Established as a monastic order in 1983, The Order of Buddhist Contemplatives is an outgrowth of the previous Zen Mission Society. The Order serves to unify its members and congregation, thereby helping to support the religious practice of all. The Order embraces the diversity of expression found in its temples, meditation groups and individual members. It endeavours to assure that the teachings and practice offered by its licensed priests and lay ministers remain true to the Dharma transmitted by its founder, both now and into the future. Shared rules of governance, conduct and ethics create transparency and accountability and are maintained through established procedures including those that deal with disciplinary matters. These rules are made available and can be read at any of our temples.
The Order Community
One of the primary functions of our Order is to make all who want to train in our tradition feel welcome and to enable them to practice together. Whether we are an ordained monk or meditate with a meditation group affiliated with the OBC, we all practice within the overarching refuge of the Order and our individual training makes the community a success. The Order functions to support our training: accountability is through the licensing of its members, who are in turn a refuge and support for all who train within it.
Helping The Order To Work
All members of the Order play a role in making the Order a success, and the Head of the Order, the Order European Advisor, Lay Ministry Advisor, Treasurers, and Journal Editor have particular practical and spiritual responsibilities as Order officers.
Affiliated Meditation Groups
Affiliated meditation groups follow the particular forms of practice of our Order. The groups offer a regular time and place for formal meditation and teaching, often with people who have been following the practice for many years. Each group is also supported by a senior monk who is assigned to visit them regularly. Their contact details are listed here.
Temples Of The Order
Temples vary in nature from our large monasteries, one in northern California, in the US, and one in Northumberland, UK, to smaller monastic communities and congregations based in priories and small temples throughout the UK, Europe and North America; residential training and retreats are available at many of our temples. A senior monastic is responsible for the spiritual direction of each community and the Dharma Transmission, together with the Order ‘umbrella’, serves to unify us. The temples are financially and administratively independent of each other, and in day-to-day practice abbots, priors and chief priests of temples have a large measure of autonomy within the ethical framework of the Order.
Wider Buddhist Connections
The Order maintains connections with our Dharma relatives in Malaysia and Japan. It does not have formal administrative links in these countries and functions independently in regard to its finances and religious affairs. In Europe we maintain cooperative associations with other Buddhist organizations through the European Buddhist Union, the Network of Buddhist Organisations (UK) and many locally-made connections. The Order is also a member of the World Fellowship of Buddhists.