Jack H. Engler

June 19, 1939March 12, 2023
Obituary of Jack H. Engler
Jack Engler, 83, Psychotherapist and Meditation Teacher Jack Engler, a renowned clinical psychologist who helped unite Western psychology with Theravada Buddhism, passed away peacefully on March 12 with his wife Renée DeYoe, daughter Gaelen (Whitefish, MT), son Ian (Portland, ME), and son-in-law Gerben Scherpbier at his side. He was 83. Jack was born in Boston, MA and raised in Tenafly, NJ by his parents Doris and Les Engler alongside his younger siblings Bob and Ellen. After graduating as valedictorian at the University of Notre Dame, he began his lifelong spiritual quest - one that was both intensely personal and academic. Jack began his path of contemplative practice under the guidance of the Trappist monk, Thomas Merton, at Gethsemane, KY. After a brief stay, Jack left the monastic life to pursue graduate work at the universities of Munich, Oxford and Chicago. It was in Chicago that Jack was introduced to Buddhism, a path to which he would dedicate his personal, professional and spiritual life. He was intensely curious about psychology as an approach to spirituality, and in 1975 was awarded a Fulbright Research Fellowship to India. He spent two years in Bodh Gaya studying Buddhist psychology and practice with Acharaya Anagarika Minindra-ji and Dipa Ma. Upon returning from India, Jack dedicated himself to clinical work. While Jack committed himself to rigorous and comprehensive clinical training, he continued to discover ways to incorporate his passions for teaching and Buddhist meditation practice throughout. Jack was nationally recognized for his work integrating Eastern meditation traditions with Western psychotherapy. In his exploration of depth psychology, he drew on both Buddhist and psychoanalytic concepts, bringing these systems of thought into meaningful dialogue. Noted for writing “you have to be somebody before you can be nobody,” he helped guide countless students in their quest to better their lives through Buddhist practice. He authored scholarly journals and books on psychotherapy and meditation, including Transformations of Consciousness and The Consumer's Guide to Psychotherapy, and was invited by the Dalai Lama to sit on a panel with him in 1989. His writings are cited frequently and remain among the most seminal and insightful contributions in the field to date. He spent the final 25 years of his career in private practice in Cambridge, MA, where he was a calm and compassionate listener with a generous spirit. His pursuit for meaning was realized when he met and married Renée 37 years ago. She remained a steadfast supporter and a loving partner throughout his life. Their children, Gaelen and Ian, delivered an unrealized source of happiness. He loved being a father to his children while serving on the boards of the Insight Meditation Society and the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies in Barre, MA for many years. Jack was an accomplished sailor from early in life and he loved being on the water. On land he loved golf, remembering seemingly every course layout and every shot. His Buddhist nature was often tested by his competitive side, despite his denials. Jack was a country music fan “before country was cool”; back in the early 50’s, he and his brother would have their Emerson radio tuned in late at night to pick up WWVA from Wheeling, WV. Upon retiring, Jack pursued his love of animals through studying Equine Massage and volunteering for Caring Canines with his beloved Bonita. Jack will be greatly missed not only by his family but also by countless friends, clients, and colleagues he maintained over the course of his life. In lieu of flowers, the family invites you to make a donation in Jack's honor to the Insight Meditation Scholarship Fund, 1230 Pleasant Street, Barre, MA 01005. A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, May 2nd at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies in Barre, MA at 11:00 AM.

Show your support


No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.