Passing of Nina Van Gorkom

Nina van Gorkom has peacefully passed away in her sleep on 31 December 2023, aged 95.
I exchanged messages on Abhidhamma with her just last week. She was active in Dhamma discussions and writing on Dhamma until her last days. Her first book Buddhism in Daily life was published in 1969, soon followed by Abhidhamma in Daily Life.

Some of her books are available here:


Aniccā vata saṅkhārā
Uppajjitvā nirujjhanti
tesaṁ vūpasamo sukho


  • Anicca vata sankhara

  • Uppada vaya dhammino

  • Uuppajjitva nirujjhanti

  • Tesam vupasamo sukho

  • All things are impermanent.

  • They arise and pass away.

  • Having arisen they come to an end.

  • Their coming to peace is bliss.

:candle: :candle: :candle:


There seems to be a mistake here.

  • Anicca vata sankhara

  • All conditioned things are impermanent.

Not all things, but all conditioned things are impermanent. I know doing this correction makes me sound pedantic, but I think it’s important to understand this with right-view, in-line with buddhavacana, in-line with the Abhidhamma.

  1. Everything that has a beginning has an end.
  2. All conditioned things have a beginning.
  3. Therefore, all conditioned things have an end.
  4. Everything that has a beginning always has an end.
  5. All conditioned things are, therefore, immutably impermanent.

Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote a nice letter to Sarah at dsg and also sent this slightly edited one to me after I asked if I could post it here.

Venerable Bodhi: I am sorry to learn about the passing of Nina Van Gorkom, but she certainly lived to a ripe age and preserved her clarity of mind until her end. I think I met her in person only once, when she visited Sri Lanka together with Ajahn Suchin back in early 1977. She was one of the clearest, most articulate, and most knowledgeable writers on Buddhism during the past fifty years, especially from the perspective of the Abhidhamma. I think I first came across one of her early books (most likely “Buddhism in Daily Life”) during my first year as a monk in Sri Lanka. And yet she continued to pour out books over the next four or five decades. I do not doubt that with her insight and understanding of the Dhamma, she will be moving ever closer to the final goal.