Sukhavati for Ron Thomas

Ron-Thomas-and-his-momRon Thomas died this fall from prostate cancer.  He was a member of the Portland Shambhala Center since the late 1990s.  He was a disabled veteran with a lot of chronic pain.  He was a gentle person and a devoted student of the dharma.  He was seldom seen at the Shambhala Center in his final years, and stayed in his home in NE Portland in his final year.  We will hold a short sukhavati service for him at the Center at 7 pm this Friday, December 27th.

Ron gave this photo of himself with his mom to David Parker several years ago to share with the Portland sangha on his death.

 

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One thought on “Sukhavati for Ron Thomas

  1. Ron began coming to the Shambhala Center many years ago. At first, we called him “the curmudgeon”, as he was a bit surly, and you never know what he was going to say. After awhile, he become more gentle, more social, and began volunteering for small jobs around the Center. The show rack we used for many years until recently was put together by him, and I often thought of him when I looked at it, and used it.

    It was difficult for Ron to do many classes or weekend programs, but he did what he could. He struggled with pain from injuries he got in the Vietnam war. I think that learning to work with pain was a motivating factor for him to learn meditation. As the years went by, he did his best to deal with his pain, often resorting to legal and illegal forms of medication. He was very straightforward and honest about all aspects of his situation.

    In the years when he didn’t come to the Center, we kept in touch. Sometimes the drugs would disorient him. Once, he called me at 2 o’clock in the morning. After we talked awhile, I asked him if he know what time it was. He was very apologetic when he found out.
    I would see him in my clinic, and even though he had very little money, he insisted on paying for his treatments, even a token amount.
    When it was more difficult for him to drive, I would visit him at his house.

    Speaking of phone calls, all of us who called him remember the message, which you always heard because he screened all his calls: “This is the Ron Thomas residence. I only answer calls having to do with life, death, and the Buddhadharma.” It was a good reminder to not be frivolous in conversation. He was an avid reader of Dharma texts. He particularly liked Pema Chodron, and would quote her regularly.

    Ron was an extremely brave person, and was a real inspiration to me. Here was someone who had significant obstacles in his life, and he never complained, always accepted his circumstances. He also accepted his death, and seemed ready. I regret not being there as he got closer to death. I wish him well on his journey, and will never forget his dedication to the dharma.
    Rayna Jacobson

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