On November 12, Tricycle received news that our friend and longtime contributor Rita Gross had passed away peacefully at her home in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, 14 days following a massive stroke. She was cremated the third day after passing. In keeping with Rita’s wishes, her sangha gathered for purification rituals and prayers before immersing her ashes in the pond at Lotus Garden, the Virginia retreat center of her teacher, Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche. A part of her ashes will also be taken to be scattered in the Himalayas and the River Ganges.
As a dharma teacher, professor, and author, Rita was a uniquely passionate and eloquent voice for women’s equality, interreligious dialogue, and the value of historical study as a way of enriching religious life and practice. We feel fortunate to have known her, to have worked with her, and to have provided a place where her work could find a publishing home. She enriched our lives, and all the members of Tricycle’s far-flung community are, we believe, better for having known Rita Gross.
To commemorate Rita’s life and work, we would like to share the following quote from “Buddhist to Buddhist,” which was published in our Spring 2012 issue and illustrates the nonsectarian spirit that ran through her work:
Given the various crises in our world today, the claim made by some that we are in the midst of what in Buddhism is called a “dark age” certainly has some merit. But for those who study and practice the Buddhist teachings, a very different view of our moment in time and the possibilities it affords presents itself. We are, I believe, at the beginning of what could become for Buddhism a new golden age. . . . Today, Buddhists from around the world are again able to learn from and converse with one another, and this could set the stage for a new period of flourishing of the buddhadharma. We contemporary Buddhists could ourselves be part of, could help usher in, this historic renewal. But for this to happen, we will have to step beyond sectarian boundaries and venture outside the comfort zone that affiliation with a particular center or lineage provides.
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