Died – John Nary Mitchell

loving-memory-fo-naryPhoto montage by Laila Reiss

John Nary Mitchell

Goodbye this time around, Nary.

John Nary Mitchell had a very beautiful and peaceful passage around 2 pm on September 29, 2016, at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield MA. Nary was surrounded by his loving, warm and kind family: his brother Bruce, his sister Lynn, sister-in-law Nancy and nephew Drew, and many caring practitioners. We shared stories of Nary’s life, his childhood, his deep relationship with the earth, trees, oranges and things that grow, and his many incarnations – more warmth and sweetness could not have been asked for. We all sang the Song of Vajra after the life support was removed. Good journey, our dear Nary. We love you still.

“I have felt that my time and skills were a poor repayment for the precious teachings that I received from Chögyal Namkhai Norbu! Since when can you get such treasures, it is so rare that I have wondered many times why I have been so fortunate to be alive at this time and why it has seemed almost effortless for me to do projects for this Community…I could never repay what I have been blessed with…” Nary


Some words from friends and practitioners
reposted from the Tsegyalgar East newsletter at:


 For Nary
No! Wait! Don’t go yet What about the raspberries?
Will they taste as sweet?
We will think of you
In all the summers to come,
Their juice on our lips.
– Paula Barry on Facebook


‘Uncle Nary‘ was so good with kids. Our little Goma Devi also had a sweet connection with him. They would check in and chat everytime they would see each other around the Gar or Khandroling. Goma keeps the little jade buddha, that he gifted her for her 4h birthday, on her bookshelf here in Hawaii.

When we first heard Nary was in the hospital dying Goma was sad, but today when she learned that he had left his body, this was her response: “It is fine. He is going high into the sky to receive many more teachings from the Buddhas now. And maybe he will come back as a little child.” 🙂 I love how Nary was able to enter everyones dimension – young and old. Have a safe journey. – Laila Reiss


Reflections on Nary:
Big Mind, Big Heart

I first got to know Nary through Santi Maha Sangha Base classes, although I’m not sure why he attended them. There was probably nothing I taught that he didn’t already hold in that vast mind of his, which retained all knowledge. I also appreciated his sweetness, and how, in class when I’d move to calm his effusive outflow of information, he’d smile and gently acquiesce. I eventually understood how he balanced that tremendous energy of his brain with simple physical labor, quietly and continuously contributing toward the stability of our gar.

Although I miss his presence very much, I can only imagine his big heart and mind, unleashed from the restraints of his physical body. – Lynn Newdome


 ***From the outset of Khandroling Paper Cooperative back in 2012, Nary was a great friend to us. He was the brawn behind our operations assisting us in numerous demos and open studios, workshops and event set-ups. Over the years, I was able to share an ongoing conversation with Nary on some of my favorite topics – everything from conspiracy theories to alien societies. He was a fountain of esoteric knowledge borne out of voracious reading.  Our KPC members loved hanging out with him.

One of the last conversations I had with Nary was a consultation about an apricot seed from Tibet that Chögyal Namkhai Norbu had given me over a decade ago, which Rinpoche said I should plant at Tsegyalgar. I asked Nary if that seed was still viable and he said that it could “awaken” ,  through a process of cooling it in the refrigerator and then peeing away the outer covering”. We shall see. Nary’s vision for the land was in the moment with his many creations and graceful attentions – a bent arbor supporting a fragile shoot;  a hugel kulture mound of glossy edible greens;  small magical edifices here and there bringing order out of a riotous New England landscape. Thank you Nary for your proliferation of inspired seeds in our midst. – Jacqueline Gens


We only met Nary fairly recently, maybe 6 months ago. He house sat for us while we were away and took care of our dog Cooper and our plants (both inside and outside). His wisdom and tenderness with plants was astounding. While we were away he found odd and end starts around our property and planted them in the garden just so they would have a chance. One of these is a lovely grape vine that we enjoyed tremendously all summer and we now think of as a living memorial to Nary. Of course, our dog Cooper adored him too — he bought him hot dogs for treats! We will miss him. – Barbara & Woody Paparazzo



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