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The Order and Our Founder

Mount Shasta

The Order of Buddhist Contemplatives

Portobello Buddhist Priory is part of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives (O.B.C.), which was established in 1978 by Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett.

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 centre 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 its function is to ensure that the teaching and practice offered by its members remains true to the Dharma transmitted by its founder. Members of the Order follow shared rules of governance, conduct and ethics. These are available to read in the Priory. 

The Order 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.

Our Founder

The O.B.C was founded by Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett,  a British woman who was born in East Sussex in 1924. In the 1960s she 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.

The "Ship and Three Drums" is the symbol of the O.B.C

Origin of the symbol

Rev. Master Jiyu Kennett

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