This afternoon a number of us gathered around the kitchen table at Throssel drinking tea and reminiscing about the late Reverend Mildred. Earlier the community had gathered in the ceremony hall for a ceremony in her memory it being ten years today since she died. She and I lived at the Reading Buddhist Priory in the early 1990’s and several people who read Jade will remember that time. She was a novice monk and it was my job as senior (and Abbot) to train her to be what’s termed in our tradition the Chief Junior of the temple. The CJ’s job is to make sure everything runs smoothly in the temple and instructs visitors and guests. Perhaps those of you who were around then would like to leave a comment to this post to add to the reminiscing.
One regular member of the priory once said she didn’t remember much, if anything, of the teaching I gave during Dharma talks. My heart sank. Then she followed up by saying how much she learnt from seeing how I dealt with sometimes tricky situations that came up between the Reverend and I. She assured me the learning was good. Thankfully! Living in such close quarters it was essential to deal with upsets as they arose and kindly too.
One time when I was traveling to visit meditation groups in the South, I’d do a three day tour, I picked up a mug for Rev. Mildred. I was fairly pleased with it and I think she appreciated it too. On the mug was written, To know me is to love me. I remember Rev. Mildred with huge gratitude for our time together, testing as it was for both of us at times.
5 thoughts on “To Know Her Was to Love Her”
Well, there were the “cross buns” which Reverend Mildred asked for in a bakery as she didn’t want them hot. She never really understood why we found that so funny.
Ah yes, that was a classic. I remember that very well. I didn’t realize she sat with you while learning to drive. Thanks for stopping by and writing. I’m wondering if any other congregation from those times we know have anything to say. I’ll try Ian….
I have fond memories of Reverend Mildred taking me out to practice my driving when I was a learner, which was very good of her. One time I had to park by some shops on the main road & reversing out was scary as it was into the traffic. She said somewhat sharply – “come on Angie, don’t make a fuss, just do it”. That has remained with me for life in difficult situations – “just do it”.
… and I remember how careful she was in passing on the teaching. For example on how to set up a bright altar, and the meaning an altar has. But also about being careful with everything one does, e.g. putting the shoes neatly together outside the ceremony hall. And then there was the incidence of the wasps on the steps of the Priory entrance. Remember this?
I remember once Rev. Mildred and I sitting in the garden at Throssel at the end of a particular Jukai week and her helping to keep my German up to scratch. We talked about the daffodils (Osterglocken) that were just coming into bloom.
Then the bell for evening zazen struck and we went our separate ways.
A small memory but a very strong one.