Mr. George T. Aratani, a long time supporter of Institute of Buddhist Studies, was presented an Honorary Doctorate, and four IBS students received their Master of Buddhist Studies degrees at Commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 14, 2010 at the Jodo Shinshu Center, 2140 Durant Avenue, Berkeley, CA. The presentations were made by Dr. Leroy Morishita, Chair of the IBS Board of Trustees.
The commencement address was presented by Dr. Paul Harrison, co-chair of the Ho Center Buddhist Studies at Stanford University, who spoke on the expanding interest in Buddhist Studies, which is based on the discovery of new documents in ancient languages closer to the Buddhaâ€™s time.
Upon the conferring of the honorary doctorate to Aratani, Rev. Dr. David Matsumoto stated that Mr. Aratani could not be present to receive the award, but was truly appreciative of the award. Mr. Aratani has generously supported the IBS Center for Contemporary Shin Buddhist Studies because he felt the urgent need to bring Shin Studies into America. Rev. Dr. Seigen Yamaoka received the degree on behalf of Mr. Aratani.
The IBS graduates were: G. Kenji Akahoshi of San Jose, David Kazuyoshi Fujimoto of Hawaii, Jon Brett Turner of Orange County, and Mutsumi Fujiwara Wondra of Orange County. Wondra is currently studying at Ryukoku Univ ersity, Kyoto. Alan Wondra accepted the degree on behalf of his wife.
Akahoshiâ€™s thesis was titled, â€œInterpreting the Two Aspects of Deep Mind Utilizing Psychological Metaphors.â€ His committee included Dr. Matsumoto, Dr. Richard Payne, and Rev. Dr. Daijaku Kinst.
Fujimotoâ€™s thesis was titled, â€œA Consideration of Religious Conversion: In Shinranâ€™s Thought and the Modern Conversion.â€ His committee included Dr. Matsumoto, Dr. Yamaoka, and Rev. Harry Bridge.
Turnerâ€™s thesis was titled, â€œShinran Shoninâ€™s Other Power Nembutsu: A Buddhist Sonic Ritual Based Upon the Mantra.â€ His committee included Dr. Payne, Dr. Yamaoka, and Rev. Marvin Harada.
Wondraâ€™s thesis was titled, â€œInterpreting Shinranâ€™s Teaching Within a Contemporary Shin Buddhist Community: How does a person who has attained the stage of the truly settled live in the contemporary world?â€ Her committee included Dr. Matsumoto, Dr. Eisho Nasu, and Rev. Harada.
The program was chaired by Dr. Matsumoto.