    Gassho,
    Luis

  15. #15

    Re: Pronunciation of Zen terms

    Howz about a pronunciation for Eihei? In my head its 'ee-hay'

  16. #16

    Re: Pronunciation of Zen terms

    Luis
    It's just funny to see how our mothertongue conditionate the way we think or act...
    Which has no bearing on true Zen practice.

    Most of the time I think we can stick to: "Please pass the salt."

    W

  17. #17

    Re: Pronunciation of Zen terms

    Quote Originally Posted by will

    Most of the time I think we can stick to: "Please pass the salt."

    W
    Salt alone makes a pretty limited diet. As you know, Will, it is worth mentioning that Master Dogen was not so enthusiastic about this "Zen as the Way beyond Words & Letters" perspective.

    I mean, don't get me wrong, we are chock full of tastes and wisdom that is not to be expressed in Words & Letters ... we are as "Beyond Words & Letters" as all the Zen folks.

    But Dogen (who often held perfectly contradictory teachings without the least contradiction) ALSO held that well chosen "Words & Letters", were the manifestation of the Buddha's Truth in each word & letter. Words and Letters could bring the Buddha's Truth to life ... and not merely as "fingers pointing to the moon", but as the moonlinghtshining through the words and letters. That is why he was such a prolific ... and creative ... writer.

    And Toby ...

    Howz about a pronunciation for Eihei? In my head its 'ee-hay'
    "A" as in "ABC", "Hay" as in "What Horses Eat".

    Dogen was "Eihei Dogen" because he was the founder of "Eiheiji" temple. While nobody is completely sure, the name is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese Yung-p'ing era (58-75 CE, meaning "Eternal Peace") when Buddhism is said to have been first introduced in China.

    Now you know. That and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee.

    Gassho, J

  18. #18

    Re: Pronunciation of Zen terms

    it is worth mentioning that Master Dogen was not so enthusiastic about this "Zen as the Way beyond Words & Letters" perspective.
    Ya I know. We do what we do. But where exactly does it say we "need" to express it?

    Anyway, your right on that one and I'm not taking a side either way.

    That post was more of a "not worrying too much about all the talk all the time" (there's a lot of that that goes on), type thing. You know, sit, pass the salt, eat, etc.. We need that sometimes.

    I didn't literally mean "pass the salt" is all we need That would be weird. You know that.

    Gassho _/_

    W

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