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Basic Key Terms of Soto Zen Teaching

Foreword

A great many people are now practicing zazen in the Japanese Soto Zen Buddhist tradition outside Japan. But, because the tradition is so new in other lands, their practice may not always firmly based on a good understanding of the teaching. Before we begin practice, we need some clarity about what we are doing and why we are doing it that way. It is important to begin the practice with an understanding of the basic principles and underlying teaching behind what we will be doing. We need accurate background knowledge and a good understanding of ideas about the nature of zazen so that we can practice properly and skillfully. We should not start blindly. Otherwise our practice would likely go astray and get lost.  More.

So, here we will be offering Basic Key Terms of Soto Zen Teaching as a help for those who want to obtain this kind of background knowledge and ideas. We have selected twenty-four of the most basic key terms which we hope will show us unique aspects of the Soto Zen teaching. Each key term is explained in about 1,500 words. Explanations are designed to be longer than a dictionary description and shorter than an academic paper in length and detail.

We are fortunate to have four eminent contributors writing these definitions. Professors Seijun Ishii and Tairyu Tsunoda are from Komazawa University. Reverend Kodo Takeuchi and Reverend Kenshu Sugawara are from the Center for Soto Zen Studies.

We sincerely hope that this offering will help our fellow practitioners all over the world root their practice deeply in the ground of right understanding.

Issho Fujita
Director of Soto Zen Buddhism International Center

Basic Key Terms