Died – Jillian Patricia Dickert in Berkeley, California

Jillian Patricia Dickert



Jillian Patricia (Dickert), Yantra Yoga instructor and practitioner The Dance of the Vajra and of Khaita Joyful Dances, passed away peacefully at her home on July 25 at 7:22 pm in Berkeley, California. The last sounds she heard were The Song of the Vajra sung to her, towards the latter part of which she joined in to sing faintly with those at her bedside, continuing the melody with her last breaths for a few seconds after the song ended.

Jillian lived an extraordinary life. She was born in 1966 in Winfield Park, New Jersey, USA, the youngest in a family of eight children. She has six sisters and one brother. They grew up near the woods and a river, giving Jillian a lifelong love of nature. She was a free spirit. Even as a child she loved to dance. An early photo shows her sisters lined up shoulder to shoulder in a crouching position, with Jillian behind them leaping into the air in exuberance. This athletic skill she would use later as a cheerleader in high school.

Beneath her beautiful, lively exterior was a serious student. Jillian started her studies at Boston College studying business administration and French language and literature When she became interested in gender politics, she switched her studies from business to politics, which landed her a case-writing job at the Kennedy School, the public policy school of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She graduated Boston College with honors. The work at the Kennedy School provided the basis for getting into Brandeis University’s PhD program. In 2007 she received a doctorate of sociology.

Jillian was blessed with a brilliant mind. With teaching fellowships and numerous academic publications and awards to her name, she won a Fulbright scholarship in 2009 to the Federal University of Bahia in Brazil, where she researched and conducted interviews about a solidarity-based economy. At the same time, she took on the job of visiting research professor and taught workshops on how to write case studies.

During the final year of her doctoral studies Jillian had a psychic shift. She became a seeker interested in spirituality and Buddhism in particular, which led her to travel to over 30 countries, including Spain and Prague, western Africa, India and Nepal, Brazil, and Venezuela (specifically, Isla de Margarita), and French Polynesia.

In late 2013 she left Brazil, which had been her home base for five years, to settle in Berkeley, California. Here she followed the teachings of many lamas and became a member of several local sanghas, including Chögyal Namkhai Norbu’s Dzogchen Community West Coast (Dondrubling), Dharmata Foundation in Point Richmond led by Dzogchen teacher Anam Thubten, and the local chapter of Sunray Meditation Society led by the Venerable Dhyani Ywahoo, a group that draws from Cherokee traditions and Tibetan Buddhism, including Nyingma and Drikung Kagyu teachings. Jillian was also a student of Lama Lena, Pema Khandro, and of Bön teacher Tenzin Wangyal.

Jillian participated in many Yantra Yoga courses, beginning in December 2011 at Tashigar Norte. It was here that she met Rinpoche. In January 2017 she was supervised by Fabio Andrico in Dzamlingar and was authorized by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu as a Level 1 Yantra Yoga teacher. She taught Yantra Yoga at Dondrubling from 2017 through early February 2020.

Members of the three sanghas were present at the moment of Jillian’s passing. She is deeply mourned by her family and friends, and will be remembered for her radiant smile, her open, friendly and cheerful nature, and her willingness to share her knowledge of the Dharma.

Written by Vicki Sidley

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