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Glossary

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rector (ino, inō, ina 維那)

An officer in a monastic bureaucracy; one of the six stewards (roku chiji 六知事). The etymology of the term is complex. Indian Vinaya texts speak of a monk officer called the karma-dāna or "assigner of duties." That term that was translated into Chinese as "disciplinarian" (kōi 綱維) and transliterated as katsuma dana羯磨陀那. By the Tang dynasty (618-906), a mixed translation and transliteration which combined the final character of both terms - i 維 and na 那 - had become standard. In Tang Buddhist monasteries the rector was one of three top officers (sankō 三綱) and was charged with enforcing rules and maintaining discipline. The other two were the "top seat" (jōza 上座), i.e. the elder who served as spiritual leader or abbot, and the "monastery chief" (jishu 寺主), who was in charge of all practical and administrative affairs, such as supplies and finances.

In Song dynasty Chinese and medieval Japanese Zen monasteries, the rector was in charge of registering monks for retreats, enforcing rules, advising the head seat (shuso 首座) and maintaining discipline in the sangha hall, initiating sutra chanting (kokyō 擧經) by the great assembly, and reciting verses for dedicating the merit (ekō 囘向) produced by that sutra chanting. In contemporary Soto Zen, only training monasteries have a functioning office of rector held by a senior monk who actually serves as disciplinarian for the monastery. The position of rector survives as an important one, however, in all observances that entail chanting sutras and dedicating merit. Whenever the resident priests of affiliated temples get together at one of their temples to perform services for assembled parishioners, one priest will be designated to act as rector for the occasion. →"six stewards."