Dear Thay, Dear Sangha, Dear Friends of Br Gerard,
We have some very sad and unexpected news to share with the wider community. Br. Gerard, from Upper Hamlet, passed away yesterday, 19th April, 2013. It seems his passing was peaceful while everyone was at a day of mindfulness at New hamlet. He is known to many lay friends particularly through his loving way to handle all the registration of guests at the office at Upper Hamlet.
Gerard has been resident in Plum Village for 6 or so years and will continue to be dearly loved and cherished by all the community of Plum Village. For the last few years Gerard has been based in Upper Hamlet where he worked wholeheartedly in the registration office offering his warmth and cheerfulness to everyone without exception. Gerard saw Plum Village as his home practicing deeply the Dharma seal of our tradition: I have arrived, I am home – Gerard often shared and demonstrated by his commitment that he saw clearly that Plum Village community was his spiritual home and family. He cultivated a contagious overflowing gratitude for life in Sangha. Apart from shorter interactions with guests through the registration office Gerard was always there for people taking time to listen at length and deeply with long and short term lay friends who sort his support. He shared his ever deepening insight with us through conversations and letters but again, perhaps most of all through his energetic and fatherly presence.
If you are someone who connected with Gerard we know this will be a difficult moment for you. Please take refuge in your Sangha as we are doing to embrace this sudden loss of our dear friend and brother on the path and to send him your and your Sangha’s love. Breathe peacefully, if with some sadness, knowing Gerard was a wonderful happy person and through his deep practice better equipped for such a dramatic untimely transition than many. Death comes unexpectedly, how can we bargain with it?
Gerard, still relatively young (mid fifties?), seemed in very good health. We are yet to learn the exact cause of death and will give more details as they come.
Contemplation on No-Coming, No-Going
This body is not me.
I am not limited by this body.
I am life without boundaries.
I have never been born,
and I have never died.
Look at the ocean and the sky filled with stars,
manifestations from my wondrous True Mind.
Since before time, I have been free.
Birth and death are only doors through which we pass,
sacred thresholds on our journey.
Birth and death are a game of hide-and-seek.
So laugh with me,
hold my hand,
let us say good-bye,
say good-bye, to meet again soon.
We meet today.
We will meet again tomorrow.
We will meet at the source every moment.
We meet each other in all forms of life.
Thay and the entire monastic retreat including high Venerables from Vietnam chanted and sent our energy of love and support this morning for Br Gerard in Pak Chong, Thailand.
In loving kindness and deep gratitude,
On behalf of Brothers of Upper hamlet and Son Ha