When Life is Over

Mary Oliver wrote this poem about when life is over. This poem arrived yesterday from Zen Master Cheri Huber in her daily Peace Quote email.

When it’s over, I want to say: All my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms
– Mary Oliver

Ruth Denison

Ruth Denison, 1922-2015

This was the same day that I learned about the passing of Ruth Denison on February 26. Ruth Denison was a wonderful vipassana meditation teacher who created a foundation to support the nuns from the Thai Forest Tradition of Ajahn Chah. Jack Kornfield said that she was “one of our most amazing Buddhist elders, whose vision has helped plant the Dhamma in the West.” She will be greatly missed.

In other news about when life is over, Plum Village, the home of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay) reported that a beloved young dharma sister, Kayla Mueller, died in Syria earlier this month. The report says,

Kayla was captured by Daaesh militants in August 2013, as she was leaving a Spanish Doctors Without Borders hospital in Aleppo, Syria, and had been held in captivity since. The militants claimed that she died in a Jordanian air-raid which hit her building on February 6th, 2015. Although it seems clear she has passed away, the circumstances of her death remain uncertain. [Read More…]

This is a great sadness for all of us connected to Thay. One of her close friends and dharma sister Xenia wrote the following poem in memory of Kayla:

My Dear friend,
We knew each other for a moment.
We met between the Sunflowers
in the South of France
Along the path of Mindfulness
To transform suffering
With compassion.
Side by side we dreamed as sisters
In between Sangha breaths and Thay’s words
We remembered our true names
Deep peace and
Loving Kindness.
Beside the Lotus pond.
Beside the Pine
Wherever you are,
Everywhere you are,
remember to come back to this moment
Of deep peace.
Your true home.
Still under the same moon flowers
we continue.

The Plum Village article has more pictures and information about Kayla here.

Finally, last Sunday, I learned about the passing of my sister-in-law’s father, Leon. He was an orthodox Jew with Alzheimer’s disease. My father knew him since he was 16. I seem to remember that Leon’s father worked for my dad.

As February, 2015 passes away later today, let’s take a moment to remember these three people from the depths of our hearts. We only have one life to live, so let’s enjoy every moment.

Books about Ruth Denison

Dancing in the Dharma: The Life and Teachings of Ruth Denison

Sandy Boucher

Ruth Denison was one of the great innovators in the early years of Buddhism in the West. In this portrait of her extraordinary life, from a youth in Nazi-dominated Germany to the center of the counterculture in the sixties and seventies, Boucher captures Denison’s distinctive voice and the journey o… [Read More…]

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