Vocabulary Glossary

bangai fudasho

番外札所

A temple not included on the official 88 temple listing, but has a connection to the Shikoku Pilgrimage route such that pilgrims stop to visit.

bodai

菩提

Lit. “Accruing Wisdom.” The third stage on the path to Enlightenment describing the time when is at last prepared to receive and understand the world around them.

bonnō

煩悩

Usually used as 108 bonnō, it refers to the misleading Karmas or “afflicting passions” that trap human beings in the world of suffering.

daimyō

大名

A local ruler who controls a prefecture and acts as military leader. Much like a Duke or Baron in England.

dōgyō ninin

同行に人

Lit. “One Practice, Two People.” This term refers to the notion that Kōbō Daishi is constantly traveling with one and protecting one. More commonly translated as “Pilgrimage, Together.”

fuso-basami

札ばさみ

A small, hard covered case that one wears around the neck. It is designed to hold and protect osame-fuda.

hijiri

A holy man or sage.

Hosshin

発心

Lit. “Awakening Faith.” This is the second stage on the path to Enlightenment and describes the awareness of the path and the decision to follow it

junrei

巡礼

“Pilgrimage.” This word is used mostly in conjunction with pilgrimages that involve a number of sites, such as Shikoku or the Saikoku pilgrimages.

juzu

数珠

Lit. “Counting Beads.” A rosary. Another name for a nenju, this term is used more commonly in traditions when the rosary is used for marking off recitation of mantras.

kami

Refers to a Shintō god as well as a sense of spirituality or something greater than one self.

kesa

袈裟

Monk’s clothes representing the robes of Shakamuni Buddha. Traditionally made from recycled or worn clothes as Shakamuni’s robes were tattered and ratty when he became Enlightened.

kongō tsue

金剛杖

A pilgrim’s staff. It is a physical representation of the Daishi to accompany the pilgrim through his or her pilgrimage. Also, it acts as a grave marker should the pilgrim die upon the trail.

nansho

難所

難所

Lit. “Difficult Place.” Indicates a temple that is hard to get to or dangerous for a pilgrim to reach.

nehan

涅槃

“Entering Nirvāna.” The final stage on the path to Enlightenment, it describes the culmination of the other three stages and the final escape from the ordinary, blind world.

nenju

念珠

Lit. “Thought Beads.” A rosary. While the same thing as juzu, the word nenju is used by Buddhist traditions that make usage of the rosary to focus one’s mind during prayer, meditation and rituals.

nōkyō-chō

納経帳

Lit. “Sūtra Copying Book.” This is the book carried by pilgrims in which they receive stamps at each temple to mark their passage. A completed book is said to guarantee one access to the Pure Land upon death.

o-henro

お遍路

A Pilgrim on the Shikoku Pilgrimage. Also written as henro without an honorific marker.

o-mamori

お守り

An amulet that guards against various kinds of misfortune depending on its type. Also called mamori.

o-saisen

お賽銭

Offertory coins given to the enshrined deity before prayer to earn their favor. Also called saisen.

o-settai

お接待

Gifts given to a pilgrim by lay believers. Can be anything from money to food to an offering of lodging for the night. Traditionally, it is believed that the gift is being given to Kōbō Daishi himself. Thus, a pilgrim cannot decline the gift. Also called settai.

osame-fuda

納札

Small strip of paper offered to the enshrined deities that identifies the pilgrim to the deity. Are also given to a friend made on the pilgrimage route similar to a business card and as a way to thank someone for an o-settai.

oyadama

親玉

The two large beads on a neju / juzu that divide the 108 beads in half and leaving 54 on each side.

oizuru

白衣

The white clothes worn by pilgrims upon the Shikoku Pilgrimage route. Represents the shroud worn by corpses prior to burial and is tied in the method of corpses as well. Symbolizes the preparedness of a pilgrim to die upon the trail. Is often abbreviated to a sleeveless jacket.

shitennō

四天王

The four beads that further divide the nenju / juzu beads. They split each side of 54 into a group of 7, 14, and 33 beads. Represents the four heavenly guardians in each of the four directions that protect us.

shugyō

修行

Lit. “Religious Dicipline.” This refers to the second stage of Enlightenment during which one fully commits one’ self to completion of the path and begins to push one self to step beyond the ordinary world. It is considered the most difficult stage.

suge-kasa

菅笠

A sedge hat worn by pilgrims on the Shikoku Pilgrimage route. Also known as a henro-kasa.

sotoba

卒塔婆

A gravestone or stūpa.

tochi kinbaku

土地緊縛

Lit. “Binding to the Earth.” Refers to the tight limitations during the Tokugawa period designed to keep peasants from leaving their land to go on pilgrimage.

wagesa

輪袈裟

An abbreviated version of the kesa worn around the neck.

zuda-bukuro

ずだ袋

A white bag carried by a pilgrim on the Shikoku Pilgrimage used to carry smaller necessities during one’s travels.

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