What does "Gassho" mean?

What does "Gassho" mean?

Postby OregonBuddhist » Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:54 am

simple, basic, question. So simple I'm embarrassed. lol. But I see this word a lot, and now that I've found a Nichiren temple I hear it a lot too. I just pretend I know what it means. But I'd actually like to know.... ;)
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Re: What does "Gassho" mean?

Postby Shutoku » Fri Aug 03, 2012 8:10 am

Gassho is simply putting your hands together, in some cases with a mala (beads) involved.
In Jodo Shinshu the mala or Onenju rests between the thumbs and fore fingers, encircling the fingers on both hands for example.

I'm not too familiar with Nichiren-shu, but in Shinshu we gassho when listening to passages from the Sutras or writting of the patriarchs, when reciting Nembutsu after chanting a Sutra, and after dropping a pinch of incense into the burner.
Also upon entering or leaving the Hondo.
Namo Amida Butsu
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Re: What does "Gassho" mean?

Postby OregonBuddhist » Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:33 pm

Thank you. Given your signature, and your reference to Shinshu, I take it that you're not a Nichiren Buddhist. And this leads me to my next question: is "Gassho" a universal Buddhist term, such as "karma"? Because I learned it at a Nichiren temple, I had thought it was a term specifric to Nichiren Buddhism. Thank you.
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Re: What does "Gassho" mean?

Postby Meido » Mon Aug 06, 2012 11:48 pm

The Japanese word gassho, referring to the common mudra in which hands are placed palm to palm (Skt: anjali), is not specific to one sect or school.

~ Meido
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Re: What does "Gassho" mean?

Postby OregonBuddhist » Tue Aug 07, 2012 2:31 am

Thank you. If it is a Japanese word, does it follow that while it isn't specific to any one sect or school, it IS however specific to Japanese Buddhism?
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Re: What does "Gassho" mean?

Postby Meido » Tue Aug 07, 2012 5:56 am

OregonBuddhist wrote:Thank you. If it is a Japanese word, does it follow that while it isn't specific to any one sect or school, it IS however specific to Japanese Buddhism?


Gassho (or gassho-in) is the Japanese term for that mudra of joining the palms. It's just the Japanese way of sounding the characters 合掌 [印]. So you're unlikely to hear someone call that hand position "gassho" outside of a Japanese-language context.

Of course you'll hear other words for the same thing.

~ Meido
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Re: What does "Gassho" mean?

Postby OregonBuddhist » Wed Aug 08, 2012 4:17 am

Thank you.
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