The Passing of Ron Hilburn

A Sukhavati ceremony will be held at the Vancouver Shambhala Centre on December 3rd at 2:00 pm Pacific Time. To join the ceremony on Zoom, FOLLOW THIS LINK and click on Main Shrine Room.


Our wonderful friend, brother, uncle, and teacher, Ron Hilburn died on November 28th, 9:51 pm at the Salvation Army Rotary Hospice in Richmond, BC. I am sitting with him right now! He seems very peaceful. Based on our conversations and visits over the last four weeks I suspect he was ready and probably relieved to finally let go. He was in good spirits right up until the end, very brave, and interested in football, of course, but in the nicest possible way.

Love to all,
Layth Matthews

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Layth Matthews
2 months ago

Obituary of Dr. Ronald David Hilburn

Ronald (Ron) David Hilburn died peacefully on Tuesday, November 28th, 2023, from complications related to diabetes. He was 77 Years old.
Early Life
Ron Hilburn was born on September 4th, 1946, at Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital in Los Angeles, California. He graduated from the Engineer Officer’s course at West Point in 1969 and was discharged from the US Army after a tour of duty in Europe in June 1974 at the rank of captain. Soon after being discharged, Ron enrolled in the University of Washington Environmental Engineering program, where he graduated with a PhD in 1983. His PhD thesis was recognized as the best in the U.S.A. for “Drinking Water Quality,” by the American Waterworks Association.
Discovering the Buddha Dharma
In 1978, Ron discovered the teachings of Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, a Tibetan meditation master fluent in western culture as well as English. He read Trungpa’s book, “Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism,” and never looked back. Ron practiced meditation continuously over his 46-year Buddhist path and studied with many great teachers. He became an excellent Buddhist teacher himself.
Data, Democracy and Football!
In addition to an extensive Buddhist library, Ron’s bookcases reflected his limitless passion for predictive science. Even in retirement he signed up for courses in Machine Learning, just for fun. Ron was a proud American. He had deep respect for the constitution. He also loved the New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, and all exceptional basketball teams.
When Ron retired from teaching at Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 2012. He moved to Richmond, British Columbia, to study with Thrangu Rinpoche more easily at Thrangu Monastery.
In October 2023, Ron experienced a second diabetic shock and finally transferred to the Salvation Army Rotary Hospice in Richmond. Never losing his sense of humour, he enjoyed reconnecting with his brother Bob Hilburn, nephew Jim Bricken and many old friends during the last weeks of his life.
Ron passed away peacefully on the night of Tuesday, November 28th, 2023. A Sukhavati (Buddhist Funeral) ceremony was held for him at the Vancouver Shambhala Centre on Sunday, December 3rd and we scattered his ashes around a beautiful evergreen tree with prayer flags behind Thrangu Monastery in early January 2024.
Ron is survived by his sister Emily, brother Bob, sister-in-law Melanie, and nephew, James Bricken. Ron Hilburn will always be remembered for his jovial spirit, devotion, and dedication to the benefit of all sentient beings from the groundwater up.

Brad Hoffman
7 months ago

My next-door neighbour from three-year retreat, who I will always remember best as ‘Sonam’, was and will continue to be a great practitioner until enlightenment. The fortunate individuals who encounter him will be brought to liberation by his wisdom. What a big heart to share with all sentient beings.

7 months ago

Dear Ron and sangha, shocked as usual with the notice of death.
I wish Ron the most peaceful, blessed transition from this life into the bardo. May he realize his nature and if not may he be reborn in an excellent family of spiritual practice. love and care. with love for you all. Ani Chodron, Prague.

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