View Full Version : "Gassho"

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12-09-2008, 03:57 PM
I was first gonna post asking what it's called when one offers humility in connection with the gesture of two hands clasped together at chest or head level; i did some searching first and found that it is called Gassho. Thus combined with a bow it is Gassho Rei.
My question: I've been told that to make this gesture towards a person is inappropriate because the gesture is reserved for the deceased, or some designated spirit (O-sensei, when bowing towards the shomen of the dojo)--is this true?

I have seen others do a sort-of gassho gesture towards each other while standing---is there a difference?

Is this gesture tied to Shinto ritual?, or is it a more general gestrure--the same found in other (eastern) cultures?

Can anyone shed light on this custom?



Joe McParland
12-09-2008, 07:19 PM
Seen it in Zen (sometimes the one-handed variety)---between monks, between monk and lay person, and between lay people---and in Yoga. Held the door for an elderly Korean fellow at a grocery store and he gave one such quick but beautiful bow in thanks. Haven't seen it in Aikido yet though.

12-09-2008, 08:14 PM
Buddhist, I think, rather than shinto. We give a formal gassho to the shomen before and and after practise, and I have seen Indians use a lower gassho for greeting, but I've never seen that on the mat...

12-16-2008, 08:06 PM
It is not a typical Korean custom by any means.

Janet Rosen
12-16-2008, 10:58 PM
In my job as nurse case manager with frail low income seniors I visit a couple of elderly Chinese Buddhist nuns at a local monastery. They greet me with this bow and gesture and I return it in kind.

12-17-2008, 08:06 AM
Well, there is this:


Ethan Weisgard
12-18-2008, 04:05 PM
In Japan, when receiving important things, you sometimes see the receiver put his hands together in gassho before receiving the item (usually a gift or something of this sort). I have had a Japanese student training with me (Yondan rank, from Kyoto) who had the nice custom of putting his hands together in gassho when bowing (zarei) to his partner after each technique (indicating thanks). When you say "itadakimasu" before starting to eat your meal in Japan, some people put their hands together in gassho. So basically, I see it as a means of indicating thankfulness in certain special situations.

In aiki,

Ethan Weisgard