The Abhayagiri community took the opportunity of our 20th anniversary celebration to create a memorial for the late Ruth Denison. The plaque on a beautifully created wooden urn simply reads:
“A beloved pioneer
of Buddhism in the West
who guided many
with her compassion, wisdom
There were many exchanges between Ruth and Abhayagiri over the years, with the monks visiting her meditation center, Dhamma Dena, in the Mojave Desert near Joshua Tree, California or Ruth spending time at Abhayagiri. Once when Ruth was well into her 80’s she arrived on one of our all night sits. While most people after traveling all day would have been looking forward to a rest, Ruth was overjoyed at the opportunity to practice with the community. She was a fearless practitioner.
On June 10th a procession of monks and lay people lead by Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Amaro walked out to a tree we call the Goddess Tree. Henry Denison’s urn had been installed at the Goddess Tree by Ruth in a memorial service back in 2007. We created a simple memorial and placed Ruth’s urn in the hollow of this majestic tree, followed by a chanting and a period of silence.
Here is a link to a photo gallery of the memorial: