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Category Archive: News & Announcements

Numata Lecture: Karmic Mindfulness

Wednesday, October 26, 2011, 10:38 am

numata lecture karmic mindfulnessPlease join us this Friday, October 28, for the Fall 2011 Numata Lecture

Karmic Mindfulness: Rethinking Morality in Contemporary Buddhism

Professor Dale Wright, Occidental College

 

As a basic principle governing moral thinking, the Buddhist concept of karma is brilliant. With clarity and simplicity, it informs participants in Buddhist cultures that what becomes of them in life is dependent on the quality of their relations to other people and on what they do in life. The fact that the concept of karma was transferred from one religious tradition to others in Asia has meant that its early mythological foundations have been weakened, to some extent allowing it to stand on its own.

Although western religions have moral principles that function in similar ways, in each case these concepts cannot so easily be severed from their mythological grounding in the ideas of the will of God, heaven and hell. That difference suggests that karma’s potential as a moral principle for contemporary global culture is outstanding. In order to live up to that role, however, some dimensions of the concept of karma would require rethinking. In this lecture, I assess the strengths and weaknesses of the idea of karma, and suggest how certain aspects of the idea can be developed into a powerful and realistic moral framework for the approaching global society.

Institute of Buddhist Studies, 2140 Durant Ave. Friday, October 28, at 3:00 p.m.

Numata Endowment

Wednesday, September 28, 2011, 8:00 am

Toshihide Numata
A ceremony officially recognizing the donation of $500,000.00 towards the Jodo Shinshu Center Kodo’s Onaijin in 2003 was held on Friday, September 23, 2011 at 10:30 a.m. The Onaijin donation was made in honor of the late Rev. Dr. Yehan Numata, founder of Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai(BDK).

Rev. Dr. Toshihide Numata, President of BDK, attended the ceremony. Also attending were: Mr. Mikiyo Yamashita, President of Mitsutoyo, America, and Rev. Brian Nagata, Director of BDK, America.  Representing the Center were: Rev. Kodo Umezu, Director of Center for Buddhist Education; Rev. Kiyonobu Kuwahara, Director of the Hongwanji Correspondence Course; Dr. Richard Payne, IBS Dean; Rev. Dr. David Matsumoto, IBS; and Rev. Dr. Seigen Yamaoka, IBS.

Following the recognition ceremony, Dr. Numata re-signed the document of a pledge of an additional $500,000.00 to the late Rev. Dr. Yehan Numata Chair for Japanese Buddhist Studies.

“We are deeply appreciative of the generous gifts provided to the IBS by the BDK and the Numata family over the years,” stated Dr. Payne.

2011 Fall Enrollment

Tuesday, September 27, 2011, 4:07 pm

The incoming class of fall 2011 at the Institute of Buddhist Studies is one of growing diversity of interest in Buddhist Studies, Shin Ministry and Buddhist Chaplaincy.

Some fifteen ministerial students are enrolled in the degree program, and five are auditing courses on-line. A total of fourteen students are in the Buddhist Chaplaincy degree certification program.  Two students are in general studies with the goal of eventual ministry.

Of the Graduate Theological Union students participating in the IBS program, seventeen are on-site and twenty-two are taking on-line courses.

“IBS continues to grow as it brings Buddhist thought into the western context and provides for an avenue of seeing things from a different perspective, stated Dr. Richard Payne, IBS Dean.

Theravada Buddhist Studies with the Sati Institute

Thursday, August 18, 2011, 3:39 pm

The Institute of Buddhist Studies (IBS) and the Sati Institute of Theravada Buddhist Studies (SITBS) announce a new, cooperative degree program.

At its meeting Friday, 12 August, the IBS Board of Trustees approved a cooperative relationship between the IBS and the SITBS, including a new Theravada Studies track within the Master of Buddhist Studies degree program. This cooperative undertaking is an important expansion of IBS’s curricular offerings, making available to students the rich resources that the faculty of the SITBS bring to the study of Buddhism. This fall term two new classes — Meditation in the Theravada Tradition and Readings in Early Buddhist Texts — are being added to the IBS course offerings in support of this new specialization.

Future plans for the program include not only additional course offerings in the textual and practice tradition of Theravada Buddhism, but also the study of Pali, one of the primary languages for inquiry into the canonic traditions of Buddhism.

For additional information about the new Theravada Studies track at IBS, please see the Sati Institute’s website, or click on the course titles above.

About the instructors:

Gil Fronsdal is the primary teacher for the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, California, and has been teaching since 1990. He has practiced Zen and Vipassana in the U.S. and Asia since 1975. He was a Theravada monk in Burma in 1985, and in 1989 began training with Jack Kornfield to be a Vipassana teacher. Dr. Fronsdal teaches at Spirit Rock Meditation Center where he is part of its Teachers Council. He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University.


