A Large, Old Branch Falling Quietly from a Mighty Hardwood Tree
A Gentle Passing
Jane Mitchell Ross (1925-2020) died on April 23, 2020. Jane had been an invaluable part of the early, formative years of Valley Insight Meditation Society. Ready to help, she was an active board member and a wonderfully dependable, all-around support in every step we took towards making the early Buddhist teachings readily available in the Upper Valley and beyond. She was one of the original volunteers in our prison Dharma Practice and Study program. Her own ever-increasing understanding of the teachings and her ongoing, committed meditation practice grew to be steady and deep over the years. They transformed her and sustained her through the death of her grandson Michael and continued to do so as she adjusted into life in assisted living––first locally, near her older son and family, and for the past few years in Maine, near her second son and daughter-in-law.
Jane’s was a peaceful death. She had not been sick. Her son wrote:
“I write to deliver sad news –– my mother passed away last Thursday afternoon. She had laid down for a nap after lunch and, within a very short time, was gone. May we all be so lucky. She had turned 95 in February.
Jane had a long and rich life, one that she described as “a good one.” I know that at the top of her list would be her friendship with people such as yourself and others at Valley Insight …. Would you mind passing along this news to others in the sangha that she knew?”
An obituary for Jane appeared in the April 29, 2020 Valley News. VIMS will be sending a note to the family. If you would also like to do so, here are their addresses:
Mitchell and Cathy Ross, 126, Stoney Brook Road, Lebanon, NH 03766.
Carr and Eileen Ross, 115 Stagecoach Road, Woolwich, ME 04579.
In the Cunda Sutta SN 47.13, the Buddha speaks to his cousin Ananda’s sadness upon hearing of their colleague Sariputta’s death:
“It is, Ananda, as though from a mighty hardwood tree a large branch should break off, so has Sariputta now had his final passing away from this great and sound community of practitioners. Indeed, Ananda, of that which is born, come to being, put together, and so is subject to dissolution, how should it be said that it should not depart? This, indeed, is not possible.
“Therefore, Ananda, be ye an island unto yourself, a refuge unto yourself, seeking no external refuge; with the Teaching as your island, the Teaching your refuge, seeking no other refuge.”
… so that you may also become a refuge unto others.