Hiroji Kariya, a long time resident of Mountain View, California, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Institute of Buddhist Studies, at the Buddhist Churches of America National Council Banquet, Saturday, February 28, 2009 at Irvine, CA. He was also awarded a BCA Lifetime Service Award.
The IBS is a graduate school for Buddhist Ministry and Research and is an affiliate of the Graduate Theological Union, a consortium of religious schools, in Berkeley
The award was made for his long dedication to the Shin Buddhist movement in the United States and in particular his leadership and generosity for the development of the IBS.
Since 1997, Kariya has been the Chair of the IBS Trustees until his retirement in 2008. During those years, IBS has grown and developed into strong graduate educational institutions for Buddhist ministry and research. His monetary gifts made it possible to be apart of the new campus at the Jodo Shinshu Center located at 2140 Durant Ave., Berkeley.
Kariya has given distinguished service throughout his life to his local temple, the BCA, Hongwanji, and IBS.
He was president of the Mountain View Buddhist temple from 1966-1967 and 1970-1971, BCA President in 1974 at the time of the BCAâ€™s 75th Anniversary, an IBS trustee from the early 1960â€™s, from 1983- 1993 he was the National Chair for the BCAâ€™s Campaign for Buddhism in America raising over $11,000,000.00. This was the first attempt of the BCA to raise major funds for the programs of the national organization. As chair of the campaign he made many trips to Japan to promote the IBS and BCA at his own expense.
In 1989 he was appointed by Monshu Koshin Ohtani, spiritual head of the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, Kyoto, Japan, to the Hongwanji Sanyo, which is a lay organization to help and support the Monshu. Kariya was the first person outside of Japan to be so honored.