Laying the Groundwork for a Smooth Transition (1989 to 2000)
In 1989 the first seven seniors complete their koan studies. Three of them are trained by Sr. Elaine to become zen teachers: Tony Perlas Sensei, Sr. Rosario Battung Sensei and Nenates Pineda Sensei.
In the same year, Yamada Koun Roshi passes away in Japan and the Sanbo Kyodan is reorganized. After a few months, Kubota Ji’un Roshi becomes abbot. A system for training teachers and would-be teachers is institutionalized. A four-tier structure emerges: assistant teacher, teacher, associate master, authentic master. The first two are entitled to be called sensei and the latter two Roshi. Kenshukai – teacher’s meetings – start to be held annually.
Towards the end of the decade, it becomes certain that Sr. Elaine would be reassigned by Our Lady’s Missionaries and would have to leave the Philippines for good. Before her departure, she continues to train more seniors, starts a sangha in Davao and reactivates the Baguio sangha.
In 1991, Sr. Elaine is assigned by her community to work in England. She appoints Tony Perlas Sensei to take over as President of the sangha with Nenates Pineda Sensei as Vice President. More kensho experiences are confirmed in the Philippine sangha. In England, Sr. Elaine starts a zendo in Oxford, in addition to her work with the Phoenix Prison Trust.
Starting in 1993, Kubota Roshi and Yamada Ryoun Roshi come regularly to hold sesshin in the Philippines. Most of these sesshin are held in Maryridge, a convent of the Good Shepherd sisters in Tagaytay . Sister Rosario sensei had established a zendo in Maryridge where she gave orientation sessions and led zazenkai. Nenates Sensei and Sr. Rosario Sensei participate in the Sanbo Kyodan kenshukai, a meeting of Sanbo Kyodan zen teahers several times.
By the mid-90s, all the three teachers originally appointed by Sister Elaine are accredited as Zen Teachers of the Sanbo Kyodan. Assistant teachers of the Sanbo Kyodan are also appointed from the new batch of seniors: Rollie del Rosario, Carmen Afable, Sr. Esper Clapano and Elda Perez.