The Practice Takes Root (1980 to 1984)
This period sees the growth of the sangha. Regular Sunday zazenkai take place every Sunday at St. Bridget’s. Sesshin with Koun Roshi also continue to be held. The Leyte sesshin in 1978, attended by Father Enomiya LaSalle, S.J., Fr. Willigis Jaeger, O.S.B. and several other senior members of the Sanbo Kyodan from different nations, is one of the landmark events of this period.
In August 1980, Yamada Koun Roshi grants Sr. Elaine the full functions and powers of a Roshi. As Roshi, Sr. Elaine can now confirm kensho experiences on her own.
1981 is marked by the zendo’s incorporation as the Manila San-un Zendo, Inc. a non-stock, non-profit institution. This is done to acquire a legal personality that will enable the sangha to buy a property that will be its own home.
Ango, periods of intensive practice are held at the Evangelista and the Nubla residences in 1982 and 1983 respectively. In 1983, Sr. Elaine starts teaching zen to political detainees and the Bago Bantay zendo is born. She also embarks on the formation of the next batch of leaders of the sangha. A few seniors are sent to Kamakura to attend sesshin and to undertake intensive koan study with Koun Roshi.
In late 1983 – early 1984, the sangha starts looking for a permanent home in earnest. After looking at several properties, some members of the sangha find the Marikina house and the sangha purchases it for P600,000 around September 1984. The first installment, one third of the total amount, is paid from the proceeds of a donation by Vicente Chuidian, a friend of Alfred Tong. The first sesshin and the first yaza are held in the zendo in October-November and December, respectively. Also in December 1984, the first major fund-raising project (a night of Ballet Philippines’ presentation of Cinderella ) is held. The proceeds from this project provide the money for second installment for the Marikina property.