Died – Robert Derr

A Painful Reminder of Impermanence

The Sudden Passing of Vajra Brother Robert Derr


Robert Derr, our Vajra Brother at Tsegyalgar East, was a larger than life person in so many ways. He was physically large, with a wonderful large open face, his eyes were filled with light, his smile was wide, his voice was deeply baritone and his laughter was deep and genuine. He professed love to all. Sadly, on October 21, 2023 Robert passed away suddenly at 63 years of age.

For the past two years Robert had been dealing with cancer which at times seemed to be in remission and at other times returned. He also suffered from fractures in his spine which recently caused terrible pain and some paralysis. On the morning of his death he woke up and wiggled his toes and smiled at his wife Anne Marie, happy that he had sensation in his feet. When he attempted to get out of bed he fell on the floor unconscious. The rescue team attempted to resuscitate him unsuccessfully. The doctor speculated that he suffered a pulmonary embolism.

Robert was a long time Buddhist practitioner, who, prior to meeting Chogyal Namkhai Norbu in 1993, had been a follower of Chogyam Trungpa and a Vajradhatu student. Robert read voraciously and was a store house of buddhist knowledge and thought. He exemplified a deep understanding of the real meaning of Ati Yoga. In 2022 he joined Tsegyalgar’s Blue Gakyil. During the Covid pandemic the gakyil had informal Zoom meetings every week and Robert’s participation was focussed on creating continuing opportunities for practice for community members. He advocated strongly for the restoration of the dark retreat cabin and reached out to international teachers to come to Tsegyalgar. 

He loved to participate in collective practices with his vajra brothers and sisters. After a session on Khandoling, Land of the Dakinis, in 2022 Robert said: “These are the events that bring to light the preciousness of life and the time we have together; may the voice of the Master always echo in your ears and his transmission blossom in your heart”.

We miss him greatly.

Shitro practices will be held on the seven day anniversaries of his death date: Saturdays, Nov 11th, Nov 18th, Nov 25th, Dec 2nd, and Dec 9th.  Please visit the Tsegyalgar website for times or  zoom links Tsegyalgar East Upcoming Practices & Events, or email the gakyil@tsegyalgar.org.  

 Warm regards,

Tsegyalgar East Gakyil


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