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Monthly Archive for April 2013

Buddha’s Birthday Celebration

April 24, 2013
7:00 pmto9:00 pm

Students of the Institute of Buddhist Studies are hosting a Hanamatsuri celebration, Wednesday, April 24, at 7 p.m., at the Jodo Shinshu Center in Berkeley. This event is free and open to the public.

Please contact us for detail.


Summer Pacific Seminar: Shinran and Ajatasatru

July 5, 2013toJuly 7, 2013

More information on this Center for Buddhist Education and Institute of Buddhist Studies jointly-held event will be posted here at a later date. Please visit this website for registration information.

New Book: Heart of the Shin Buddhist Path, A Life of Awakening

Friday, April 12, 2013, 9:31 am

Wisdom Publications has released a new book by noted Shin Buddhist scholar Takamaro Shigaraki, Heart of the Shin Buddhist Path: A Life of Awakening. 

Last last month, Prof. Shigaraki was in the San Francisco Bay Area, delivering a series of lectures and talks at the Institute of Buddhist Studies, the Center for Buddhist Education, and the Buddhist Churches of America. Some of these events will be featured in forthcoming episode of the Institute’s Podcast, available here.

Prof. Shigaraki is one of the leading Shin Buddhist thinkers in the world today. His innovative approach to traditional Shin Buddhist ideas via comparative religious scholarship and rational analysis has made him a cause celebre in the Shin Buddhist world. He has served as President of Ryukoku University, one of Japan’s oldest and most prestigious universities, where he received his PhD in Literary Studies and is a Professor Emeritus of Shin Buddhist studies. Dr. Shigaraki has also served as Chairman of the Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai, the largest Shin Buddhist organization in the world.

Heart of the Shin Buddhist Path was translated by David Matsumoto, professor of contemporary Shin Buddhist studies at the Institute of Buddhist Studies.

To purchase the book, please visit Wisdom Publications.

Dharma at Times of Need: symposium jointly sponsored by IBS and Harvard

Thursday, April 11, 2013, 9:45 am

A two day symposium jointly sponsored by the Institute of Buddhist Studies and Buddhist Ministry Initiative, Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, will be conducted on Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4, 2013 at the Jodo Shinshu Center, 2140 Durant Avenue, Berkeley, CA , with the theme “Dharma at Times of Need: The interface of Chaplaincy and Ministry.”

“This two-day symposium will explore the ways that engaging the insights of how the Dharma can benefit people at the times of greatest suffering, frustration and disappointment, and the role of minister and chaplain in assisting others at and through hose times of need,” said, Dr. Richard Payne, IBS Dean.

IBS and Harvard students and faculty will present papers to be discussed in their field of study.

The program:


Friday, May 3

3:00 – 3:30 pm                    Opening Greetings

3:30 – 5:30 pm                    First Panel

5:30 – 6:00 pm                    Break/Refreshments

6:00 – 7:00 pm                    Keynote: “Buddhist Chaplaincy and Practical Ministry in an International  Context.”


Saturday, May 4

8:30 – 9:00 am                    Opening Greetings

9:00 – 11:00 am                  Second Panel

11:00 – 1:00 pm                  Lunch Break

1:00 – 3:00 pm                    Third Panel

3:00 – 3:30 pm                    Break

3:30 -  5:30 pm                    Fourth Panel

5:30 -  6:00 pm                    Closing


The symposium is free and open to the public. Those who wish to participate are asked to register online.

Buddhist Chaplaincy: An Overview

April 27, 2013
10:00 amto5:00 pm

Chaplains provide spiritual care and support to people in places such as hospitals, hospices, prisons and a wide variety of other settings. The work is wonderfully challenging and satisfying. In recent years, dharma practitioners have been experiencing chaplaincy as a powerful opportunity to practice engaged Buddhism, and for some, as a vocation and profession.

Join us for an explanation of this field of service, which is gaining in size and scope in dharma communities. Professional chaplains and educators will introduce aspects of chaplaincy, including: a definition of chaplaincy, the history of chaplaincy, settings where chaplains serve, and the steps one can take to become a volunteer or professional chaplain (including educational requirements) as a Buddhist practitioner.

Co-sponsored by: The Sati Center for Buddhist Studies and The Institute of Buddhist Studies (www.shin-

This class will be held at the San Francisco Zen Center, and is offered on a donation basis. Please bring your own lunch.


9:30 Registration; Greeting; Sitting
10:00 Welcome: intros, purpose/overview of the day 10:15 What is a chaplain?; What is spiritual care? 12:00 A day in the life of a chaplain

1:00 Lunch Break

2:00 What is a Buddhist chaplain?
2:45 Path to becoming an employed chaplain:
4:00 Breakout sessions: IBS program w/Jaku and Sati training w/Jennifer 5:00 End; dedication of merit

Reverend Daijaku Judith Kinst, Ph.D. is the coordinator and primary professor for the Buddhist Chaplaincy program at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley, a graduate school affiliated with the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, and Ryukoku University, Kyoto. After ordination and formal Soto Zen priest training, Daijaku completed an MA in Western psychology, licensure as an MFT, and a PhD in Psychology and Buddhism. During this time she also trained as a chaplain at the UCSF Medical Center’s Clinical Pastoral Education program. She is a dharma successor in the Soto Zen lineage of Shunryu Suzuki roshi and, with Rev. Shinshu Roberts is the Guiding Teacher of the Ocean Gate Zen Zendo in Capitola, California. She has taught and led retreats with teachers from a variety of Buddhist traditions, and maintains a pastoral counseling and spiritual direction practice in San Francisco.

