Houn Jiyu-Kennett

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Houn Jiyu-Kennett, (January 1, 1924—November 6, 1996), born Peggy Teresa Nancy Kennett, was a British roshi most famous for having been the first female to be sanctioned by the Soto School of Japan to teach in the West. Jiyu-Kennett founded Shasta Abbey in Mount Shasta, California in 1970 after many years spent studying Zen and Buddhism in Asia—most predominantly in Japan. Shasta Abbey was the first Soto Zen school in the United States to be established by a woman, and in 1978 Jiyu-Kennett's order became known as the Order of the Buddhist Contemplatives. After ordaining as a bhikkhuni in the Lin Chi school while in Malaysia, she left for Japan and trained at Sojiji under Keido Chisan Koho—from whom she received Dharma transmission from in 1963. Her order, which is celibate, now has chapters in the Netherlands, Canada, the West Indies, the United Kingdom and Germany—in addition to the United States.