Eastern Spirituality

Glossary Contents: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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The highest form of pran.

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The sum total of all energy; the first cause; all-pervading sound.

Om (or Auṃ [ə̃ũ], Sanskrit: ॐ) is a sacred sound and a spiritual icon in Dharmic religions. It is also a mantra in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. In Hinduism, Om is a spiritual symbol (pratima) referring to Atman (soul, self within) and Brahman (ultimate reality, entirety of the universe, truth, divine, supreme spirit, cosmic principles, knowledge).

The syllable is one of the most important symbols in Hinduism, and is often found at the beginning and the end of chapters in the Vedas, the Upanishads, and other Hindu texts. It is a sacred spiritual incantation made before and during the recitation of spiritual texts, during puja and private prayers, in ceremonies of rites of passages (sanskara) such as weddings, and sometimes during meditative and spiritual activities such as Yoga.

Om is part of the iconography found in ancient and medieval era temples, monasteries and spiritual retreats in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. A related symbol Ik Onkar is also found in Sikhism. The symbol has a spiritual meaning in all Indian religions, but the meaning and connotations of Om vary between the diverse schools within and across the various traditions.

The syllable is also referred to as omkara (oṃkāra), aumkara (auṃkāra), and pranava (praṇava).

Example via www.ramdass.org: Mantras

Example via www.mindpodnetwork.com: The Mind & The Heart

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A set of bowls used in a Zen eating ceremony. Ōryōki is a meditative form of eating that originated in Japan that emphasizes mindfulness awareness practice by abiding to a strict order of precise movements.

An ōryōki set consists of nested bowls called a jihatsu, usually made of lacquered wood, and utensils all bundled in a cloth. The largest bowl, sometimes called the Buddha Bowl or zuhatsu, symbolizes Buddha's head and his wisdom. The other bowls are progressively smaller. In describing the form of ōryōki used at John Daido Loori's Zen Mountain Monastery, author Jack Maguire wrote.

The cantaloupe-sized bundle consists of three black plastic nesting bowls, two chopsticks, a wooden spoon, a small rubber spatula, a gray napkin, and a wiping cloth, all of which are wrapped tidily in a gray cloth with a topknot resembling a lotus blossom.

This is the formal style of serving and eating meals practiced in Zen temples.

Buddhist tradition states that after Huineng received the monk's robe and bowl as evidence of his having received Dharma transmission, the bowl itself was considered a symbol of transmission from teacher to student.

Ōryōki have evolved in Buddhist monasteries in China and Japan over many years and are part of the Buddhist tradition that has now been transmitted to the West. Both monks and laypeople use ōryōki to eat formal meals in Zen monasteries and places of practice. A lineage was also transmitted from Kobun Chino Roshi to the Tibetan Buddhist sangha of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and is now practiced at all Shambhala retreat centers.

Zen teachers say that taking meals with ōryōki cultivates gratitude, mindfulness, and better understanding of self. (In this regard, it is not unlike zazen.) The intricacies of the form may require the practitioner to pay great attention to detail.

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A term used to address a monk of the Zen Buddhist tradition. Originally reserved for high-ranking monks, it has since been appropriated for everyday use when addressing any male member of the Zen clergy.

Glossary Contents: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z