The 8th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Literally a "member" (sha 者) of the "lower ranks" (an 行). To be distinguished from gyōja 行者, a word written with the same two Chinese characters, which denotes a religious "ascetic" or "practitioner." A number of minor positions in a monastery bureaucracy are designated as "assistants." In medieval China and Japan, those positions were held by postulants (anja 行者), i.e. lay candidates for monastic ordination, but in present day Japanese Zen they are held by monks in training (unsui 雲水). "postulant."