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.