Ancient Monk Remembered – Rev. Master Meiten

This time last year I was in Victoria, Vancouver Island, Canada having traveled up from Shasta Abbey in Northern California. I knew my dear Dharma Sister, Rev. Master Meiten, was close to dying and as it happened she passed on while I was on the train to Seattle. That was January 2nd, her Cremation ceremony was on January 8th, tomorrow is the anniversary.

Rev. Meiten and I were novices together in the early 1980’s at Shasta Abbey. Training together we got to know our fellow novices rather well, not that we chatted a lot about our lives before ordination. Mostly we trained along side each other; washing dishes, sweeping, walking the cloister, informal ‘teas’, learning how to use a computer and enter ‘data’. We knew each other on a deeper level than our personal individual ‘stories’.

I took over Rev. Meiten’s job as Journal Department Assistant and keeper of ‘Master Mailing’, the hand written record of the monasteries contacts. Addresses were kept on 3 x 5 inch cards and stored in shoe boxes on my desk. We used an Addressograph machine, goodness, that thing was heavy, each address was typed onto a custom stencil card, primitive by todays standards of course. We’d use the machine to stamp addresses onto Journals and publicity pamphlets for mailing.

Those were our early days. As I sit here and think of Meiten all sorts of memories sift up to the surface. Perhaps the one upper most is how she would buy me a chunk of Baclavar and leave it, anonymously, in my mail slot when she knew I was in need of a treat. I just knew it was from her. Later still I’d visit her when she lived in Victoria heading up Vancouver Island Zen Sangha.

Anyway this is a long way around to introducing you to her writings which are available now in various formats, including for reading on Kindle. Originally the sangha published three books, now out of print. My last memory is waking to the sound of rapid typing, tap, tap, tap, either answering emails or writing more articles. She was fast and prolific. There is probably enough material for several more books.

Many of the people who gathered around Meiten still meet each week in Victoria. My love and bows to them. Oh and I have something particular to be grateful for, Meiten encouraged me to express myself especially writing. Thank you dear Meiten, you will not be forgotten.


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12 thoughts on “Ancient Monk Remembered – Rev. Master Meiten”

  1. I use Ancient Monk in the title which in Buddhism is an honorific, expressing my deep respect for Rev. Master Meiten and her long life. Yes, she was quite long in years too.

  2. Thank you for sharing your memories of RM Meiten. She has greatly been in my thoughts also, since the anniversary of her death. I am incredibly grateful for the goood fortune to have known RM Meiten, and learned from her over a number of years. Her teachings, along with her voice and her laugh often echo through my mind. She touched so many lives. It has also been through Meiten that I have had the pleasure and honour to connect with other monks, such as yourself and RM Meido, R Clarissa. With humble bows❤️

    1. Dear Tammy,
      That’s just great to have this contribution from you. RMMeiten meant so much to so many of you I know. You all supported her so well and I know she deeply loved everybody. She had a big heart for sure. Oh, and a delight to have met you and spent time while I was in Victoria.

  3. I was at Shasta Abbey many years go attending a retreat. RM RM RM Meiten was giving a dharma talk. She was standing before us and I suddenly noticed that there were gold drippings from her arms and a brightness around her head. I looked away and back to her to test whether I was hallucinating or if a light from outside was the cause of this wonderful image. No. It was real and I sat there marveling at what I was seeing. It lasted for the duration of the talk. I have never forgotten it and I marvel at the wonderfulness of this experience. Wish I could put in writing the awesomeness of this experience.

    1. Goodness Charles, that is absolutley wonderful to hear. If it is possible she did increase in brilliance as she approached her 80’s. She had the largest turn out of sangha for group meetings in the entire order. Lovely to hear from you here.

  4. It’s so heartwarming to see all of these people who have been touched by Meiten, and that there are so many whom I’ve never met is a testament to her long life of teaching.

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