Buddhist vocab in Japanese everyday use, part 2Posted: March 24, 2010 | Author: Doug | Filed under: Japanese | 7 Comments »
As long-time readers may have noticed, I like tracking examples of Buddhist terms in common Japanese-vernacular, and recently I stumbled upon another while reading the little manga book on keigo. In one example scene, Chibi Marukochan’s mom is talking to her dad about someone who passed away recently and leads to a little conversation:
(takahashisan hyakusai de onakunari ni nattanda
Mr Takahashi passed away at 100)
(daiōjō tte nani? What is daiōjō ?)
(omoinokosu koto naku yasurakani naku naru koto ja yo
It’s when you can die peacefully without regret.)
But the word 大往生 really caught my attention. The term ōjō (往生) is familiar because it’s the Buddhist term for rebirth in a Buddha’s Pure Land, usually the Pure Land of Amitabha Buddha. So the dai (大) just means “great”. Yet the term, corroborated by online dictionary, nowadays means a peaceful death.
As with other Buddhist terms, as they become vernacular they lose the religious element somewhat, probably the same way Judaeo-Christian terms do in English. But the cultural significance is still there.
P.S. The same page also taught the term ご愁傷様でございます (goshūōsama de gozaimasu) which is something polite and respectful to someone whose lost a loved one recently. Just an FYI.