Peggy Teresa Nancy Kennett was born in Sussex, England. She began her practice of Buddhism in the Theravada tradition and was first introduced to Zen through D. T. Suzuki. In 1960 the Very Reverend Keido Chisan Koho Zenji (1879-1967), the Chief Abbot of Daihonzon Sojiji, met her in London and asked her to be his disciple and come to Japan to train at Sojiji, one of the two main monasteries of the Soto Zen sect. At the time Sojiji only trained men. On her way to Japan she was ordained in the Chinese Mahayana tradition in Malaysia by the Very Reverend Seck Kim Seng. She received dharma transmission and certification as a roshi by Chisan Koho and was appointed Abbess of Umpukuji, her own temple in Mie Prefecture, Japan.
She left Japan in 1969 and founded the Zen Mission Society in San Francisco which became the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives. She founded Shasta Abbey at Mount Shasta, California in 1970 and Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey in Northumberland, England in 1972 as well as many other Buddhist temples throughout North America and Europe.