Our priory (small temple/monastery) is a temple of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives (OBC) situated on 160 acres of forested land on the slopes of Botanie Mountain in Botanie Valley, a 15-minute drive from the Village of Lytton BC, Canada, and a 3 1/2-hour-drive from Vancouver, BC. There are three monks living here full-time and a varying number of lay residents, who come for short or extended stays. We practice in the Serene Reflection Meditation Tradition (J: Sōtō Zen; Ch: Ts’ao T’sung Chan).
The priory began when a small group of students of Rev. Master Jiyu came together in the early 1970’s in Vancouver, BC. In 1974, a monk arrived from Shasta Abbey, and the Vancouver Zen Buddhist Priory was established on Comox Street. After two years the resident monk returned to the US, and the group continued to meet bi-weekly for meditation and to host monks from Shasta Abbey who visited periodically to offer teachings and lead retreats.
In 1985, Rev. Master Koten, a Canadian citizen, needed to leave the US when his visa expired. The Vancouver group invited him to stay, and in 1986 Lions Gate Buddhist Priory was established. For 22 years Rev. Master Koten taught and trained in the Vancouver area, and the size of the congregation grew slowly and steadily. In 2000, with a growing monastic community and rising costs, we began to look for land outside the city, and in 2003 we purchased the property on which we now live. Here we live a simple monastic life as we strive to plant a mandala of Buddhist training in the mountains.