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Category Archive: News & Announcements

2013 Ryukoku Lecture Series

Tuesday, January 29, 2013, 2:46 pm

We are pleased to announce the 2013 Ryukoku Lectures series with Prof. Tesshin Michimoto

Mt. Hiei and the Pure Land
The Development of Pure Land Teachings in Tendai Buddhism

Lecture One
March 13 (Wednesday) Saicho: His Life and Teachings

Lecture Two
March 20 (Wednesday) Ennin: Nembutsu Liturgy & Practice

Lecture Three
March 27 (Wednesday) Genshin: Essentials of Attaining Birth

All lectures from 6:00 to 9:00 pm at the Jodo Shinshu Center
All lectures will be given in Japanese with English translation.
Free and open to the public.

Call for Papers: Pure Land Buddhism Conference

Monday, December 03, 2012, 3:22 pm

Call for papers:
The Pure Land in Buddhist Cultures: History, Image, Praxis, Thought

University of British Columbia | Friday, May 31 to Sunday, June 2, 2013

Abstracts due: February 1, 2013
Papers due: May 23, 2013

For more information, visit the conference website here.

Pure Land Buddhist traditions have been some of the largest and most influential in Buddhist history, and remain so to the present day. Moreover, the very idea of a purified, perfect land of a buddha echoes throughout Buddhist text and praxis. Most often, this buddha is “Immeasurable Light” or “Immeasurable Life,” who created a pure land far to the west of our own world. But there are many others. This conference aims to examine sectarian traditions of Pure Land Buddhism as well as the “pure land” within Buddhism generally. As this conference is jointly-sponsored by associations connected to Pure Land Buddhist traditions in two countries, it is a unique chance to approach pure land expansively, in terms of its long history, global reach, and diverse regional and trans-regional expressions–whether in or across what are today known as China, Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Canada, and so on. The hope is to increase knowledge and scholarly exchange about the multifaceted development of pure land in Buddhist cultures. Papers are welcome on any aspect of pure land, type of Pure Land Buddhism, any region or historical period, and from any methodological or disciplinary perspective.

Please see the conference website for more information.

Call for papers, Update: Proposal Deadline Extended

Monday, December 03, 2012, 9:31 am

Buddhist Ritual, Buddhist Culture

Update: Proposal Deadline Extended

The Institute of Buddhist Studies’ 3rd Annual Graduate Student Symposium

Keynote speaker Dr. Justin McDaniel
University of Pennsylvania

April 13th, 2013
Institute of Buddhist Studies
Berkeley, CA

Call for Papers

We are pleased to announce a call for papers for the 3rd Annual Graduate Student Symposium at the Institute of Buddhist Studies. Our theme this year is “Buddhist Ritual, Buddhist Culture.” Buddhist ritual practices are shaped by their location and are affected by the ritual objects. How does the material world determine the ways that Buddhism is practiced? How do Buddhists use ritual objects? In turn, how does Buddhism shape these objects and transform the physical world? What is the impact, for example, on the physical world as a result of religious pilgrimage or tourism? How do Buddhists transform physical objects in the process of ritualization? This symposium will focus on these themes and will consider both historical and contemporary uses of material objects in Buddhist ritual, Buddhism’s impact on cultural materials, and the relationships between Buddhism and sacred objects.

We invite graduate students to submit proposals considering one or more of these topics, either historically or contemporarily. Proposals should be no more than 200 words, and include the paper’s title and the author’s name, affiliation, and contact information. Please submit proposals to courtney.bruntz -at  - gmail no later than January 31, 2013.

Professor McDaniel’s keynote address is being generously supported by the Yehan Numata Foundation.

Important Dates:
Submission of Abstract: January 31, 2013
Notification of Proposal Result: February 15, 2013
Submission of Full Paper: April 1, 2013
Conference Event: April 13, 2013

Domestic Dharma keynotes added to the podcast

Tuesday, November 27, 2012, 11:15 am

Audio and video recordings from this fall’s symposium, Domestic Dharma: Beyond Texts, Beyond Monasteries, has been added to our podcast.

Click here to view all episodes, including talks given by Profs. Paula Arai and Lisa Grumbach.

Lay Buddhist practices are increasingly recognized as a distinct tradition, existing outside the definitions of Buddhism provided by the textual tradition and by monastic models. The 2012 IBS Numata Symposium will focus on the practice of Buddhism in the household—the Dharma in its domestic setting.


