Grant Keene, a much loved member of our community quietly passed away on Saturday, 10 September at the age of 88.
The gentlest of giants, Grant was a committed meditator who often sat month-long retreats with Patrick Kearney and in more recent years with Sayadaw U Vivekananda.
Grant also volunteered regularly in the kitchen, usually for long stints, which gave staff and other volunteers the time to get to know him. He was always up for a chat. He was warm, gregarious and curious.
He was one of those rare people who is really accomplished without blowing their own trumpet. He was well known in the 70s and 80s as the head of the Psychology Department at Newcastle Uni. He was a fan of experiential psychotherapies and promoted the teaching of a range of therapies and perspectives in the department. He was regarded as a trail blazer.
Grant was a talented potter and remained active in the local Newcastle art community well into his eighties. He swam regularly at his local beach right up until he was close to passing.
At the end of his last month-long retreat at BMIMC in 2018 with Sayadaw U Vivekanada, Grant left the Centre radiant after an especially insightful retreat knowing that it would be his last. At 86, the train trip down from Newcastle to the Blue Mountains was becoming too much.
The Burmese sometimes refer to people like Grant as “good yogis”. This seems to refer not only to their dedication to formal meditation practice but to the way they conduct themselves in the Dhamma. “Good yogis” are patient, appreciative of being served and joyful when serving. They are easy people to be with. They are truthful. They are kind.
We will miss Grant dearly. He was a good yogi.