You can use the silhouette alpha or stencil alpha modes on a matte layer, which will matte any layers below it.
Or if that doesn't work for the composition you can use expressions. Here's how: make your first matte layer, with its mask, and then duplicate it and put it over another of the layers you want to matte. Now with both matte layers selected press m to show the mask path property for both. Select only the new layer, and while holding alt/option click on the stopwatch next to the mask path property to add an expression to it. You'll see a pick-whip (the spiral thing) next to the expression. Click and drag the pick-whip to the mask path property of the original layer. It should say something like thisComp.layer("the name of the original matte layer").mask("mask1").maskPath
To make those layers follow the original matte layer they shoul be parented to it as well.
Of course the simpler, faster to render way is to precompose the matte layer on its own and use copies of that comp as your matte layers. Why was it you don't want to precomp?