by Seigen Yamaoka
Thursday, June 04, 2009, 11:02 am
On the occasion of his wife Yasuko’s First Year Memorial Service, with the consent of his family, Mr. Hiroji Kariya, a member of the Mountain View Buddhist Temple, pledged $1,000,000 to establish an endowed professorial chair at the Institute of Buddhist Studies.
The chair is to be named the Hiroji and Yasuko Kariya Chair for Buddhist Religious Education Studies.
In giving the gift, Mr. Kariya said, “Yasuko was very supportive in anything that I did with our local temple and for the Buddhist Churches of America. She was the one who always encouraged me to do what I felt was important. We often talked about making the IBS a Buddhist University. Yasuko shared that dream with me. This might not happen during my lifetime, but my children and I would like to be a small part in the fulfillment of that dream in the future, because the fact is, right now, we have a good start with the IBS, the Center for Buddhist Education, and the Jodo Shinshu Center.”
Dr. Richard Payne stated, “As the Dean of the Institute of Buddhist Studies, I would like to express how deeply moved I am by the generous gift that Mr. Kariya and his family are making in memory of the late Yasuko Kariya. Institutionally the establishment of an endowed chair is vitally important as it is only with qualified faculty and staff that the programs of the IBS can effectively serve the BCA and the propagation of Shin Buddhism in the West.
“The education of ministers, chaplains and lay leaders, together with research and publication, are all means by which the profound teachings of Shinran Shonin are made present in today’s world. An endowment of this kind will make it possible for the IBS to expand its faculty and thereby propagate the Pure Land teachings more effectively.
“At the same time, the endowment in Yasuko’s memory is personally meaningful as well. Years ago, the IBS administrative offices were temporarily relocated to the grounds of the Mountain View Buddhist Temple. One of the people who were most welcoming was Mrs. Kariya. Rather than being made to feel like an awkward intruder, she helped to make me feel like a welcome guest-indeed, a part of the temple sangha. I am glad that this endowment will stand as a permanent memorial for such a kind and gracious lady.”
Mr. Kariya has given a lifetime of service to the BCA, as president of his local temple and as a leader in key roles in the BCA.
The Kariya IBS Endowment is part of Campaign BCA: the 21st Century.