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SOTOZEN-NET > Library > Glossary > assistant



assistant (anja 行者)

Literally a "member" (sha 者) of the "[lower] ranks" (an 行). To be distinguished from gyōja行者, a word written with the same two Chinese characters, which denotes a religious "ascetic" or "practitioner." A number of minor positions in a monastery bureaucracy are designated as "assistants." In medieval China and Japan, those positions were held by postulants (anja行者), i.e. lay candidates for monastic ordination, but in present day Japanese Zen they are held by monks in training (unsui 雲水). "postulant."