Memories of Jim
by Richard Brady
August 4 - I've just returned from a memorial service for former WMC member Jim Hughes, who ended his tormented life earlier this week. Jim served the sangha in many ways, among them: helping establish a study group, helping with newcomer orientations and frequently serving as greeter on Sunday evenings.
It is likely that Jim was the most well read scholar of Eastern spiritual traditions ever to be a member of our community. Talking with Jim about the dharma was, as a WMC friend of Jim's put it, like trying to drink from a fire hydrant. Jim's energy, enthusiasm, and assertiveness often proved overwhelming for sangha members. Within months of his arrival at the WMC, several people privately expressed their concerns to me. Wanting to try to understand Jim better, I got together with him for lunch. Jim had a great deal to say about practice and about the sangha. I shared a few observations but felt no inclination to bring up Jim's dharma discussion behavior. As our time together was drawing to a close, Jim asked me whether there wasn't something else I had wanted to address with him. I assured him there was not.
After that, I had lunch with Jim whenever I felt uneasy about his sangha participation. I discovered that it was easier for me to have wonderful heart-to-heart talks with him if I steered our conversations towards our personal lives and away from Buddhism. At the memorial service many friends and family members spoke of Jim's tenderness, caring, love, and tremendous ability to listen. I was privileged to meet this Jim over lunch, where I heard references to the demons he struggled with as well. I came to understand that the intensity of Jim's spiritual search was fueled by his tremendous desire for peace. I am saddened that he was not able to find the peace he sought through practice. May all of us in whom Jim continues to live carry on his search and share with others whatever peace we find.R
From Shirley With Love
by Irene D'Auria