Nona Olivia has been practicing meditation for some 40 years. She graduated from Spirit Rock Meditation Center’s first Dedicated Practitioner Program and is a Lay Buddhist Minister, ordained by Gil Fronsdal. Dr. Olivia holds a Ph.D. from Brown University and teaches at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

Buddhist Chaplaincy Conference

Monday, May 16, 2011, 9:00 am

Some 30 people, with various interest in Buddhist chaplaincy attended the first “Buddhist Chaplaincy Conference: An Overview of Spiritual Care Giving,” co-sponsored by the Institute of Buddhist Studies and the Sati Center Program for Buddhist Chaplaincy at the Jodo Shinshu Center , Saturday, May 7, 2011.

Rev. Jennifer Block, a teacher at the Sati Center, and Rev. Dr. Daijaku Kinst, IBS Pastoral Care professor, presented a wide range of material on Buddhist Chaplaincy including a definition of chaplaincy and spiritual care, the day to day duties of a chaplain in various settings, and what distinguishes Buddhist chaplains.

They also described the path to becoming certified chaplains including the graduate academic program at IBS, the training program at the Sati Center, and the role of Clinical Pastoral Education.

Rev. Rod Seeger, the retired Director of Spiritual Care Services at University of California San Francisco medical center gave a presentation on the work of the chaplain, particularly in hospital setting based on his years of service as chaplain and chaplain supervisor.

2011 Commencement

Thursday, May 12, 2011, 2:12 pm

2011 graduates
Three Institute of Buddhist Studies’ students received their Master Degrees at Commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 6, 2011 at the Jodo Shinshu Center in Berkeley. The presentations were made by Dr. Leroy Morishiata, Chair of the IBS Board of Trustees.

The event was chaired by Rev. Dr. David Matsumoto and began with Opening Service led by Bishop Koshin Ogui, Bishop of the Buddhist Churches of America and President of IBS. Opening remarks were made by Dr. Richard Payne, Dean of the IBS, and Dr. Morishita.

The commencement address was presented by Rev. Nobuo Miyaji, Rinban of the Fresno Betsuin Buddhist Temple, who spoke on the importance of Shin Buddhist Education.

IBS graduates included:

  • Linda Diane Dorse, “Dogen in the Kitchen: Expressions of Shikantaza in Instruction for the Cook,” with thesis committee members Dr. Lisa Grumbach, Dr. Matsumoto, and Rev. Dr. Daijaku Kinst
  • Takashi Miyaji, “Shackles of Doubt,” with thesis committee members, Dr. Matsumoto, Dr. Nobuo Haneda, and Rev. Dr. Seigen Yamaoka. (His degree was accepted by his father, Rev . Miyaji.)
  • Victoria Rose Pinto, “Shinnyo-en: “An Early History,” with committee members, Dr. Payne, Dr. Grumbach, and Dr, Jerome Bagget

Takashi Miyaji is currently attending Ryukoku University, Kyoto, in the Department of Shin Buddhist Studies, and Pinto will be attending the University of Southern California and working for her doctorate in the Department of East Asian Studies, Religion, in the fall.

Dr.Morishita, representing the IBS Trustees, publically announced the appointment of Dr. Yamaoka as the H.E. Kosho Ohtani Chair for Shin Buddhist Studies. Dr. Yamaoka is a Core Faculty member of the IBS and also a Core Doctoral Faculty member of the Graduate Theological Union.

Spring 2011 Numata Lecture

Monday, May 09, 2011, 9:00 am

Lori Meeks
“Making Sense of the Blood Bowl Sutra: Gender, Pollution, and Salvation in Buddhist Sermons from Early Modern Japan,” was the Institute of Buddhist Studies’ Spring Numata Lecture topic presented by Dr. Lori Meeks of University of Southern California.

Dr. Meeks explained that sometime during the late fourteenth and early fifteenth century, several variants of an indigenous Chinese sutra known at the “Blood Bowl Sutra” were transmitted to Japan. The short sutra scripture teaches that women are fated to fall into a special hell known as the “Blood Pond Hell” in retribution for polluting the earth with the impurity of their reproductive blood.

By the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, temples throughout Japan actively promoted the cult of the Blood Bowl Hell as a means of saving women. Dr. Meeks presented two early modern commentaries on the text in an effort to understand how priests presented the teachings to a new audience of lay men and women.

Dr. Meeks received her Ph.D. in East Asian Religions from Princeton University in 2003. Her research focuses on the social, cultural, and intellectual Histories of Japanese Buddhism, in particular, clarifying the roles of women as consumers and practitioners of Buddhism in the Heian and Kamakura periods.

