The Order of Buddhist Contemplatives
Rev. Master Jiyu died in 1996, and the order provides a framework for all those who continue her work of transmitting the Soto Zen tradition. The European office of the O.B.C. is at Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey, and there are now more than twenty other temples of the O.B.C. operating throughout the UK, Holland, Germany and North America.
The purpose of the order is to unify and regulate all of these monastic communities and temples, as well as individual members of the order throughout Europe and North America.
An important part of the order's function is to ensure that the teaching and practice offered by members of the order remains true to the Dharma transmitted by its founder. Members of the order follow shared rules of governance, conduct and ethics, and these are maintained through its procedures, including those relating to disciplinary matters. The rules of the order are available to read in the temple's common room.
In addition to its regulatory function, the order also has an important role in supporting individual members in their practice, and it embraces and celebrates the wide diversity of expression which is found in its many temples, meditation groups and members.
Read more about the role of the order on the OBC website.
Head of the Order
The current Head of the Order is Rev. Master Haryo Young, who is a senior disciple of Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett and was ordained by her in 1972. Rev. Master Haryo served as one of Rev. Master Jiyu's assistants for many years.
He was elected by senior monks of the order to succeed the previous Head of the Order, Rev. Master Daizui McPhillamy, who died in 2003. Rev. Master Haryo travels extensively as part of his role, but his primary residence is in North America. He often stays at Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey and visited Turning Wheel Buddhist Temple in August 2015.
The order was founded by Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett. Rev. Master Jiyu was born in East Sussex in 1924, and in the 1960s was invited to train at Sōji-ji Temple in Japan by the Chief Abbot, Keido Chisan Koho Zenji.
Sōji-ji is one of the two main training monasteries of Soto Zen, and Rev. Master Jiyu became Koho Zenji's personal disciple.
Rev. Master Jiyu trained at Sōji-ji for seven years, and after Koho Zenji's death came back to the West, as he had asked her to do.
She founded Shasta Abbey in the US, Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey in the UK, and many other temples.
Read more about Rev. Master Jiyu on the OBC website.