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Featured Sangha Member: Rei Greene

Monday, June 03, 2024 11:52 AM | Program Administrator (Administrator)

This month’s featured sangha member (and related story) is Kandō Rei Greene. Rei was an indisputably needed component of the sangha’s recent Japan pilgrimage. She worked with Nomon Tim for nearly two years on backbone planning and was indispensable in-country as the interpreter and group leader. I heard again and again how much Rei was appreciated for her organization and tremendous support once in Japan. Deep bows!

I spoke with Rei recently to learn more about how her Japan journey began over 20 years ago, and how her love of Japan continues still.

Desiree: How did that first trip to Japan unfold?

Rei: The first time I had the chance to travel and live in Japan was through winning one of two scholarship offerings, back around 2002. The scholarship was for a one-year stay in Japan as an exchange student, and took place during half of my junior year and into half of my senior year in high school.

My parents - especially my mother - were furious! Not only about going, but applying in the first place, without permission! However, despite “initial grounding,” I obviously went, then went back after my first year in college to teach English.

Desiree: What did you especially enjoy this trip?

Rei: I loved connecting with the Japanese people once again. It was so enjoyable to interact with the three bilingual tour guides and I was so happy to be reconnected with my host family!

Desiree: What were some other highlights?

Rei: I really enjoyed meeting the “Marathon Monk”, Dai Ajari-sama, who ran marathons before regular practice and achieved the 7 year, 1,000 day challenge that only 46 men have completed since 1885.

Also enjoyable was tasting the delicious shojin-ryori or temple food, experiencing the small and quite strenuous part of the Kumano-kodo pilgrimage trail, and visiting the nun’s training monastery. And, of course, visiting Shunryu Suzuki’s family at Rinso-in was very warm and enjoyable.

Desiree: Any last words?

Rei: Despite worries about transportation, especially buses and coming together with everyone, everything worked out well.

I’m so grateful that everyone involved were seasoned travelers who were very independent and resourceful! I’m so grateful for the trust that I received from everyone and for the generosity of the sangha to make it possible for me to return to this place I love! Thank you!


Thank you, Kando Rei, for the tremendous energy in planning, organizing and carrying everyone through this journey...such a gift!

~Much gratitude, IkuShun Desiree

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