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Astrid Myreng, Source of Courageous Engagement

Jan. 5, 1926 - Oct. 27, 1997 by Svein Myreng

The greatest loss of my life has happened: Mother died. She taught me so much about lIfe and death, helped me through many times of painful or life-threatening illness. A fiercely engaged person, she worked against social injustices and environmental destruction. She left me a valuable heritage: her love of literature and nature; a fearless openness in expressing views and feelings and dealing with difficulties; and genuine care for other people-so many have been touched by her life.

She had little interest in possessions. Once, by accident, she threw a diamond ring in the garbage and was unable to retrieve it. Before long, she relished this incident as a good story. She was so alive!

We had no "unfinished business"-the last thing we said to each other was that we love each other. She died suddenly and painlessly at four in the morning. Her last words were: "I know I am dying, and I wish to die." She had seen her two great hopes come true: I had married Eevi a year and a half earlier and my recent surgery in Boston had given me the strength she always hoped for. Her greatest desire was for my happiness.

In her later years, she became very fond of Buddhism, through Thay's books which I read for her, and through meeting and housing monks, nuns, and lay teachers who visited Norway. She was amused by imagining what the neighbours might think when exotic-looking people came to our flat.

Brother Doji transmitted the Refuges to her during her funeral and gave her the Dharma name "Source of Courageous Engagement." We created a traditional Norwegian ceremony but with Buddhist elements, and received many positive, even grateful, comments. This was a worthy conclusion for a life of great engagement. She was a bodhisattva. What efforts I make in the Dharma, to a great extent, stem from her. I miss her so much!


Dharma teacher Svein Myreng, True Door, practices with the Sangha of Floating Clouds in Oslo, Norway.

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