Two leading Portland-area Buddhist teachers passed in recent months, a significant loss for the region.
On Sept. 18, Roshi Kyogen Carlson, co-founder of Dharma Rain Zen Center, died unexpectedly of a heart attack. He was 65.
He is survived by his wife of 32 years, Gyokuko Carlson, who founded Dharma Rain with him.
Then on Oct. 8, James Blumenthal, professor of Buddhist studies at Maitripa College, died after a year-long struggle with cancer. He was 47.
We will leave it to those communities to share their remembrances of their teachers.
Below is a quote from the obituary on the Dharma Rain website, which you can read in its entirety.
“He was a happy man. We remember his great kindness, gentle nature and generous heart. We remember his goofy sense of humor and how often he laughed. He could swing at a baseball or race a go-kart with the enthusiasm of a child and then explain a fine point in Dogen’s Shobogenzo. He had a scholar’s memory of Buddhist scripture and a nerd’s love of science.”
In our dealings with Carlson, he was invariably humble and kind.
Blumenthal was also a generous-hearted man, reflected by the obituary on the Maitripa website. Below is a quote from that piece.
“Jim was a man of deeply-held principles, but most highly valued integrity and loyalty. He was committed to the causes of engaged Buddhism and social justice. In a short video message he left behind for his son, Ben, he advised Ben to develop a good heart, do his best to help others and to live with integrity.”
While we didn’t have direct contact with Blumenthal at Northwest Dharma News, we know he was part of the vigorous growth at Maitripa College.
Both of these fine leaders leave behind a great legacy, and a more vibrant Buddhist community.