Glossary of Zen/Buddhist/Mondo Terms

Anger (Violent Anger): Normally a chosen, violent reaction to fear about a situation and/or person(s). Within clear deep heart-mind, anger is experienced and expressed as deep caring and intense clarity of mind.

Ahimsa: the all encompassing nonviolence born from realizing the fundamental compassion of the human psyche. This can be adopted as a guiding principle to facilitate realization and reflects realization itself.

Anxiety: A state of angst caused by an inability or unwillingness to listen deeply, understand, and respond to the information contained within our feelings. In its healthy form it points us to something that needs our attention. In its unhealthy form, it is a compulsive habituation of deep insecurity.

Awakening: experiencing a realization of our deepest nature. See Enlightenment

Bodhisattva: someone who has awakened and engages in the world with wisdom, compassion and skillful means to serve and liberate all beings.

Buddha: someone who has a highly stabilized enlightenment, who transmits the truth of the wisdom of meditative awareness to others.

Clear Deep Heart-Mind: heart-mind refers to the entire sensory-cognitive-emotional system that gives rise to sentience. Known upon awakening, it is realized that pure awareness has qualities of boundless, unobstructed luminosity (clear and deep). This term captures the essential outcome of dhyana training.

Clear intention : the sum of our Great Doubt, Great Faith, Great Determination and Great Passion.

Dana: The exquisite paradox in Buddhism is that the more we give—and the more we give without seeking something in return—the more abundant we become. By giving, we destroy those acquisitive, grasping, and needy impulses that ultimately lead to further suffering. By receiving, we allow others the opportunity to give selflessly.

Delusion: a) the belief that our perceptions are real and permanent, thereby defining who we are. b) Any perception misunderstood as existing independently of its interaction with other manifestations.

Depression: A state of angst caused by an ignorant inability or unwillingness to listen deeply, understand, and respond to the information contained within a feeling. An enlightened mind experiences depression as a call to attend to something in our lives; either integrating a past event that we have not accepted or a fear of the future that we refuse to acknowledge and take action toward resolving.

Dharana: a state of single-pointed concentration, unifying the mind and facilitating dhyana.

Dharani is a chant voiced with the embodiment of pure selfless awareness, used as a tool to bring us to single-pointed concentration and enter dhyana.

Dhyana: Describes the receptive and reflective state of mind that comes from opening and softening completely into the present moment. See Clear Deep Heart-Mind, Pure Selfless Awareness, Zen.

Disconnection: Reacting to arising emotions, i.e., shame, anger, sadness, etc., by disappearing emotionally and or physically.

Dualistic: the perceived separateness of the spiritual and physical.

Dukkha: the second mark of existence. Dukkha refers to the perpetual non-contentment experienced during human existence.

Ego-self: the animalistic, survivalistic psychological phenomena that is conditioned through our experiences over time. It is fundamentally ignorant of, and unwilling to become aware of, the Three Marks of Existence.

Eight-Fold Buddhist Path (traditional Buddhist practice):

Traditionally known as:

  1. Right view
  2. Right thought
  3. Right speech
  4. Right action
  5. Right livelihood
  6. Right effort
  7. Right Concentration
  8. Right Meditation

Hollow Bones Zen increases the transparency their meaning according to total yogic tradition of non-dual buddhism by utilizing the following terms:

  1. Correct view/understanding
  2. Precise purpose, thought/feeling
  3. Honest speech
  4. Compassionate action
  5. Conscious livelihood
  6. Great effort/determination
  7. Deep Concentration–Meditation
  8. Liberating Samadhi 

Embodiment: physically acting in a way consistent with our psychological framework. Ultimately pointing to integrating the realization, or merely acceptance, of our true nature into ego structures and, therefore, our daily life.

Emotional Koan: Protocol that transforms negative emotional reactions into compassionate responses.

  1. Notice a recurring, unconscious emotional reaction.
  2. Visualize it clearly in a meditative state.
  3. Explore the subtle and gross manifestations of the reactivity.
  4. Release the contractions associated with the reactivity.
  5. Listen to the deeper feelings revealed in the release of the contraction.
  6. Understand what must be done to be in integrity with this deeper truth.
  7. Intend, with the utmost commitment, to respond this way the next time this situation arises.

Enlightenment: experiencing a realization that dispels the shadows of delusion; it is the opposite of ignorance. Enlightenment is a process, or spectrum, that deepens and stabilizes through the application of clear intention over time.

Equanimity: the ability to choose our responses to stimuli, including thoughts and emotions as the sixth sense (in addition to sight, hearing, smelling, taste and touch). It presents itself as stable and measured while being appropriately expressive.

Fear: Excited energy arising, from deep caring, about a situation before we consciously respond or unconsciously reaction. Within clear deep heart-mind, fear is experienced as excitement and opportunity.

 Five Training Elements: Hollow Bones Zen’s holistic method of training, analogous to, and including, the Eightfold Path, they are:

  1. Sacred stewardship
  2. Philosophical reorientation
  3. Emotional maturity and integrity
  4. Conscious embodiment
  5. Genuine insight 

Four Noble Truths of Buddhism:

  1. Suffering
  2. Cause of suffering
  3. End of suffering
  4. Eight-fold path to end suffering

Great Determination: the commitment to never quit on this path; the determination to awaken and stay awake in each and every moment.

