Our days are numbered. Five Dharma teachers. Four are 80 years old and one is 90 next month

Our days are numbered. Here are five senior Dharma teachers giving a certain emphasis in their teachings to insight meditation, mindfulness or monastic/householders life.

All five teachers, and others from every walk of life, experience the unfolding years and the signs of mortality showing in our physical presentation.

Since last August, four of the teachers, Fred von Allmen, Joseph Goldstein, Jon Kabat-Zinn and this wallah perceived the number ‘80 years’ arising in our minds.

Next month (July 2024), Ajahn Sumedho will note arising of ‘90 years’ in the mind dwelling on this Earth. The number in our mind lasts for a year and then we move onto the next number, until the mind-body formation dissolves to confirm running out of numbers. I have known the four teachers between 40-50 years.

Every hour of every day, Lord Yama, Buddhist personification of Death, travels around the Earth pointing to humans and creatures of the immediacy of the final outbreath.

To see and know being unbound to the human compositions (body, feeling tones, perceptions, mental formations and consciousness), makes it impossible for Mara to impact the ageless, the numberless, the timeless.

Liberation reveals the ageless, not bound to mind-body, as close as trees confirm wood.

Brief Bios of Five Ageing Ones

Year of photos not known.

Fred von Allmen, born August 1943, has been engaged in Buddhist studies and meditation since 1970. He has practiced under teachers of both the Tibetan and the Theravadin tradition in Asia, Europe and the USA and has spent many years in retreat. In addition he has been engaged in the study of Buddhist philosophy and psychology in the Tibetan tradition. Since 1984 he has been teaching meditation retreats and Buddhist workshops worldwide. He is the author of four books in German and a co-founder of the Meditation Center, Beatenberg, in the Swiss Alps. He is married and lives in Switzerland.

Joseph Goldstein, born 20 May 1944, has been leading insight and lovingkindness meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. He is a co-founder of the retreat centre named Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, USA. In 1989, he helped establish the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. Since 1967 he has studied and practiced different forms of Buddhist meditation under eminent teachers from India, Myanmar and Tibet. He is the author of Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening, One Dharma, The Practice of Freedom, The Experience of Insight, and co-author of Seeking the Heart of Wisdom. He lives in his home in the grounds of IMS.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, born 5 June 1944, is Professor of Medicine Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he founded its world-renown Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Clinic in 1979, and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society (CFM), in 1995. Both the MBSR Clinic and the CFM are now part of UMass Memorial Health. Jon did his doctoral work in molecular biology at MIT. He is the author of 15 books, currently in print in over 45 languages. His most recent book is Mindfulness Meditation for Pain Relief. Living in Massachusetts, Jon is married with three children. Will, Serena and Naushon.

Ajahn Sumedho, born 27 July 1934, is the senior Western student of the late Ajahn Chah of northeast Thailand. Sumedho worked closely with the English Sangha Trust, Buddhists from Asia and helped set up a British Theravadin monastic order, including Amaravati Buddhist Centre in Hertfordshire, UK, This order now numbers many monks and nuns over several monasteries in different countries. He is the author of several books, including Don’t Take Your Life Personally, The Mind and the Way and the Teachings of a Buddhist Monk, Ajahn Sumedho was born Robert Jackman in Seattle, Washington, in 1934. Sumedho is his monk’s name; Ajahn means teacher.

Photo taken July 2023 on the track near home in Totnes

Christopher Titmuss, born 22 April 1944, gives retreats and leads international Zoom meetings. Poet, photographer, blogger and social/political critic, he is the author of 22 books including Light on Enlightenment, Spiritual Roots of Mindfulness and The Political Buddha. He gave his first retreat in Dharamsala, India in 1974. He is the founder of the Mindfulness Teacher Training Course (MTTC). Nshorna (his daughter) is the founder of the Wise Lotus Centre in Hertfordshire, England. They co-operate on various teachings and projects. He lives in Totnes, Devon, England. www.thebuddhawallah.org.

To add: There are many Dharma teachers in their 70s, 80s and 90s. This Substack post refers to four teachers marking their 80th birthday and one his 90th birthday. I know all four teachers either from retreats, our meetings, their centres, India, Thailand or monasteries. I appreciate their wonderful service. I had in mind teachers/friends in writing the blog.

May all beings live with dedication

May all beings live with wisdom

May all beings know a liberated way of life.

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