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Sanskrit for a state of deep contemplation or meditation, from the root dhyai, contemplate, call to mind, recollect, ponder. In Mahayana Buddhism, it is the fifth of the six (or ten) PARAMITAS. In Pali, it is written jhana, in Hindi dhyan. When Buddhism spread to China, it was pronounced chan (written ch’an in the Wade-Giles system of transliteration) and became the name of the meditative sect Chan Buddhism. That, in turn, spread to Japan as Zen.

Helena P. BLAVATSKY makes frequent mention in The Secret Doctrine of beings called “Dhyan-Chohans” as well as mention of “Dhyani-Buddhas” which she identifies in her Theosophical Glossary as “The Lords of Light” and Buddhas “of the Merciful Heart” respectively. But since the latter are clearly written dhyani-buddhas in Buddhist literature, the former must also be “Dhyani-Chohans”, the latter word being a Tibetan, not a Sanskrit, term. That would make them Lords (chohans) of Contemplation and Buddhas of Contemplation respectively.

The Stanzas upon which The Secret Doctrine is based are identified as the Stanzas of Dzyan, where dzyan sounds like it would be cognate with dhyana, but one scholar suggests that it is probably cognate with the Sanskrit term JÑANA, i.e., “Knowledge.”



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