obcThe purpose of this certificate program is to enable its participants to develop an increased ability to understand and transmit the significance of the Shin Buddhist teachings in the contemporary world.

Moreover, the Certificate in Shin Buddhist Studies program provides persons with an educational grounding in areas specified by the Jōdo Shinshū Hongwanji-ha as requisite for receiving kyōshi certification.

Since 1949 one of the primary missions of the Institute of Buddhist Studies has been to provide a comprehensive program of education and training for persons aspiring to enter the Shin Buddhist ministry in the West. The significance and effectiveness of that effort has long been recognized by the Buddhist Churches of America and the Jōdo Shinshū Hongwanji-ha in Kyoto, Japan. As a result, over the years scores of IBS graduates have been able to receive tokudo ordination, kyōshi certification and kaikyōshi status as overseas Shin ministers from the Hongwanji.

The BCA has recognized the importance of expanding the scope and availability of the Shin Buddhist ministry in order to meet the changing needs of its temples. The minister’s assistant program (MAP) represents the BCA’s response to that situation. Persons who wish to serve as tokudo or kyōshi ministers in BCA temples should contact the minister at their local temple and the Office of the Bishop of BCA. The IBS Certificate in Shin Buddhist Studies has been developed in order to provide an educational foundation for those.

Formal application is required for non-degree program students. Students should review application materials and requirements on the IBS website. Application materials include transcripts of prior coursework or degree, two letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a $50 non-refundable application fee.


Program Requirements

Students must complete a total seven, 3-unit courses for a total of 21 units. All courses must be taken for credit and passed with a B- or better. Audited courses may not count toward fulfillment of the certificate requirements. Please see the IBS catalog for further information regarding course credit, audited classes, and related policies.

The program’s seven required IBS courses (with the corresponding Hongwanji requirement) are:

  1. Introduction to Shin Buddhist Thought (真宗教義 1)
  2. Readings in Mahayana Texts: The Three Pure Land Sutras (仏教教義1)
  3. The Seven Pure Land Masters: History of the Pure Land Tradition (仏教教義 2)
  4. History of the Shin Buddhist Tradition: Premodern (真宗史)
  5. Buddhist Traditions of South Asia (仏教史 1)
  6. Buddhist Traditions of East Asia (仏教史 2)
  7. Works of Shinran I: Shorter Works, or Works of Shinran II: Teaching, Practice and Realization (真宗教義 2)

Other courses or course substitutions may be possible with Dean’s approval. See IBS catalog for related policies.