Audio and video of her talk can be found on our podcast.

For more information about past and future Numata Lectures, please visit our News & Events page.

Buddhist Chaplaincy

Wednesday, March 30, 2011, 9:47 am

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“Buddhist Chaplaincy: An Overview of Spiritual Care Giving,” a conference with Rev. Jennifer Block and Rev. Dr. Daijaku Kinst, will be held on Saturday, May 7, 2011 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Jodo Shinshu Center in Berkeley. The event is co-sponsored by the Institute of Buddhist Studies and the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies.

Rev. Block serves as a Director of Public education for the Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco and founder of the Buddhist Chaplaincy Training at the Sati Buddhist Center for Buddhist for Buddhist Studies. Dr. Kinst is the coordinator and primary professor for the Buddhist Chaplaincy Program at the IBS.

This event will provide information to chaplains who provide spiritual care and support in places such as hospitals, hospices, prisons, and a wide variety of other settings. In recent years, Dharma practitioners have been exploring chaplaincy as an opportunity to practice engaged Buddhism, and for some, as a vocation and profession.

This event is open to the public. Donations are welcome.

For more information, please visit our website or the Sati Center.

New Directions in Buddhist Psychology

Tuesday, March 22, 2011, 9:00 am

“We are not alone.” These four words greeted the more than seventy attendees to the First International Conference of Other-Centered Approaches. This historic gathering marked the initiation of a movement that has the potential to illuminate the human condition with the light of Buddhist psychology.

This conference was like a nursery for a sapling that had endured a long sea voyage and was being prepared to be planted into new soil. The presentations by five keynote speakers provided various perspectives of the other-centered approach. An other-centered approach is a shift from a focus on self-esteem enhancement, to an understanding of the self as defined by our relationship to others.

The opening remarks by Caroline Brazier presented evidence that our present western society embraces the focus on self-centeredness. According to the Buddha, this illusion of a substantial, independent self is the cause of much of our suffering. The other-centered approach is not so much a negation of the self but instead offers a more realistic image of a connected, interdependent person: i.e., I am not defined by my inner thoughts of myself, but instead, I exist as an integral part of everyone and everything. Naikan theory, ecology, and love were some topics which demonstrated that this experience of interdependence can result in a grounded, healthy and happy individual.

The 2,600 year history of Buddhist psychology validates the effectiveness of this perspective. Much of the language, customs, and culture of the East have been heavily influenced by Buddhist principles that remind us of our relationship to and gratitude for all those around us.

David and Caroline Brazier of England, Gregg Krech of Vermont, Daijaku Kinst of the Bay Area, and Clark Strand of New York are all outstanding authorities in their respected fields. Their geographical and professional diversity speaks to the universality of this new perspective. Each had been guided to this fundamental Buddhist principle by their unique personal and professional histories. The conference format provided opportunities for other presenters and participants to share their experiences with the Buddhist approach regarding how the self relates to others. For Shin Buddhists, this other-centered focus allowed for an expanded understanding of Amida Buddha, or “Other Power.”

The truth that “We are not alone” was experienced by the selfless support of about twenty volunteers who provided meals and other necessities for the conference. The success of this conference could be measured by the gratitude participants felt for their connectedness with others.

Shinran’s words of Amida’s spiritual presence represent an insightful perspective of the nature of the self. Inspired by Shin principles, an other-centered approach can provide us with a true assessment of an interdependent self in a supportive universe. We can express this awareness with the words Namo Amida Butsu.

2011 Ryukoku Lectures: The Hongwanji: Institutional and Doctrinal Developments in the Tokugawa Era

Thursday, February 17, 2011, 5:13 pm

The Institute of Buddhist Studies 2011 Ryūkoku Lectures

The History of the Shin Buddhist Tradition: significant persons, moments and issues

by Professor Atsushi Hirata
Department of History
Ryūkoku University, Kyoto, Japan

Professor Atsushi Hirata will deliver the 2011 Ryūkoku Lectures at the Institute of Buddhist Studies. The lectures will take place on the following dates at the Jodo Shinshu Center, 2140 Durant Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94704.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011, 2:10-5:00 pm
Buddhadharma and the feudal system

Wednesday, March 9, 2011, 2:10-5:00 pm
The Sangō Wakuran incident and its impact

Wednesday, March 16, 2011, 2:10-5:00 pm
Hongwanji and the State: the two truth theory

All of Professor Hirata’s lectures will be given in Japanese, with English translation. These lectures are open to public, without charge for admission. All interested persons are invited and encouraged to attend Prof. Hirata’s lectures.

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