First Annual Eitaikyo Service

Thursday, November 15, 2012, 2:47 pm

Eaitaikyo Service, 2012


The Institute of Buddhist Studies conducted its first Perpetual Memorial Service (Eitaikyo Service) on Thursday, November 8, 2012. The serviced honored some forty-five pioneers who gave much of their time and energy for the growth of the IBS.

The officiant for the service was Rev. Kodo Umezu, Bishop, Buddhist Churches of America, assisted by Rev. Marvin Harada, IBS Trustee, Chair, and Rev. Dr. David Matsumoto.

Rev. Harada read the names of those who were being honored during the service. They are Mrs. Margaret Blair, Rev. Philip Karl Eidmann, Rev. Ryuichi Fujii, Rev. Hogen Fujimoto, Prof. Ryugyo Fujimoto, Rev. Kakumin Fujinaga, Prof. Ryosetsu Fujiwara, Rev. Russell Hamada, Bishop Shinsho Hanayama, Rev. Satoshi Hirata, Mrs. Kimi Hisatsune, Rev. Eijitsu Hojo, Rev. Ryumei Iguchi, Mrs. Jane Imamura, Rev. Kanmo Imamura, Mrs. Yasuko Kariya, Rev. Kenyo Kumata, Mrs.Shinobu Matsuura, Rev. Kyogyo Miura, Rev. Kakue Miyaji, Prof. Mokusen Miyuki, Rev. Toshio Murakami, Rev. Dr. Masatoshi Nagatomi, Rev. Dr. Yehan Numata, Mr. Hayaji Oda, Mr. Sam Oda, Rev. Shobo Ohata, His Eminence Kosho Ohtani, Prof. Leo Pruden, Mr. Ben Sato, Bishop Enryo Shigefuji, Rev. Remy Snow, Rev. Yoshitaka Tamai, Dr. Kikuo Taira, Rev. Shunsho Terakawa, Rev. Kuyoshiro Tokunaga, Bishop Kenryu Tsuji, Prof. Yoshifumi Ueda, Mr. Noby Yamakoshi, Mr. Motomi Yokomizo, Mr. Eiichi Yoshida, Mr. William Waki, and Mr. Shintaro Ito.

Rev. Jerry Hirano, BCA Ministers’ Association Chair, provided the Dharma message. He expressed his deepest appreciation to all the leaders, friends, and ministers who made IBS an educational institution which really helped him to become a minister. Words of appreciation was presented by Dr. Richard Payne, IBS Dean, who stated that IBS became what it is today because of the help all those who went before us, and it is important for us here today, to continue this annual service to express our gratitude.

2012 Fall Semester enrollment

Thursday, October 25, 2012, 2:54 pm

The Institute of Buddhist Studies (IBS), seminary and graduate School, began its 2012 fall semester with a total of eighty students enrolled in its Buddhist Studies programs.

“The IBS continues to grow with the various study programs that are being provided for the needs of the contemporary world. We hope to continue to grow with the help and support of IBS friends who continue to support the vision and direction of our educational program,” said Dr. Richard Payne, Dean.

Of the total number of IBS students, sixteen are in the Common MA program (jointly administered by the IBS and the Graduate Theological Union), one is in the ministerial training program, ten in the Buddhist chaplaincy program, three general Buddhist Studies, and one Theravada Buddhist Studies.

Also attending are four exchange students, two from Ryukoku University, Kyoto, and two from Dharma Drum University, Taiwan.

For further information, contact the IBS.

Buddhism or Buddhisms? Rhetorical consequences of geo-political categories

Monday, August 13, 2012, 9:54 am

The categorization of Buddhism along geo-political lines is perhaps the most common organizing principle today. It also tends to be accepted uncritically. Thus we find, without explanation, such expressions as “Indian Buddhism,” “Tibetan Buddhism,” “Chinese Buddhism,” “Burmese Buddhism,” and so on. These categories predominate not only in popular representations of Buddhism, such as the Buddhist magazines, but also in textbooks of both “world’s religions” and of Buddhism, in academic societies, and publishing, and perhaps the most durable entrenchment, in academic appointments (full disclosure, my own title is that of Professor of “Japanese Buddhism”). The general absence of discussion regarding contemporary geo-political divisions as the organizing principle for the field of Buddhist studies, much less its justification, suggests implicitly that dividing the field along these lines is unproblematic — that it is a simple reflection of things just as they are. Naturalized in this way, the categories become hegemonic, molding both decisions regarding research and the ways in which research is presented. The category system and its consequences need to be consciously evaluated, either so that they may be used with more nuance, or replaced with less problematic and (one hopes) more intellectually productive ones.

