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Category Archive: News & Announcements

The Buddhist Forum now available on our website

Monday, January 30, 2012, 9:00 am

The Institute of Buddhist Studies, Berkeley, is pleased to announce that the entire run of The Buddhist Forum will be made available as downloadable PDFs on the IBS website.

The Buddhist Forum was first published by the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (issues numbered 1 through 5), and by the Institute of Buddhist Studies, Tring, UK (number 6). The series made public research initially presented as part the series of seminars hosted by SOAS between 1987 and 1997, also known as the Buddhist Forum. Over time the issues have run out of print, and become increasingly rare. It is, therefore, with great pleasure that as a result of an agreement between the Institute of Buddhist Studies of Tring, UK, and the Institute of Buddhist Studies, Berkeley, California, USA, that we are here able to present electronic reproductions of the journal. The process of conversion will continue until all six issues are available.

We would like to express our deepest personal appreciation to Prof. Tadeusz Skorupski (SOAS, London) for agreeing to make the journal publicly available via the IBS website, to Prof. Michael Witzel (Harvard) for technical assistance at a key moment in the transfer of files, Ms. Chenxing Han (IBS) for editing and formatting the files, and Prof. Scott Mitchell (IBS) for doing the requisite IT work.

Click here for an index of currently available volumes.

New Publication: Buddhism in the Modern World

Thursday, January 26, 2012, 9:39 am

Buddhism in the Modern World
Routledge has published a new volume, edited by David L. McMahan, titled Buddhism in the Modern World.

McMahan is well-known for his foundational work in The Making of Buddhist Modernism (Oxford University Press, 2008) in which he describes how both Asian and Western interpreters have shaped Buddhist discourse over the last two centuries.

In Buddhism in the Modern World, McMahan brings together sixteen scholars to discuss various aspects of modern Buddhism in contemporary Asia and the West. Scholars from Martin Baumann and Paul David Numrich to Damien Keown and Cristina Rocha explore how Buddhism is practiced from Southeast Asia to Europe, how it influences ethics and social engagement, culture and politics.

From the publisher’s website:

Buddhism in the Modern World explores the challenges faced by Buddhism today, the distinctive forms that it has taken and the individuals and movements that have shaped it. Each chapter is written by a distinguished scholar in the field and includes photographs, summaries, discussion points and suggestions for further reading. The book provides a lively and up-to-date overview that is indispensable for both students and scholars of Buddhism.

Two IBS faculty members have also contributed to this volume. Dean Richard K. Payne contributes a chapter on Buddhism and psychology. In “Buddhism and the Powers of the Mind,” Dean Payne discusses the ways in which modern Buddhism and modern Western psychology arose within a similar cultural-historical milieu thus leading to the perceived similarities between the two traditions. Prof. Scott A. Mitchell contributes a chapter devoted to pop-cultural representations of Buddhism, discussing the ways in which Buddhism is expressed within and is co-opted by mass media.

Buddhism in the Modern World is available in paperback directly from the Routledge website.


Graduate Student Symposium Call for Papers

Monday, December 12, 2011, 8:23 am

graduate student symposium call for papersWe are pleased to announce a call for papers for the 2nd Annual Graduate Student Symposium at the Institute of Buddhist Studies. Our theme this year is “Globalization, Tourism, Modernization, and the Religions of Asia.”

Both in Asia and in the West, religions are transformed by globalization, tourism, and modernization. This conference invites graduate students to submit proposals considering how one or more of these topics affect religions of Asia, either in the U.S. or abroad.

Proposals should be between 150 to 200 words, and include the paper’s title and the author’s name, affiliation, and contact information. Please submit proposals no later than January 1, 2012.

For more information, or to submit a proposal, please contact Courtney Bruntz or Scott Mitchell.

Important Dates:

Proposal Deadline: January 1, 2012
Notification of Acceptance: February 1, 2012
Submission of Full Paper: March 1, 2012

Symposium: March 16, 2012

Buddhist Studies at the AAR

Wednesday, November 16, 2011, 11:47 am

The American Academy of Religion is the largest professional organization for scholars of religion in North America. Since 1981, the Buddhism Section within the AAR has been the most stable and diverse forum for Buddhist studies scholars to meet and share their work.

Every autumn, the AAR hosts a national conference bringing together scholars, students, and practitioners of a wide diversity of religious traditions. And this year’s conference is in San Francisco. So you can be sure that faculty and staff from the Institute of Buddhist Studies will be in attendance!

IBS Core Faculty member Scott Mitchell has prepared information on some of the Buddhist-related events at this weekend’s conference. Of note are a panel on Pure Land Buddhist Studies, the Buddhism in the West consultation, and a reception honoring the late Leslie Kawamura. Check out his faculty blog for more info.

You can follow our Twitter account or Facebook page for more updates. We’ll be posting from the AAR Annual meeting all weekend!

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.

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