Kobun Chino, Angie’s Teacher
Kobun Chino always wanted to go to America. When he was invited to help with the establishment of Tassajara by Suzuki Roshi in 1967, Kobun was engaged in special Soto training at Eiheiji Monastery. He asked Koei Chino Roshi, his teacher, three times for permission to come and each time was refused. Chino Roshi adopted Kobun at age 14 with the expectation of him inheriting Chino Roshi’s temple one day. Needless to state, Kobun Chino came to America anyway.It takes a person with deep knowledge of Buddhist tradition to be able to transfer its essence to another culture. Born February 1, 1938, into a family of priests in Niigata Prefecture, Kobun grew up in his father’s Soto Zen Temple, Jokoji in Kamo, Japan. His early childhood was influenced by war, financially hard times, and his father’s death when Kobun was eight years old. He was ordained at age12, later adopted, and given dharma transmission at the age of 28 by Chino Roshi. Kobun received a Master’s degree in Mahayana Buddhism from Komazawa University in 1965.In February 1970, Kobun Chino became the Chief Priest for Haiku Zendo in Los Altos. In fact, Kobun’s airfare to America was paid by the Haiku Zendo sangha. In 1979, Bodhi students, an outgrowth of Haiku Zendo, purchased the old Pacific High School rural property along Skyline Boulevard for a retreat center for Kobun and his students. This property became Jikoji in 1983 and was officially registered as a temple of the Soto Zen School in 1984. Soon Kobun Chino became known as a traveling teacher as he divided his time among the Jikoji, Hokoji (New Mexico), and Shambhala sanghas in the United States and Europe. He later helped create new zendos in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Kobun had a special relationship with Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Naropa University in Colorado.Kobun Chino was teaching frequently and acting as World Wisdom Chair at Naropa when he died July 29, 2002 in a drowning accident. His death occurred at the mountain home of his Dharma heir, Vanja Palmers, in Switzerland. Maya, Kobun’s five year old daughter, disappeared from a dock where she was playing and he tried to save her. They both died in the shallow, icy cold water. Kobun’s and Maya’s ashes are placed in the many places he taught and his influence on American Buddhists will be everlasting. Angie Boissevain was undergoing transmission when Kobun died and was officially transmitted by Vanja Palmers in 2004, along with Carolyn Atkinson and Jean Leyshon.