Read the rest of this post at the OUPBlog here.

IASBS Now Affiliated RSO with AAR

Tuesday, June 26, 2012, 1:04 pm

The North American District of the International Association of Shin Buddhist Studies is happy to announce that we have been accepted by the American Academy of Religion (AAR) as a Related Scholarly Organization (RSO).

The AAR is North America’s largest professional organization for scholars of religion. Each year, the AAR hosts an annual meeting drawing thousands of religious studies scholars together. RSOs, mainly smaller academic and professional organizations, benefit from their affiliation with the AAR by being included in the AAR’s promotional materials as well as being able to host meetings, conferences, and symposia in conjunction with the annual meeting.

As an RSO, the North American District of the AAR will be able to provide a regular venue for scholars to meet and share their work on Pure Land Buddhism. Our hope is to be able to bring Pure Land Buddhist Studies to the attention of a broader array of religious studies scholars.

RSO status will go into effect immediately. During the 2012 AAR annual meeting in Chicago, members of the North American District Steering Committee will meet to discuss how best to use this new status. We hope to begin offering an annual symposium at the AAR annual meeting beginning in 2013.

For more information, please visit the IASBS website.

IBS Intensive Summer Seminar

Monday, June 18, 2012, 9:00 am

Dr. Mark Blum, Professor of Japanese Studies at the University of Albany, SUNY, East Asian Studies Department, will conduct an Intensive Study Program on the subject of “Shinran and the Nirvana Sutra (Mahaparinirvana Sutra)” Monday, July 9 to Thursday, July 12, 2012 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, daily at the Jodo Shinshu Center, Berkeley, CA.

This is a new professional development and continuing education program.

The course will cover Shinan’s quest to understand himself and the human condition, which led to the study the Nirvana Sutra, which he relied upon to develop his major work, The Kyogyoshinsho. This special reading course (SRC 9999) will provide graduate students with 1.5 unit credit with the completion of the requirements of the study program.

Registration fee is $900.00 for graduate students, $375.00 for auditors, and $185.00 for seniors who wish to take the course.

For detailed information click here or call (510) 501-809-1444.

2012 Institute of Buddhist Studies Commencement

Monday, May 21, 2012, 9:00 am

Five Institute Of Buddhist Studies’ students received their Master Degrees at a commencement ceremony on Friday, May 18, 2012 at the Jodo Shinshu Center in Berkeley.

The event was chaired by Rev. Dr. David Matsumoto. The opening service was conducted by Rev. Kodo Umezu, IBS President and Bishop of the Buddhist Churches of America.

Opening remarks were given by Dr. Richard Payne, IBS Dean, and Rev. Marvin Harada, IBS Trustee Interim Chair.

The commencement address was presented by Dr. Franz Aubery Metcalf, Professor at California State University Los Angeles and the IBS Spring Numata Lecturer. He spoke on the subject of “Our Buddhadharma, our Buddhist Dharma.”

IBS graduates were awarded a Masters Degree in Buddhist Studies degree, in joint sponsorship with the Graduate Theological Union. Graduates included:

  • Kathryn Bilotti Stark, “Compassionate Awareness and Transformation: The Relevancy of Mindfulness Teaching and Practice in Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care,” with thesis committee members Rev. Dr. Daijaku Kiinst, Dr. Payne, and Dr. Gil Fronsdal
  • Alex John McDermid, “Gender in Jodo Shinshu Temple Families,” with thesis committee members Dr. Lisa Grumbach and Dr. Matsumoto
  • Christina Yanko-Ringle, “Aspects of Yogachara in the Discourse on the Pure Land,” with thesis committee members Dr. Matsumoto and Dr. Payne
  • Diana Lynne Thompson, “Narratives of Evil: A comparison of the Ajatashtru Story and Batman Graphic Novels,” with thesis committee members Dr. Matsumoto and Dr. Payne
  • Anne Cottrell Spencer, “Jodo Shinshu in America: A Demographic Survey of the Buddhist Churches of America,” with thesis committee members of Dr. Scott Mitchell and Dr. Kinst

Ven. Nguyen Duong and Kathryn Stark were awarded the Certificate of Buddhist Chaplaincy for their work and course studies under the guidance of Dr. Kinst.
McDermid, Yanko-Ringle, and Duong received their degrees in absentia. All the degrees and certificates where conferred to the recipient by Dean Payne and Rev. Harada.

A reception followed with family and friends.

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