Reverend Jennifer Block, M.A., serves as the director of Public Education and Chaplain for the Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco, California, creating curriculum, teaching workshops, offering spiritual care, and providing community outreach. With Gil Fronsdal and Paul Haller, Jennifer founded the Buddhist Chaplaincy Training program at the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies where Buddhist practitioners are introduced to the competencies of professional spiritual care. Jennifer completed her undergraduate degree at Boston University, and her theology degree at Naropa University, and is an ordained Interfaith minister and Buddhist chaplain.

3rd Annual Graduate Student Symposium: Buddhist Ritual, Buddhist Culture

April 13, 2013
1:00 pmto5:00 pm

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

Generously co-sponsored by the Graduate Theological Union’s Asia Project
and The Numata Foundation

April 13, 2013, 1 pm – 5 pm

We are pleased to announce 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.

The symposium will feature a keynote address by Prof. Justin McDaniel of the University of Pennsylvania. Prof. McDaniel’s talk is generously supported by the Numata Foundation.

The event will be held on Saturday, April 13, beginning at 1 pm, at the Jodo Shinshu Center in Berkeley, CA.

This event is free and open to the public. Please visit our Facebook event page to RSVP or drop a note in the comments below.

Keynote Address:

Architects of Buddhist Leisure
Justin McDaniel, University of Pennsylvania

The rise of Asian economies over the 20th and 21st centuries has not only brought market competition and political influence, but also the rise of a “leisure class.” Buddhism, usually described as an austere religion which condemns desire and promotes monasticism and denial, has not been the subject of the history of leisure. There has been little investigation of Buddhist pleasures or pastimes. However, Buddhist leisure activities, Buddhist tourism, and Buddhist material products are common parts of Asian culture. Indeed, some of the first tourist books and souvenir shops in Asia were marketed and owned by practicing Buddhists in Bangkok, Kyoto, and Singapore. Novels and coffee-table books about Buddhist tourists and pleasure-seekers have been popular in Thai, Chinese, and Japanese history. Buddhist monasteries across Asia are sites of playgrounds, sports-fields, and shopping bazaars. Over the past seventy years, Buddhist comic books, films, and soap-operas have flourished on Asian airwaves. Indeed, many of the ways Buddhist children first learn about their religion is not in the strict confines of a monastic training center, but through Buddhist leisure activities like singing songs, family trips, martial arts camps, and beauty contests.  These creative religious improvisations and public culture of Buddhism in Asia is often built on the idea that Buddhist practice and leisure activities go hand-in-hand.

This short talk focuses on the work of three architects of Buddhist public and leisure spaces in Nepal, Singapore, and Thailand and is designed to start a discussion about the very idea of Buddhist leisure space in modern Asia.

Justin McDaniel studies ghosts and manuscripts in Asia. After living and researching in South and Southeast Asia for many years as a translator, archivist, amulet collector, volunteer teacher, and Buddhist monk. He returned to the States and received his PhD from Harvard University’s Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies in 2003. His research foci include Lao, Thai, Pali and Sanskrit literature, Southeast Asian Buddhism, Japanese Buddhist architecture, ritual studies, manuscript studies, asceticism, the undead, and general phantasmagoria. His first book is on the history of Buddhist monastic education in Laos and Thailand, Gathering Leaves and Lifting Words (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2008). It won the Benda Prize from the Association of Asian Studies for the best first book in Southeast Asian Studies. His second book, The Lovelorn Ghost and the Magical Monk (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011) is a study on material culture and ritual in Thai Buddhism. His recent publications appear in the Bulletin l’École Française d’Extrême-Orient (Études thématiques), Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, Aséanie, Journal of Religion and Film, Material Religion, Manusya, Journal of Burma Studies, and the Journal of the Siam Society, as well as contributions to collected articles on Buddhism and Modernity, Pali literature, Palm-leaf Manuscript research, and liturgical studies. He is the co-editor of the journals Buddhism Compass and Journal of Lao Studies, and is the former Chair of the Southeast Asian Studies Council and the Thailand, Laos, Cambodia Studies Group of the Association of Asian Studies. He has won several teaching and advising awards. In collaboration with colleagues at Penn, UC Riverside, and in Thailand, he has designed two websites: The Thai Digital Monastery Project ( and the Thai, Lao, Cambodia Studies Portal ( His present project looks at the advent of Buddhist leisure (parks, museums, carnivals, film, comics, bird-watching, and collecting stuff) in Japan, Nepal, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Laos. In 2012 he was named a Guggenheim Fellow and is the Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

Schedule of Events:

1:00pm: Welcome
Scott Mitchell, Institute of Buddhist Studies
Moses Penumaka, Graduate Theological Union Asia Project

1:15pm: Presentation of Graduate Student Work, part 1

Ryan Anningson; Wilfrid Laurier University-University of Waterloo
“’There Hang the Jewels:’ The Motif of Jewels in Buddhist Narratives”

Matthew Milligan; The University of Texas-Austin
“Material Evidence for Donation as Ritual in the Epigraphic Habit of Early Indian Buddhists”


2:00pm: Presentation of Graduate Student Work, part 2

Ying Chien Chen (Rev. Jian Ji); The Institute of Buddhist Studies
“DDM Ash Burial Ceremony – How Buddhism Influences Chinese Cremation Culture”

Tsun Nyen Yong (Rev. You Min); The Institute of Buddhist Studies
“Memorial Tablets in Contemporary Chinese Buddhist Ritual”

Aaron Proffitt; The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
“Dōhan’s 道範 (1178-1252) Himitsu nenbutsu shō 秘密念仏抄 and Tantric Pure Land in Medieval Japanese Buddhism”

Discussion and Questions

4:00pm: Keynote Address: Architects of Buddhist Leisure

Dr. Justin McDaniel; Associate Professor, Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania

A light reception will follow.

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