Baby Names from the East: Bodhi, Shanti, Karuma, Zen

Baby names like Zen and Bodhi have been on the rise lately, so I thought it would be fun to check out some of the other baby names that come from words we’re familiar with through Eastern thought and practices (e.g., Buddhism, yoga). Here are 50 examples I’ve spotted in the U.S. data.

I’ve only included simple/literal definitions, but most of these refer to larger concepts, actions, or things. They come from Sanskrit unless otherwise noted.

  • Advaita, “nondualism”
  • Akasha, “aether”
  • Amrita, “immortality” (or “elixir of immortality,” “nectar”)
  • Asana, “sitting posture”
  • Bhakti, “devotion”
  • Bindu, “point,” “dot”
  • Bodhi, “awakening,” enlightenment”
  • Bodhisattva, “one who seeks awakening”
  • Chanda, “intention,” “desire”
  • Darshan, “viewing”
  • Dharma, “right way of living”
  • Dhyana, “meditation”
  • Diksha, “initiation”
  • Drishti, “focused gaze”
  • Guru, “teacher”
  • Jhana, the Pali form of Dhyana
  • Karma, “action, “work” (past deeds)
  • Karuna, “compassion”
  • Koan, a paradoxical statement/question in Zen Buddhism
  • Kosha, “sheath”
  • Manas, “thought”
  • Mandala, “circle”
  • Mantra, a sacred utterance (syllable, word, or verse)
  • Maya, “magic,” “illusion”
  • Metta, “loving-kindness”
  • Moksha, “release,” “liberate”
  • Nikaya, “assemblage”
  • Nirvana, “blowing out” (ultimate spiritual goal in Buddhism)
  • Nyasa, “placing”
  • Ojas, “vigor”
  • Om, sacred syllable (Mantra)
  • Prajna, “wisdom”
  • Prakriti, “nature,” “source”
  • Rishi, a sage
  • Sadhana, “realization”
  • Samadhi, “total self-connectedness”
  • Samatha, “tranquility”
  • Samsara, “flowing around” (continuous cycle of rebirth)
  • Satori, Japanese, “spiritual awakening”
  • Satya, “truth”
  • Shakti, “power,” “energy”
  • Shanti, “inner peace”
  • Siddhi, a super-normal power
  • Sila, “right conduct”
  • Tendai, a Japanese Buddhist sect
  • Turiya, “fourth (state)”
  • Tantra, “loom”
  • Vidya, “knowledge”
  • Yogi, a practitioner of yoga
  • Zen, the Japanese form of Dhyana

Would you use any of the above as a baby name?

Sources: Sanskrit Top 40: Must-Learn Lingo for Yogis, 200 Key Sanskrit Yoga Terms, Buddhism – Wikipedia

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