Great Doubt: the quest to resolve existential questions, such as: “Who am I?”, “Why is there suffering?”, “Why are we here?”

Great Faith: the confidence that there is an answer to Great Doubt.

Great Passion: a loving commitment to live the bodhisattva path completely.

Guilt: The useful realization and acceptance of responsibility for a mistaken behavior enacted in ignorance.

Hysterical historical: our entire set of conditioned responses to external stimuli, from basic preferences to those traumatically induced. Also known as samskara/sankhara.

Ignorance: a state of non-awakening, or being asleep to one’s true nature as impermanent and selfless and that inaccurately perceiving reality is the source of suffering. It is the belief that our “self” and the world is unchanging and independent of our perceptions (thoughts, emotions, concepts and five senses).

Impermanence: the understanding that everything changes, whether we like it or not.

Insight: Direct experience of absolute clear empty mind; to be a genuine insight it must become embodied.

Karma: literally “actions”, it refers to all of the causes and effects that create this moment. Therefore, this moment is the sum of all the actions that have ever occured in the entire universe and which holds all of the potential actions that will ever be taken in the entire universe.

Kleshas: Three main poisons:

  1. Greed
  2. Violent Anger
  3. Delusion-Ignorance

Koan: are stories and statements that present the worldview of an enlightened mind. Seemingly paradoxical, koan are taken up as meditations to induce personal, direct realizations into the nature of conceptual awareness, non-conceptual awareness, their relationship, and, ultimately, what this means for our lives.

Manifestation: anything that arises in the physical, or as a result of the physical, realm. All of our thoughts, feelings, senses, physical body and objects that we perceive are manifestations.

Mantra Chant: a phrase or expression said as clear deep heart-mind. See dharani.

Meditation: Three stages – holding the mind in concentration is dharana; recognizing the mind in which the concentration is taking place, effortless clear deep heart-mind, is dhyana; and enjoying the truth and freedom of realizing the emptiness and compassion to be found within is samadhi.

Mindful Stewardship: the sum of actions we take as enlightened beings that fulfil our Five Training Elements, Four Awakened Vows and Six Perfections.

Mondo: Zen dialogue (which may be public or private) between a so-called teacher and so-called student. Our form is designed to elicit, anchor, and clarify a genuine realization experience and requires a high level of commitment and presence from all those involved.

Non-dual reality: refers to an experience of being that is aware of both the non-conceptual immediacy of pure presence and the conceptual discursiveness of abstract thought. These two-sides-of-the-single-coin-of-life reveal unity through the interpenetration of all phenomena and the distinctness of their individual characteristics. In persistent non-dual experience, both perspectives are available and intentionally taken as skillful means, relying on neither as ultimately and exclusively true. Liberation arises as dualistic machinations of mind are not clung to while their conventional truth remains useful.

Non-self (anatta): the understanding that any concept of “self” is made up entirely of “non-self” elements and is therefore a delusion. Neither our true-self or ego-self exist outside of our thoughts, feelings and five senses.

Perceptions: a term that includes all experience, thought, emotion, concepts, sight, hearing, smelling, taste and touch. To enlightened minds perceptions are reflected by pure selfless awareness for us to act upon wisely, compassionately and skillfully. To ignorant minds, perceptions define our reality and condition our ego-self, building layers of hysterical historical.

Pure Selfless Awareness: the fundamental state of our sentience. It is pure because it is unconditioned by our perceptions, selfless because it understands non-dual reality. See also, Clear Deep Heart-Mind

Right Understanding: the sum of all psychological reindoctrination that provides the proper framework for the deep personal realizations of meditative awareness and enlightenment.

Samadhi: meaning absorption by indicating “joining together”, this term has many valid uses in the eastern wisdom traditions. Most frequently in Hollow Bones Zen, it refers to an unreasonable state of true freedom and joy that comes naturally with absorption in pure selfless awareness. It is unreasonable because it is not caused or confined by any of our perceptions. Samadhi is free of delusions and this liberating insight experience, claimed and stabilized, allows us to live all of life with gratitude and amazement.

Shame: A painful emotional reaction, a confused and false belief regarding one’s self-worth.

Skillful Means: all of the techniques, methods or tools we use to realize personal enlightenment and to bring into being a harmonious and loving world.

Spiritual Bypassing:  A tendency to use spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep or avoid facing unresolved emotional issues, psychological wounds, and unfinished developmental tasks. In Mondo Zen, we take great care in knowing when and how to use emotional awareness koans to assist participants and when and how to refer participants for psychotherapy instead.

Three Marks of Existence, the three core realizations:

  1. Anicca – impermanence (all is burning)
  2. Dukkha – physical suffering (sickness, old age and death) and psychological suffering
  3. Anatta – selflessness (Dhyana, Clear Deep Heart-Mind)

Zazen: “sitting Zen” and “just sitting”. Dying on our cushion we completely open into the present moment. A key part of foundational practice, zazen is an excellent skillful means for realizing, deepening and stabilizing enlightenment.

Zen: the japanese term for dhyana. It is also commonly used to refer to the japanese schools of buddhism (primarily Rinzai and Soto) that focus on personal realization through deep concentration meditation.

Zen services: a form of skillful means and fundamental practice where practitioners gather together to strengthen their right understanding and reaffirm their clear intention.