The Order’s formal structure is similar to that found within a traditional Ch’an temple with an emphasis on mutual respect and equality. While any school and tradition has a hierarchical set of office and ranks, OEB has limited these to six.
Prior General/Sub-Prior: The office of Prior General (or Sub-Prior) is the senior leadership office of our Order. The office is held for two years and is elected by all monks in the Order. While this station is most senior in our community it is to be considered “primus inter pares”: first among equals. There is no term limit. Once the Prior General has been retired by election, they become a member of the Senior Leadership Council. The Prior General or Sub-Prior may use the title of Venerable Reverend.
VOCATIONAL MONASTIC PATH:
Cleric/Priest: To be considered for Cleric ordination a Novice must demonstrate both an acidemic and practical understanding of the dharma, be able to express their knowledge in written as well as public teaching situations and have developed a viable community ministry under the guidance of their root teacher. There are two declared authorizations at this rank. The first is an authorization that allows limited teaching authority within the Cleric’s sanctioned Sangha as determined by OEB’s Senior Leadership Council and stated clearly on the ordaining certificate. The second is a senior rank that authorizes the Cleric to fully teach as guided by the Rules of Conduct and has authority to conduct a community ministry unsurprised. These ranks may use the title of Reverend.
Novitiate: After an initial period of the postulate period under the guidance of an individuals root teacher, the teacher submits a request to the Prior General to consent to allow the student to recite the intentional simple Bodhisattva vows and become a novice in the Order. These vows are the beginning of vocational academic training in preparation for Cleric ordination. This rank may use the title of Brother.
SCHOLASTIC MONASTIC PATH:
Bhikkhu: After a period of study and practice formation, a Unsui’s root teacher may submit a request to the Prior General stating that the individual has met the requirements for advancement to the honorable rank of a Bhikkhu monk. Upon consent by the Prior General a formal ceremony is conducted where the candidate takes formal vows. It is at this point the monk’s formal life as a Buddhist monk begins.
Unsui: This is the first rank on the Scholastic monk path. After a period of discernment the approved candidate will take pledging vows which is often referred to as reception of the robe. A minimum of one year is required at this rank.
Both the Bhikkhu & Unsui take the title of Brother
Senior Leadership Council: The council is comprised of past Prior Generals or Vice-Priors that act as an advisory council to the presiding Prior General. Their seniority is based on the date they became council members. They remain members for life, until they choose to resign, or retire from the Order.
Offices Of the Order
Director Administrative Office Of The Prior (DAOP): This station is appointed by the Senior Leadership Council. It is the senior position within the Order and is held by a senior OEB ordained Priest. The station is similar to being Chief of Staff.
Guest Prefect: This station is assigned by the Prior General for a period of two years, and is renewed by him. The office is generally held by a senior cleric reporting to the DAOP.
Director of Vocations: This station is assigned by the Prior General for the purpose of directing formal training and discernment. The position reports to the DAOP under guidance of the Prior General.
Director of InterFaith Communications: This station is assigned by the Prior General for the purpose of engaging the interspiritual community for seeking common ground between Buddhism and faith-based religions to promote understanding and respect for a pluralistic and pragmatic worldview and social justice. The position reports to the DAOP.
European Liaison Director: This station is assigned by the Prior General for the purpose of coordinating the practice and priory dedications in our European affiliates. The Liaison Director is the official link between the General Priory and the Order’s overseas monastic community. The position reports to the Prior General.
Director of Information Technology: This station is assigned by the Prior General for the purpose of identifying, developing, and implementation of the Order’s technological needs that support our community mission and training expectations reporting to the DAOP.
Members of the Order may choose to live alone, within a house with other members of the Order, or in a family setting as long as there is a dedicated room for contemplative practice. Those living alone or with a family are considered to be living in a Chapter House. A house with three or more clerics is called a Priory. The residency of the Prior General is considered the General Priory. These houses are the official residents of member of the Order. Any practice center, affiliate meditation group, or temples established for the Order are independent from these houses.