Announcing the new AZC Ino – Head of the Meditation Hall

Mako Voelkel News Archive

Welcoming AZC Sangha Member & Resident Bruce Smith as Ino – Head of the Meditation Hall

What is an “Ino”?
In Soto Zen: An Ino provides practitioners with the container of practice and cultivates peace and harmony in the Sangha by maintaining the discipline and decorum of the traditional Zen forms of practice.

In the Pure Rules, Dogen Zenji instructs the Ino to be the “giver of joy to the assembly and to manage the mediation hall,” to care for practitioners with “courtesy and esteem… and to honor the system of seniority.” The Ino cares for the temple diligently by making sure that “implements and supplies are in working order and to notice if they are kept neatly and that the temperature in the zendo is neither too hot nor too cold. The Ino takes care that residents have food, clothing, bedding, and proper medical attention.” The Ino is also the disciplinarian, and as such if, “there is a violation of the rules, for serious matters, after getting the abbot’s approval, expels the person from the assembly. The Ino manages troublesome disputes among the residents.”

“The Ino job is called the delight of the assembly in China. The position of Ino is just like the majestic dignity of all the Buddha tathagatas. So this is called the Ino’s regarding with love all who arrive and compassionately nourishing practitioners, so that the assembly’s heart becomes the Ino’s own heart and the mindfulness of the Way becomes the Ino’s own mindfulness. The Ino is just like the rudder of a boat crossing the great river or a long rainy spell after a great drought.”

At AZC: The Ino maintains the zendo forms, space, schedules, and training, and encourages residents and guests to attend practice events. He or she provides orientation, scheduling and everyday training in zendo forms and jobs, models zendo deportment and attendance, and supports the foundation of the Zen training programs of the Austin Zen Center.

Please welcome and support Bruce in his new role as “bringer of joy”!