In Memoriam: Kim Hollingshead

Kim Hollingshead, Executive Director of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition International Office in Portland, suffered a fatal heart attack in April. His many friends and colleagues remember him thus:

Known for his generosity and gentleness, Kim Hollingshead was a man who stayed in the background, happy to go unrecognized for his work. He was an "ideas guy" who believed strongly in Lama Yeshe’s philosophy of being open to wherever, and from whomever, a great new idea might come. As a practitioner, Kim realized the truth of samsaric suffering, the futility of worldly endeavors, humility, and great kindness.

With unquestioning devotion, Kim lived his final years in service to Lama Zopa Rinpoche, serving first at Liberation Prison Project in San Francisco. When he applied for a receptionist job at FPMT’s International Office, Lama Zopa Rinpoche advised instead that Kim become the Executive Director. Without a trace of pride or a moment's hesitation, Kim stepped into the job at the critical time of relocation from Taos to Portland. Almost single handedly, Kim managed the huge task of the move, the final work on FPMT's new building, and offered his many talents in service until his last moments. A lover of plants, from the first day in Portland until his last, Kim worked continually to make the physical environment at Rinpoche's office beautiful.

When Kim fell to the ground from a heart attack, he appeared to do so in a posture of complete surrender and letting go. There appeared to be no struggle, no holding on, and no pain. Within forty minutes, Yangsi Rinpoche was by his side doing prayers, while Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Choden Rinpoche did prayers together in California. Students in Bodhgaya prayed under the bodhi tree and friends around the world offered prayers for his positive rebirth. Shortly after Kim collapsed, the joint International Office/Maitripa community began a 24 hour prayer vigil that lasted many days, reciting King of Prayers, Medicine Buddha, and Vajra Cutter Sutra. Rinpoche has observed that Kim will be reborn a pure land. May all beings be so fortunate!

Contributor: With permission, Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition.