Departing Elders

Honored elders play a large role in life, especially in Asia, and I have been blessed by many. In recent weeks, three have passed: Bishop Julio X Labayen, ocd (Philippines); Ajahn Runjuan Indarakamhaeng (Siam); and now Br. Jarlath d’Souza, csc (Bangladesh). I want to write proper memorials for each of them but their deaths have come in quick succession and the cumulative loss — midst fond memories and great gratitude — is more than I would have thought. Ah, the heart doesn’t ‘think’ that way. Time is needed.

For now, I’ll share this link sent by an old friend from Bangladesh:

http://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/interviews/a-discussion-with-jarlath-d-souza-secretary-of-bangladesh-inter-religious-center-for-peace-and-justice

Br. Jarlath is the finest exemplar of inter-religious work I have met. He selflessly supported our Buddhist friends from the Chittagong Hill Tracts and other religious minorities. Through BICPAJ, he hosted and facilitated my visits to Bangla and the CHTs. He showed and explained realities of his diverse country. He translated during meditation retreats on which I mainly taught Buddha-Dhamma, tho he and others were not ‘Buddhist’ with a big “B.” Yet he was very much awake, knowing, and open like a lotus, the prime attributes of Buddho.

His example of dedication, humility, kindness, and intelligence still inspires me.

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