The Project

Field of Merit has been set up to offer to practitioners of the Soto Zen school of Buddhism the opportunity to do solitary retreat in individual hermitages in a quiet rural location with the practical support and spiritual guidance of one or more monastics of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives.

A solitary retreat provides an undisturbed space to pursue meditation, study, reflection, and an opportunity to experience oneself alone and away from constant contact with other people.

In January 2014 a rental property in Derbyshire was found, and Rev. Alicia moved in on the 25th of February. The property will enable two retreat guests to be accommodated, one in a caravan next to the house, and one in a guest room in the house itself.

Eventually we hope to raise enough money to purchase a freehold property with a few acres of land, a 2- or 3-bedroom house and outbuildings that can be converted into hermitages, or the potential to site cabins or similar structures to serve as hermitages.

Rev. Alicia

I’m a British female Buddhist monastic of 20 years standing practicing within the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives – a Western-based Soto Zen organisation.

I was ordained in 1992 by Rev. Master Daishin Morgan at Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey in Northumberland UK, which is where I was living until I moved to Sitting Buddha Hermitage in February 2014.

Over the years I worked in the monastery kitchen, served as bursar, journal editor, infirmarian, abbot’s chaplain and prior (not all at the same time!) and done a short stint as sacristan. I’ve also spent a year running a small temple in Reading. About the only thing I haven’t been asked to do is gardening – probably a wise decision on someone’s part.

From 2010 to 2013 I was secretary to the OBC Interim Board, which introduced me to the world of online meetings. Now I am starting another new phase of my monastic life as I settle in to Sitting Buddha Hermitage and get ready to open the doors to retreat guests.

Rev. Mugo

Up until November 2013 Rev. Mugo and Rev. Alicia worked side by side collaboratively. As the project moved towards the next stage of renting a property Rev. Mugo decided that it would be wise for her to step back from direct involvement while continuing to actively support the project.

25 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi RM Mugo and Rev Alicia,
    Go for it, all my projects are seemingly impossible, only I don’t hold them as lightly as I maybe I should, changing conditions is my design partner and there is something in the commitment to a vision which seems to pull things together, I wish you all the best in spreading out your mats and hope muddy paws running over your mats will not discourage you.
    I am told I am always over committing myself, but anyway when it comes to brass tacks and planners and potential site give me a shout.
    With love in gassho Aylwin

  2. I really like centipedes. Very much under appreciated creatures in the garden….always busy and always up to doing very helpful ‘stuff’ all round, so not a bad likeness!
    Good luck.

  3. Dear Rev. Mugo and Rev. Alicia,
    This is a brilliant idea! I wish you every success with your plans and congratulations for getting all this up and running. I lookforward to the news letter and will be happy to offer what support I can along the way.
    With gratitude

  4. I look forward to lying in the field/Field and feeling the ground below my back and looking at the immensity of the sky with a happy smile. Let me know how I can help.

  5. I wish you both ease of movement into this new venture! I totally support the idea of what you are starting, and perhaps one day I can come out myself and stay there with you. What a great project you have begun!

  6. My best to you as you start this new venture! I look forward to your newsletter and hearing about your progress.


  7. Kevin! You are the very first person to leave a comment on Field of Merit. Congratulations for that and thank you for your shout of support.

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