February 16, 2016
Funeral Statements by Tenshin Reb Anderson, Zenkei Blanche Hartman, and Fu Schroeder

The following statements were placed on the altar at Mitsu Suzuki Sensei’s funeral at Rinso-in on January 14.


Photo: Eijun Linda Cutts


Oh, wondrous teacher-mother-bodhisattva, shibo bosatsu, you lived a great and difficult life indeed. And you appreciated and taught what we can learn through difficulties.

In the midst of life and death and war, you cared for and nurtured your own children and the children of many other families. Then a great day came for us when you came to America where you cared for and nurtured Zen students.

You supported and protected Suzuki Shunryu Roshi so he could teach us the Buddha way. At the same time you supported and cared for us young Zen students so we could study with him and you gently showed us the good ways to be with a teacher.

After Suzuki Roshi entered nirvana you stayed with us for many years and continued to help us care for the Bodhisattva path.

Hot water, green tea, and homemade pickles; you were like a subtle fragrance that perfumed the halls and gardens of Sokoji and City Center.

Now we are filled with gratitude and appreciation for your life with us and our life with you. We wholeheartedly pray the Dharma doors of peace and ease open wide for you.

Respectfully offered,
Nine bows,
Tenshin Reb Anderson
Fourth Abbot of San Francisco Zen Center


Suzuki Sensei was an inspiration to me, and to all of us.

After coming to the U.S., Shunryu Suzuki Roshi gave Okusan a book on Tea (Chado) and suggested that she study Chado, which she did. She came to understand that he was preparing her to be a teacher in her own right. Teaching Tea was a way for her to enter a teacher-student relationship, and it was a good way for some people to enter Zen practice.

She also demonstrated to us how to care for a temple, how to make daikon pickles, how to keep flowers fresh on the altar, the natural beauty of a single flower, how to enter a relationship with birds, plants, altars, and how to care for tatami mats.

My memory is not sufficient to share all the subtle ways that she wove the attitude of Chado into her daily activity.

Okusan was an inspiration to me . . . to all of us.

With a deep, deep bow of gratitude,


Dear teacher and beloved temple wife . . . Okusan.

You came to America to support the tiny sprout of Zen practice as the companion to our founding teacher, Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. He left before the sprout had grown very large. But you stayed and stayed, not only with your adopted temple family in America, but in your home in Japan, for longer than any of us could possibly have imagined. 102 years of giving love and wisdom to us all. Truly a World-Honored One.  Now you have gone to rest. I told Suzuki Roshi in the Kaisando at Tassajara that you had were on your way. I have a happy feeling that he was already there to welcome you.

A thousand bows of gratitude from your loyal tea student of long ago,
Abiding Abbess Furyu Doshin
Green Dragon Temple


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