On July 21st, The Rinzai-Ji Zen Temple celebrated the 105th birthday of the temple’s spiritual founder and leader, Zen Master Joshu Sasaki.
They commemorated the 50th anniversary of his arrival in the USA. Festivities began at the Rinzai-Ji Temple at 2505 Cimarron Street (and Adams) and continued onto the opulent grounds of the UCLA Clark Library.
Joshu Sasaki Roshi was born near Sendai Japan in April 1907. At 14 years he began his life as a Zen student, at 21 he was ordained an Osho (priest) and at 40 became a Roshi (title given to a zen master). On July 21, 1962, at age 55 he arrived in the United States with an English translation book and a vision of establishing a Rinzai zen practice in America. By 1968 and with 200 students he celebrated the opening of the Temple on the Cimarron property, establishing the first of several Rinzai Zen Centers in America. Between then and the present the temple has hosted many zen retreats and offers meditation instruction. Even at his age of 105 Roshi Sasaki remains the abbott and inspirational leader of the Rinzai-Ji Zen Center.
Guests at the event numbered approximately 240 and included a delegation of zen monks and lay people from Japan as well as a large number of zen monks and priests, ordained by Roshi Sasaki.
Also several of the guests were lay people from around the world and the local community.
To everyone’s delight and pleasure Roshi Sasaki gave a special dharma talk at the morning ceremony and pleased his students by promising to live to 120. Roshi thanked everyone for coming to honor his efforts to bring his style of Zen teaching to the United States.
Rinzai-ji Zen Center is open to the public for morning and evening meditations during the week and a Sunday meeting. Meditations are in a formal setting and a brief orientation for new comers is also provided. For more information contact Genshin at 323-732.2263. The Rinzai-Ji web page is www.rinzaiji.org.