(Back from two and a half week retreat with Ruth Denison, at Dhamma Dena Desert Vipassana Center, I am devoting the next few weeks to sharing Ruth's wonderful teachings.)
88 years. My mother and Ruth are the same age.
Both are mothers to me, although in very different ways. One gave me this physical life and nurtured me during my younger years. The other gave me the gift of a new life, based on a deeper understanding of the truth within.
Both are equally unfazed by the prospect of death approaching. In my mother's case, her inability to remember is to receive most of the credit. With Ruth, it is her profound realization of the nature of the living process that got her to that point.
After 40 years of shepherding the Dhamma Dena community, Ruth has decided to slowly ease out, and has asked two Theravada nuns to slowly step in. One evening during the retreat, Ruth discussed how she felt about the transition, and how old age and death are shaping the way she lives her life now:
Do I have to wait that long to be so wise? :)