Tassajara Zen Mountain Center resident found dead after solo hike

- through Henry Oudin

Published on

From news.yahoo.com

The Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, located in the remote mountains south of San Francisco, reported Saturday that Caroline Meister, a resident of the center, had been found dead. Meister, 30, disappeared March 18, after leaving for a day hike with limited supplies. She was found at the base of a waterfall, her body showing injuries consistent with a fall from the cliff above.

Meister had worked at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center for a year and a half and was responsible for guest service.

“She stated (that) she was going to walk a trail that loops around to the Zen center,” the Monterey County Sheriff's Office said. “There was also talk of hiking the Windcave Trail. She only carried snacks for the day and was neither dressed nor equipped to spend the night. (Yahoo! News)

The Monterey County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Team and the California Highway Patrol both sent search teams after she was reported missing. On March 20, rescue services sent dogs, helicopters and drones to search for Meister. Members of the public who may have seen her were asked to contact deputies.

From google.com

“We are trying to stay hopeful. . . . He's a good person. We all miss her very much,” said MK Baker, a Tassajara employee, as the search intensified last week. (KSBW)

With the discovery of his body, expressions of hope turned to grief. Heather Shoren Iarusso, the director of Tassajara, wrote a moving tribute:

Grief feels like a large opaque bag filled with unknowable objects. Stuff I don't know what to do with. I feel like I can't put the bag down or continue to carry it. It keeps ending up in my lap even though I want to get rid of it. I want to throw it in the stream and watch it float.

At the community meeting we held Friday evening, we gathered in a dark circle. A blue macaw feather that Caroline had on her altar was our “talking stick.” No bird can fly with just one feather. But hundreds generate the leak.

We each tried to give voice to the dark distress within. To the shock stuck in our throats. To the anguish in our eyes. People told stories about Caroline. How patient and kind she was. A bright light. A flower that crosses the valley.

One person mentioned sitting next to Caroline in the yard a few days before she disappeared. He asked her, “What would you do if you knew you only had 48 hours to live?” »

“I would take a long hike alone in nature.”


The blog post published by the San Francisco Zen Center said:

More information about services and memorials will be posted here as soon as they are arranged.

Caroline's Dharma name, which she received when she took the precepts with Abbot Jiryu Rutschman-Byler on June 5, 2022, is Sōshi Gōkon/Ancestral Benevolence, Diamond Root.

Join us in keeping Caroline's family, loved ones, and sangha in our hearts during this difficult time.

(San Francisco Zen Center)

The Tassajara Zen Mountain Center is one of three communities of practice that make up the San Francisco Zen Center. Tassajara is also known by its monastery name Zenshin-ji and is dedicated to the San Francisco Zen Center's mission to "embody and express the wisdom and compassion of the Buddha and to carry on Suzuki Roshi's vision of Zen practice, for the benefit of all beings. » (Zen Center of San Francisco)

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Henry Oudin

Henry Oudin is a Buddhist scholar, spiritual adventurer and journalist. He is a passionate seeker of the depths of Buddhist wisdom, and travels regularly to learn more about Buddhism and spiritual cultures. By sharing his knowledge and life experiences on Buddhist News, Henry hopes to inspire others to embrace more spiritual and mindful ways of living.

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