Rev. Chosei Swann, a long-time resident at Shasta Abbey Buddhist Monastery, died on 29th October after a prolonged illness. He was 71 and a native of New Zealand.
Rev. Chosei was a senior monk and teacher at the monastery, having been ordained by the Abbey’s founder, Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett, in 1974. Chosei first studied Zen Buddhism in England where he studied at Cambridge University, subsequently moving first to Canada and then to the U.S.
At the Abbey Rev. Chosei developed carpentry and construction skills and helped with building the early structures there—the kitchen-dining hall, the ceremony hall, and the meditation hall. He subsequently moved with his wife Zuiko to Kannon Dell, an Abbey property near Weed, where they raised their two children, Aaron Christopher and Susanna. During this time Chosei formed a contracting business, Cathedral Homebuilders, and built many homes in the Mount Shasta/Weed area. He continued to oversee construction of major monastery buildings, in particular the guest house and a large maintenance building.
Rev. Chosei resumed active life at the monastery in 1994. He served as head of maintenance and offered his creativity and skills in building an office building and renovating some of the older houses on the property. He also served as director of the meditation hall. In 2010 Chosei was named as a Master of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives, the umbrella organization that connects Shasta Abbey and its related temples.
Well-known, admired, and loved for his strength, determination, and wide knowledge, Rev. Chosei will be deeply missed by all those fortunate enough to have known him.
Funeral on Monday, 19th November at 10:30am at Shasta Abbey. Please call the guest office for details (530) 926-4208 ext. 305.