The greatest gift is the
gift of the teachings
Yvonne Rand's Dharma Talks at Insight Meditation Community of Berkeley
Yvonne Rand
Yvonne Rand was a meditation teacher and lay householder priest in the Soto Zen Buddhist tradition, active from 1972 until her death in 2020. She started her studies in Eastern religion while an undergraduate at Stanford University, where she majored in Chinese intellectual history. Rand became a close student of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi in 1966, served as his personal assistant and advisor, and with his wife Mitsu Suzuki, cared for him through his dying and death in 1971. She was a founder of the San Francisco Zen Center, was ordained as a priest there, served on the board of directors for many years, and continued to practice and teach there for many years. She studied with Dainin Katagiri Roshi and received dharma transmission from him in 1989. In the course of her career, her profound interest in the Dharma led her to study closely with notable teachers in various Buddhist traditions, including Rinzai Zen with Maureen Stuart Roshi and Shodo Harada Roshi; Theravada Buddhism with Ven. Henepola Gunaratana and Achan Sumedho; and the Himalayan Buddhist tradition with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Lama Anagarika Govinda, and Tara Tulku Rinpoche. Rand was instrumental in developing a ceremony of remembrance in the West called the Jizo Ceremony (after the Japanese bodhisattva) for children, born and unborn, who have died. This ceremony continues as part of her Dharma legacy, as numerous other Buddhist teachers have taken it up. Her understanding of the inseparability of life and death led her to sit with and tend people in end-of-life care over many decades. She also taught and counseled extensively both professional and volunteer caregivers working with the terminally ill.
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