Meditation teacher Toni Packer reportedly enters hospice care

Toni Packer

According to a heartfelt reminiscence at The Existential Buddhist, author and meditation teacher Toni Packer has entered hospice care at the Livingston County Center for Nursing, in Mt. Morris, NY. Born in 1927, Packer was a half-Jewish émigré from Nazi Germany, settling in western New York. An early adherent of Zen Buddhism, she taught often at Phillip Kapleau Roshi’s Rochester Zen Center and was thought to be next in line to succeed him. Packer, however, became disenchanted with Asian forms in the practice, and moved away to found the Springwater Center for Meditative Inquiry and Retreats in 1981, eschewing even the labels “Buddhist,” “Zen” and “teacher.” She has published five books, the latest of which is The Silent Question: Meditating in the Stillness of Not-Knowing (Shambhala Publications, 2007).

From the Shambhala Sun archives, you can read a teaching by Toni Packer, “What Is This Me?” and Robert Hirshfield’s portrait of her, “Nothing but the Present.”