October 31, 2011
Rinso-in 500th Anniversary of Founder

Sojun Mel Weitsman, Zenkei Blanche Hartman, Chuck Gould, and Joan Amaral traveled to Japan to participate in ceremonies commemorating the 500th memorial service of the founder of Rinso-in.


Blanche, Mel, and Chuck at breakfast

Hoitsu Suzuki Roshi, the abbot of Rinso-in and Shunryu Suzuki’s son, officiated at the ceremonies on October 21-23. Shungo Suzuki, Hoitsu’s son, is now in charge of Rinso-in and coordinated all the events over the course of the three days. The ceremonies included abbots from Rinso-in’s daughter temples and the abbot of Rinso-in’s “father” temple as well as a contingent from Eihei-ji.

Rinso-in is wonderfully supported by many people — more than 500 families are members of Rinso-in — and Shungo is opening it up to all kinds of events. Over the weekend there was a puppet show, a stand-up comedian, and a Brazilian samba band.

Shungo Suzuki

Shungo Suzuki with Temple Members

It was moving to watch Hoitsu and Shungo move seamlessly in and out of their formal roles, playing with the many children who, along with their toys, occupy a significant portion of the family space in the temple.

We were welcomed into the family home adjoining the temple with open arms. One morning Hoitsu cooked breakfast for us! A high point for Blanche was a visit by Mitsu Suzuki Sensei, Shunryu Suzuki’s widow, who traveled from the nearby city of Shizuoka. She sends her love to all those students who remember her.

A favorite moment and teaching for Chuck was when Hoitsu burst out with a Japanese version of “do, a deer” with his grandchildren singing along in the backseat of the car.



The group sat zazen in the morning and participated in service, with Hoitsu and Shungo multi-tasking in multiple roles.


Joan and Mel

Joan Amaral and Mel Weitsman at Rinso-in