The Order of Buddhist Contemplatives is dedicated to the practice of the Serene Reflection Meditation tradition, known as Ts'ao-Tung Ch'an in China and Soto Zen in Japan. The Order was incorporated in 1983 by Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett to serve as the international umbrella organization for the monasteries, priories (local temples), and meditation groups led by priests of our lineage in Britain, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States. Pine Mountain Buddhist Temple is one of the temples within the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives. The practice of the Order emphasizes serene reflection meditation, mindfulness in daily life, and adherence to the Buddhist Precepts. The Order provides opportunities for Buddhist practice at introductory and advanced levels to lay people and offers training programs for women and men in both the lay ministry and the priesthood.
A British-born Buddhist master trained in Malaysia and Japan, Rev. Master Kennett came to the United States in 1969. A year later, Shasta Abbey, a Buddhist seminary and training monastery, was founded in northern California. In 1972 she founded Throssel Hole Priory, now Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey, in the north of England. Rev. Master Kennett served as the first Abbess of Shasta Abbey and Head of the Order until she died in 1996. Rev. Master Daizui MacPhillamy was then elected and served as Head of the Order until his death in April 2003. He was succeeded by the current Head of the Order, Rev. Master Haryo Young.
Purpose of the Order
The Order of Buddhist Contemplatives was founded by Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett to act as the international administrative and support organization for the monastic disciples and lay ministers practicing within the S?t? Zen lineage and tradition which she brought from the Far East. The purposes of the Order are to bring together its members and congregations into one harmonious branch of the sangha, to assure to the public that the teachings and practices offered by our priests and lay ministers remain true to the Dharma Transmitted to her, and to establish shared rules of conduct, ethics and governance for the members.
Work of the Order
The Order promotes a harmonious sangha by fostering communication and the exchange of monks and lay ministers between our various temples in Europe and North America, by the publication of an international Journal of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives plus an internet site and various other publications, by offering spiritual and material support to monks not otherwise supported by existing temples, by fostering and coordinating cooperative programs across different congregations and by providing through its officers a source of advice and refuge-taking for members and congregations. Its assuring role is carried out through its issuing of certification and ongoing licenses for lay ministry, monastic ordination, Parish Priest and Teacher of Buddhism, through its establishment and continuing recognition of parish temples (“priories”), monasteries and seminaries, through coordination and supervision of the activities of its lay ministers world-wide, and, as above, through the consultation and advising role of its officers. The role of the Order in governance and ethics is carried out via the establishment and implementation of order-wide rules of conduct for monks and lay ministers, via the creation of procedures for addressing grievances and resolving conflicts and, as with its other functions, by providing consultation and refuge-taking through its officers.
The officers of the Order include a head of the Order, an advisor for European matters, an executive secretary and a corporate secretary, treasurers in both North America and Europe, an international lay ministry advisor, and a journal editor. Offices are maintained at both Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey in England and Shasta Abbey in the United States, with officers traveling frequently to our various temples and meditation groups in Britain, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and the United States. Please contact any of us through the Order’s main monastic centres listed below, if we may be of assistance.
The Order was first incorporated as a non-profit religious organization in the United States and is seeking religious charity status in the United Kingdom; its legal structure allows it to have membership in any nation and to do its work world-wide. Its various temples are established as their own charitable or corporate entities, and they fund their activities independently of the Order. So as not to place a burden upon the members or the congregations, the Order attempts to fund itself without recourse to dues from members or temples. Aside from voluntary contributions from some temples and a small income from publication royalties and the sale of incense, the Order relies upon the generosity of donations from individuals. These funds are used for its operating expenses, the travel of officers, support of lay ministry activities, the liability and malpractice insurance needed for members in some countries, and the physical support of monks who are establishing new temples or are otherwise not supported by existing temples.