Tag Archives: Buddhism

You can lead a horse to sutras

縁なき衆生は度し難し (En naki shujou wa do shigatashi; “It’s hard for the Buddha to save those who do not know the Buddha”) Definition: People who don’t heed advice or warnings are very hard to help. Salvation is difficult for those who … Continue reading

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Leaves from the vine

愛別離苦 ai.betsu.ri.ku Literally: love – separate – detach – suffering Alternately: The pain of being separated from your loved ones. This is one of the “eight sufferings” of 四苦八苦. Notes: The separation in question is most often due to the … Continue reading

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Fishing for tsuris

四苦八苦 shi.ku.ha-.kku Literally: four – suffering – eight – suffering Alternately: Deep distress, terrible hardship, anguish, malaise. The very bad feels. Notes: You might think, as I did, that this phrase is nothing more than a doubling for effect, but … Continue reading

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‘Tis the season

…and the age. 私利私欲 shi.ri.shi.yoku Literally: me/private – benefit/profit – me/private – desire/greed Alternately: One’s own profit; one’s own greed. The self-centered attitude or behavior of someone who is motivated by avarice over all else. Notes: 欲 may also be … Continue reading

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Power is small things in large numbers

一粒万倍 ichi.ryuu.man.bai Literally: one – particle – ten thousand – times (as in multiplication) Alternately: From something tiny, a huge profit. By extension, an admonition not to look down on small or simple things, because even the most humble appearance … Continue reading

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Consider the lotus of the pond

It toils and spins SO HARD 難行苦行 nan.gyou.ku.gyou Literally: difficult – go / undertaking – suffering – go / undertaking Alternately: Extreme difficulties or suffering. In particular, this describes when someone is enduring privation and hardship as part of (Buddhist) … Continue reading

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A real eye-opener

開眼供養 kai.gen.ku.you Literally: open – eyeball – offer – nurture Alternately: This is the name of a Buddhist ceremony in which the eyes are added to a Buddhist sculpture or image, completing it and investing it with a soul. By … Continue reading

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Zen and the art of shining a footlight

脚下照顧 kya-.kka.shou.ko Literally: leg – below – illuminate – look back Alternately: Make time to look within. More literally, “make sure to look carefully under your own feet.” 照顧 is a Zen Buddhist term for consideration, reflection, introspection. This is … Continue reading

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Worse than the Hounds of Tindalos

煩悩の犬は追えども去らず (Bonnou no inu wa oedomo sarazu; “Even if you drive out the hounds of earthly urges, they don’t go away”) Definition: Earthly desires will remain with you even if, and no matter how many times, you suppress them. The … Continue reading

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The playground of Tengu!

天上天下 ten.jou.ten.ge Literally: heavens – up – heavens – down Alternately: The world above the sky (the heavens) and the world below the sky (the earth). Also, the space between heaven and earth. The whole world. Notes: Reading 下 as … Continue reading

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