History of Oxford Zen Centre

The true person is not anyone in particular.
But, like the deep blue colour of the limitless sky
It is everyone everywhere in the world. 

Zen Master Dogen (1200-1253)


The Oxford Zen Centre (OZC) was founded by Sister Elaine MacInnes in the tradition of Sanbo Zen, Kamakura, Japan. She was one of the first Christian missionaries to be made an authentic Zen Teacher.

In the early days, our zendo moved around Oxford from its first home in the Cutteslowe Community Centre, to the Asian Cultural Centre and finally in 2004, to its present house in Old Marston.

Sister Elaine MacInnes also founded the London Zen Centre in a small room in the clock tower of St. James’s Church Piccadilly where sitters now meet on the first Tuesday of the month for afternoon and evening sits. At the end of the nineties, Masamichi Yamada (now Sanbo Zen Abbot Ryoun Roshi) was on secondment for two years on business in London, and one evening each month he guided OZC Sangha members in Zen meditation in a room near Regent’s Park, London.

When she returned to her native Canada in 2000 to found the Toronto Zendo, Sister Elaine invited Sanbo-Zen teachers to give sesshins at Charney Manor, Oxfordshire and at Cold Ash Centre, Berkshire, while OZC was without a teacher. We are grateful to our Abbot Ryoun Roshi and Zen Masters Kubota Roshi, Gundula Meyer Roshi and Paul Shepherd Roshi for their guidance during that time.

In 2001 Zen Teacher Rosario Buntang spent three months leading the OZC, then a year later John Gaynor was appointed Zen Teacher leading the Sanghas in Oxford and London. He now leads the London Zen Centre which was renamed The Jizo Zen Centre in 2016, with Meg Vaughan-Fowler as Assistant Zen Teacher.

In 2010 Sandy Chubb was appointed Assistant Zen Teacher. She was appointed a Zen Teacher in 2013 and now leads the Oxford Zen Centre. OZC Assistant Zen Teacher is Peter Wallis.