We owe our existence to Christmas Humphreys, who played an important role in introducing Buddhism to this country. He founded the Buddhist Society in 1924, and the Zen Centre was established in his home in 1979. Our late teacher Venerable Myokyo-ni came in contact with Christmas Humphreys and the Buddhist Society in the early 1950s on moving to London from Austria. Her path took her to Japan, where she trained for 12 years in the Rinzai tradition at the Daitoku-ji temple complex in Kyoto. She trained under two teachers, Sesso Roshi and Sojun Kannon Roshi, completing her training under Sojun Roshi.
Soko Morinaga Roshi, who was head monk at
Daitoku-ji under Sesso Roshi, was her guide and support
throughout her time in Japan. In 1984 he came to London with
a retinue of six monks to consecrate Shobo-an, meaning
Hermitage of the True Dharma. He also conducted her
ordination as a Buddhist nun and teacher with the name
Myokyo, meaning Mirror of the Subtle.
He composed the following poem to mark the occasion:
|From India to China
And from there Zen was transmitted to Japan,
Where it was nurtured by Masters
Daio, Daito, Kanzan and Hakuin.
Now it is planted in London,
To come to blossom here and bear fruit.
May the tree spread wide and grow deep roots
So that many can find succour
Under its canopy of leaves.
The Zendo (meditation hall) at Shobo-an
Our line has been holding a zazen (sitting meditation) group at the Buddhist Society since 1966, when it was started by Daiyu Myokyo (at that time Irmgard Schloegl). We have two residential training centres, in north London and Luton, which were founded in 1984 and 1996 respectively. Many of our classes continue to be held at the Buddhist Society. Another venue outside London is used for longer sesshins (residential retreats). Our Zen group comprises a core residential sangha and lay practitioners.
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