When “Trungpa” comes up “turnip,” and your “sangha” becomes “sangria,” you know you’re in cyberspace. A secular computer spell-check program, when fed Buddhist words, suggested some English alternatives, offered here with dharma definitions of their own.

Arhat:Skt., lit. “worthy one”; one in whom all defilements and passions have been extinguished

Overheat:an indication that you might need an extinguisher

Mala:Skt., lit. “garland, rose”; Buddhist rosary used to count repetitions of a mantra, often sold in temples; also used as adornment

Mall:a temple to the sale of adornments where, these days, malas may be found

Mandala:Skt., lit. “circle, arch, section”; a symbolic representation of cosmic forces in the universe; often used as a tool for meditation

Manual:a symbolic representation of a car or other appliance; often used as a tool for confusion

Paramitas:Skt., lit. “that which has reached the other shore”; The paramitas, generally translated as “the perfections,” are the six virtues perfected by a bodhisattva in the course of development; they are generosity, discipline, patience, energy or exertion, meditation, and wisdom.

Parameters:limits or boundaries; what may prevent you from reaching the other shore

Rinzai:Jap.; one of the principle schools of Zen; stresses koan study as the most expedient route to enlightenment

Rinse:the most expedient route to enlightened hair

Samsara:Skt., lit. “journeying”; a succession of rebirths that a being goes through until it has attained liberation and entered nirvana; samsara is conditioned by hatred, desire, and delusion

Samson:biblical figure who resided, with his wife, in samsara

Sensei:Jap., lit. “teacher”; honorific bestowed on Zen priests

Sense:What every sensei needs

Tenzo:Jap.; term for head cook of a monastery. This position is considered one of the most important in a monastery and therefore is generally held by an advanced elder monk

Tense:What a novice would feel if given the job of tenzo

Thangka:Tib., lit. “picture, painting”: Tibetan artwork used for visual meditations to awaken wisdom, compassion, and gratitude

Thanks:gratitude without wisdom or compassion

Trungpa:Tib., name of the late Ven. Chogyam Trungpa; Many people’s favorite teacher

Turnip:Many people’s least favorite vegetable

Zafu:Jap., lit. “sitting cushion”: a hard round cushion used for meditation

Safe:what you alternately will and will not feel sitting on a zafu

Zazen:Jap., lit. “sitting absorption”: meditative practice taught in Zen as the most direct route out of samsara and to enlightenment

Daze:a condition very common to people doing zazen; a condition that typifies existence in samsara

Zendo:Jap., lit. “Zen hall,” a large room in which zazen, or sitting meditation, is practiced; meditators often face the wall in a zendo

End:What meditators face while facing the wall in a zendo

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