The Institute of Buddhist Studies (IBS), a graduate seminary for Shin Buddhist Ministry and Buddhist Studies, celebrated its 60th anniversary on Tuesday, September 1, 2009 from 11 a.m. at the Jodo Shinshu Center (JSC). Some 80 persons were in attendance.
The ceremony included an opening service led by Bishop Koshin Ogui, Socho and President of IBS. Socho Ogui in his welcome remarks expressed his gratitude to all the BCA members who helped in the growth of IBS throughout the years and to the IBS staff for moving the IBS towards a strong Buddhist Educational Institution.
The ceremonies were highlighted by the conferral of a honorary doctorate to Mr. Hiroji Kariya, former IBS Trustee chair and long time supporter of the school, and the public presentation of the Rev. Yoshitaka Tami Professorial Chair to Dr. Lisa Grumbach; the George and Sakaye Aratani Professorial Char to Rev. Dr. David Matsumoto; and the Rev. Dr. Yehan Numata Professorial Chair to Dr. Richard Payne. The presentations were made by Mr. Thomas Yuki, Chairman of the IBS Board.
Kariya in his acceptance remarks expressed his gratitude to his late wife, Yasuko, his family, and the BCA leaders and members for giving him the opportunity to work with an educational institution which can become a vital force in Buddhist education and training of minister for our temples and beyond. He expressed his hope that the institute will grow and become a Buddhist University in the future.
He stated, “we have a good start in that at the Jodo Shinshu Center (JSC) we have a thriving IBS, an innovative Center for Buddhist Education programs headed by Rev. Kodo Umezu, the Ryukoku University programs for student overseas study, the Hongwanji English Corresponding Program, and the Hongwanji â€˜s International Ministerial Orientation Program. All these are the core of a strong and positive educational program. We have a great beginning and a great future.”
He concluded by stating we need everyone to join this great and positive journey for Buddhist Education.
Dean Payne, on behalf on the chair recipient, expressed his appreciation for the generous support and commitment of members of the BCA who provided the endowed chairs.
He stated, “the IBS is now moving to make a positive contribution in the field of Buddhist Education. The history of the IBS marks the emergence of a strong and public commitment to share the teaching of Shinran throughout the western world, as the light of Amida shines unhindered throughout the universe. Key to that history are the figures of Rev. Haruyoshi Kusada and Rev. Seigen Yamaoka.
“Rev. Kusada served as the Executive Director of the IBS from 1968 to 1983. It was at that time that the vision of BCA to create a seminary for the Buddhist ministry to be trained in English was brought to reality.
“A second important step was in the mid-1980s. At that time with the leadership of Rev. Yamaoka as Bishop of the BCA, IBS affiliated with the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley and with Ryukoku University, Kyoto. These were key steps in creating the present educational program of the IBS: providing education for future ministers and Shin Buddhist and Buddhist scholars.
“A third important step came under the leadership of Ogui Socho, who strongly expressed the importance of becoming a broader Buddhist institution. Thus our curriculum has grown and as a result the number of students have increased.
“The fourth historic step was the building of the Jodo Shinshu Center, which created an academic atmosphere for academic study,” he concluded.
Rev. Harry Bridge, Buddhist Church of Oakland and an IBS Adjunct Faculty, chaired the ceremony.
Prior to the ceremonies, the IBS conducted orientation for the students who will begin the 2009 fall semester. Kumi Hadler, IBS registrar, stated that there were 27 IBS students and 27 GTU students signed up for class.
Core faculty and courses are:
- Dr. Payne, Issues in the Study of Religions (Doctoral level)
- Dr. Matsumoto, Works of Shinran II â€“ Teaching, Practice, and Realization
- Dr. Grumbach, Buddhist Traditions of South Asia and Topics in Buddhist Thought: Buddhism, Meat, and Vegetarianism
Adjunct faculty and courses are:
- Rev. Bridge, Rituals, Practice, and Ceremony in Buddhism
- Dr. Daijaku Kinst, Zen Buddhism â€“ Introduction to Zen Meditation
- Dr. Hudaya Kandajahya, Buddhist Traditions of Southeast Asia: Ancient Center of Buddhism in Southeast Asia
- Yufuko Kurioka, Shin Buddhist Texts: Buddhist Japanese 1
Online Course and instructors are:
- Dr. Galen Amstutz, Shin History of the Shin Buddhist Traditions
- Dr. Laura Harrington, Tibetan Buddhism
- Dr. Scott Mitchell, Topics in Buddhist Traditions of the West: Globalization