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.
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.
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.