Word of the Week (122): BUTSUDAN (probability 28029), by David Sutton

A BUTSUDAN is a small household altar used in Buddhist devotions; the word is Japanese. I remember BUTSUDAN with particular affection because some years back when I used to set a 'Tough Twenty' anagram quiz on the world-scrabble site this was one of the few words ever to defeat the great Australian wordsmith Andrew Fisher; I trust that Andrew remembers it with equal affection!

Buddhism gives us quite a few interesting and useful words. To take just devotional buildings, for example, we have CHORTEN, a Buddhist shrine, GOMPA, a Buddhist temple in Tibet, DAGABA or DAGOBA, a dome-shaped structure built over the remains or relics of a Buddhist saint, and STUPA, a mound commemorative of the Buddha himself. Then there is VIHARA, a Buddhist or Jain temple, WAT, a Thai Buddhist temple or monastery, TORAN or TORANA, a sacred Buddhist gateway, and MANI, a stone prayer wall in a Tibetan Buddhist temple, usually carved with sacred images or texts.

We'll continue the Buddhist theme next week.


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