Tributes for Rukman Wagachchi
From Sensei Amala Wrightson, our previous chairperson:
Rukman was a founding member of the NZBC executive, serving on and off as Vice Chairperson, and has been the Council’s champion the length and breadth of Aotearoa. His enthusiasm for the Buddhadharma has been an example and encouragement to us all. His positive attitude has often helped to keep me going as chairperson at difficult times.
Rukman puts enormous energy into the projects he takes on, such as the language classes for Sangha, first aid training, and Buddhist Sunday School teacher training. He embodies the attitude of “just do it”, cutting through obstacles. If I were to try to find a single adjective for Rukman it would be “generous” — he gives freely not only of his time and energy but also often comes to meetings bringing exotic fruits and vegetables from his lush and surprising garden on the corner of a busy road in Mt Wellington.
I have over the years also enjoyed planting trees with Rukman and other members of Sri Lankaramaya and the Zen Centre at Mutukaroa (Hamlins Hill) — his energy having brought us together to help heal a damaged piece of Auckland (Hamlins Hill was for many years the site of holding pens for the Southdown freezing works). Healing people is another expression of Rukman’s dana and metta — he is often called on to counsel the sick and dying as well as suicidal young people, and also to conduct weddings in his role as a marriage celebrant. Thank you Rukman for all that you contribute.
From Ecie Hursthouse, Vice-Chair:
I have known Rukman since the beginning of NZ Buddhist Council and I hold him in high esteem. I think Rukman is a true example of compassion in action. It is obvious to anyone who meets him that his Buddhism comes from his study of the scriptures, his respect for sangha, his years of contemplation on the meaning of the teachings and his passion to apply these teachings in everyday life. He has brought mindfulness to children which is certainly is something they need with all the challenges that they will face in the future. And he has helped so many migrant sangha learn English, which empowers them in so many important ways. Rukman is also one of our first NZ Buddhist Hospice / Healthcare Chaplains and he has very kindly helped many people with these precious skills and his warm compassionate heart. The Buddhist Council has been very fortunate to have Rukman working on the Executive for so many years and I hope and pray that he continues to serve NZ in good health for many many years in the future.
From Robert Hunt, Chair:
Rukman Wagachchi is one of the founding members of NZBC and has served on the committee for twelve years. He has done much to grow NZBC and keep Buddhist network connections happening. From one end of Aotearoa to the other he has shared about the purpose and usefulness of the Council and been instrumental in many of our members joining. His participation has been wide and deep. He has personally taken the chaplaincy training, encouraged interfaith and intra-Buddhism events and awareness – and taken initiatives such as teaching mindfulness and launching English trainings. All who have been active on Exec will remember Rukman’s enthusiasm and encouragement, and his commitment to loving kindness. We look forward to continued contact.