The Order of Buddhist Contemplatives was founded in 1980 by the late Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett. She was an Englishwoman who trained in the 1960s at one of the two main Soto Zen temples in Japan, Sojiji, where she became a roshi, or master, and was authorised to teach and to ordain men and women as monastics. On returning to the West, Rev. Master Jiyu founded temples in the USA and UK, including Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey in Northumberland.

Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett

Those of us in the West who follow Soto Zen as passed on by Rev. Master Jiyu describe ourselves as being in the Serene Reflection Meditation tradition and our monastic Sangha and lay ministers together comprise the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives.

In our Order and congregation, women and men have equal status and train together. Men and women who ordain as monastics are referred to as monks and they are celibate and vegetarian. The Order also has lay ministers who are householders with long experience and a deep commitment to the practice of this tradition – they serve in a wide variety of roles.