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Word of the Week (123): TALAPOIN (probability 3486), by David Sutton

TALAPOIN is a title of respect for a Buddhist monk, used especially in Myanmar: the word comes via Portuguese from the Old Peguan tala poi, meaning my lord. (Peguan is the language spoken in southeastern Myanmar and western Thailand, more commonly known as Mon). Oddly enough, the word is also used for a small African monkey with grey-green fur: in what way this resembles a Buddhist monk is not clear to me.

Let's look at some more words for Buddhist personnel, working our way up through the ranks. A CHELA is a Buddhist disciple (the word can also mean an arthropod's claw, in which case the plural is CHELAE rather than CHELAS). A BHIKHU or BHIKKHUNI is a fully ordained Buddhist monk. A BONZE is a Buddhist religious teacher. A ROSHI is also a teacher, specifically of Zen Buddhism. An ARHAT or LOHAN is a Buddhist who has attained NIRVANA, the ultimate bliss of union with the divine; ARHAT yields ARHATSHIP. The whole Buddhist community, or Buddhist monastic order, is called the SANGHA.

And finally it is worth noting that BUDDHA itself is playable: without a capital it means a statue or picture of the Buddha.


   













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