Oshobob – The
The author of this piece, "Oshobob", is a
Chinese scholar with a deep interest in Osho and Chan / Zen. At one
had a huge site with hundreds of pages exploring many aspects of these
themes. That site has disappeared but some pages have been preserved.
The page below is one of them, a sort of afterthought relating
to another page which explored the
the word "osho", at What is an Osho? It was written in 2007.
... What is an Osho?
Namaste and beyond ... the continuing search
The greeting of the hands pressed
together was originally developed in India, and is called namaste. It
means "I bow down to you." There is another word in Sanskrit, anjali,
which identifies the same greeting between people, and it means "divine
offering." Combining them, the ever prevalent exchange widely practiced
in the East many times is translated as "I bow down to the divine in
In China, this greeting of palms held together, used historically
mainly by Buddhists, is called hezhang -- the characters are shown
Interestingly enough, the name for
the Chinese Zen masters is
heshang. This is pronounced almost the same as the name for the
folded hands greeting -- hezhang -- but they are two different
characters. The connection here is obvious. It is a very
good example of how the Chinese create and play with their
language. You can see the character zhang (palm) is a
"sound-meaning" combo -- the top part of the character is the same as
the "shang" in heshang, compressed. This is the sound component. The
bottom part is the ideogram for hand in Chinese -- shou. This is the
The Japanese use the same characters for both words -- but pronounce
them differently. Hezhang becomes "gassho" in Japanese (for the
hand together greeting -- namaste). And Heshang becomes Osho --
at least in the Zen and Pure Land Buddhist Sects of Japan. In the
Tendai Sect it is pronounced "Kasho", and in the Shingon Sect (derived
from Tibetan Buddhism) it is pronounced "Washo."
A little confusing maybe? Sure...welcome to the Far East.
It looks like the derivation of the word Osho may come more from the
original word for the palms together greeting than from the usually
accepted derivation of upadhyaya (or even, acharya), both Indian words
for "teachers". Very possibly all the words were created nearly
simultaneously, maybe on parallel tracks.