Dharmavidya writes, of a decision we made during the Amida Ordained Conclave:
The term gansha (shortened version of Ganko-sha) means 'person of the vow'. "Gan" means a vow or prayer
or deep aspiration as in the key phrase from Tan Butsu Ge "Gan ga sa
butsu" = "my prayer [is that I] become buddha". "Sha" means person. So
the term gansha has a double meaning. On the one side it means a person
who lives in the light of Amida's vow - and the vows of all buddhas of
all times. On the other side it means someone who longs to become
buddha for the sake of all sentient beings. When we operate from an
other-power perspective we know that we do not have the power ourselves
to make ourselves into buddhas, but we know that if we long for it the
buddhas who do have such power will hear and shed their light upon us.
Thus through our prayer or longing, our lives will become instruments
of liberation for many beings even though to ourselves the process will
remain mysterious. Buddhism has always placed great store upon a
person's gan. According to the gan, so the future. It matters what we
dedicate ourselves to, however good at fulfilling that dedication we
may be because this is what will work upon the karmic stream.
We have decided that within the Amida Order we shall use the term gansha to refer particularly to those who have taken the 156 precepts - a group that have heretofore been referred to as "chaplains". This has become overly confusing since "chaplain" is also, and primarily, a functional term. We have therefore had the situation where there were chaplains who did not do much chaplaincy and some people doing chaplaincy who were not chaplains. It was clear, therefore, that a shift of terminology was called for. For the time being this development is still experimental, but if it sticks we will later propose that it be incorporated into Provisions which is the constitutional document for Amida-shu.