Willigis Jäger (born in 1925) is a spiritual teacher from Hösbach, near Frankfurt, Germany. A Benedictine monk and Zen teacher, he now lives in the Centre for Spiritual Journeys "Benediktushof" near Würzburg, which he founded in 2003.
In 1946 he entered a Benedictine monastery, and was ordained in 1952. He worked as a prefect and teacher at a boarding school and high school of the Münsterschwarzach Abbey until 1959. In 1960, he became a Referent for Mission and Development at the League of German Catholic Youth. He actively participated in humanitarian organizations "Missio" and "Misereor" whose activities took him to many Third World countries, including Asia and Japan.
In 1971 he started to practice Zen under the guidance of Hugo E. Lassalle and Brigitte D'Ortschy. He went to Japan to a newly founded monastery in Kamakura, near Tokyo, where he joined a group of people who had been studying zazen and koans under the guidance of Yamada Koun Roshi. He stayed with them for six years. After finishing the studies in 1980, he received the permission to teach Zen.
His return to Germany in 1983 marked the founding of the first centre for Zen and contemplation in Würzburg named the House of St. Benedict(Benediktushaus). Seven years later, he initiated the foundation of the "Ökumenische Arbeitskreis kontemplatives Gebet ins Leben" (Ecumenical Work Circle for Contemplative Prayer), later to become the Würzburg School of Contemplation (WSdK).
In 1996 Willigis Jäger received inka shōmei from Kubota Ji’un Roshi, dharma successor of Yamada Roshi, confirming him as the teacher-master of Zen and the 87th successor of Shakyjamuni Buddha within the Sanbo Kyodan School.
In 2003, thanks to the support of Mrs. Gertraud Gruber, the Benediktushof Centre for Spiritual Journeys was opened in Holzkirchen, near Würzburg. It became Willigis’ residence and workplace.
Six years later, he founded a Zen line "The Empty Cloud". In October of the same year, 2009, he received a confirmation from the Chinese Chan Grandmaster Jing Hui in Bailin temple as the Chan master and the 45th successor to Lin Chi (Jap. Rinzai).
The end of the new organization of his long years of work was marked by the founding of the Christian contemplative line "The Cloud of Unknowing" in 2010. The line has over a hundred teachers and works in cooperation with the Würzburg Contemplation Forum (WFdK).