February 19, 2016
Memorial Service for Mitsu Suzuki Sensei, February 27, 3pm
Mitsu Suzuki Sensei outside City Center in the Nineties. Photo: Tony Patchell

Mitsu Suzuki Sensei outside City Center in the Nineties. Photo: Tony Patchell

On Saturday, February 27, at 3 pm, there will be a ceremony in memory of Mitsu Suzuki Sensei in the Buddha Hall at City Center (the event will also be Live Streamed). All are invited; please respond to ggfabbessassist@sfzc.org if you plan to attend. (Street parking near City Center is very limited. Please carpool or take public transit if possible.)



  1. Layla Smith Bockhorst

    When I was a new young priest Okusan pulled me aside after morning service one day and told me I should fix the hem of my underrobe, which was coming unravelled. I tended to ignore robe repairs until they got really noticeable, but after her gentle chastisement I tried to change my ways. She said that as a priest I needed to pay attention and take good care of my robes just like I needed to pay attention and take care of everything.

  2. Basya Petnick

    I lived at 300 Page during some of the years that Okusan Suzuki-sensei had a small apartment on the second floor.

    She was, indeed, the Lady of House. She dressed appropriately at all times and she dressed beautifully when she went out. She exercised regularly and set the good example in all she quietly did. She treated everyone and everything with friendliness and kindness and respect. If you gave her something in a container, she would never return the container empty– there would always be something pretty or something tasty in it. I tried hard to give her gifts without her knowing who or where they they came from. I would leave a little present on the table by her door, where she received lots of cards and gifts. I would leave a gift with no card at two o’clock in the morning when the whole building, the whole city was sleeping, but she would know it was me and then there would soon be a present at my door. I’ll never know how she knew. When I would see her in the building she would laugh.

    She wanted me to be her anja but at he time I was hell bent on going to Tassajara so I didn’t do it–didn’t take care of her. I felt so guilty and couldn’t forgive myself. But she forgave me. There were no words about being her anja/not being her anja. I missed her terribly all the years after she returned to Japan, although of course it ws good for hero home. Once when she visited, we saw one another at the reception following Katherine Thanas’ Mountain Seat ceremony and she took me in her arms and held me and held me and held me the most unimaginably long time. I have never been held quite like that, never knew that type of grandmother love before or since.

    I miss the beautiful way she did things, the care and attention she gave to the Founder’s Hall, her flower arrangements and her tea ceremony. I feel sorry for the students of today to have to live in the building without her. We were so lucky to have known Okusan all those years. What a blessing!

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