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IBS Commencement 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010, 4:08 pm

2010 IBS Graduates

Mr. George T. Aratani, a long time supporter of Institute of Buddhist Studies, was presented an Honorary Doctorate, and four IBS students received their Master of Buddhist Studies degrees at Commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 14, 2010 at the Jodo Shinshu Center, 2140 Durant Avenue, Berkeley, CA. The presentations were made by Dr. Leroy Morishita, Chair of the IBS Board of Trustees.

The commencement address was presented by Dr. Paul Harrison, co-chair of the Ho Center Buddhist Studies at Stanford University, who spoke on the expanding interest in Buddhist Studies, which is based on the discovery of new documents in ancient languages closer to the Buddha’s time.

Upon the conferring of the honorary doctorate to Aratani, Rev. Dr. David Matsumoto stated that Mr. Aratani could not be present to receive the award, but was truly appreciative of the award. Mr. Aratani has generously supported the IBS Center for Contemporary Shin Buddhist Studies because he felt the urgent need to bring Shin Studies into America. Rev. Dr. Seigen Yamaoka received the degree on behalf of Mr. Aratani.

The IBS graduates were: G. Kenji Akahoshi of San Jose, David Kazuyoshi Fujimoto of Hawaii, Jon Brett Turner of Orange County, and Mutsumi Fujiwara Wondra of Orange County. Wondra is currently studying at Ryukoku Univ ersity, Kyoto. Alan Wondra accepted the degree on behalf of his wife.

Akahoshi’s thesis was titled, “Interpreting the Two Aspects of Deep Mind Utilizing Psychological Metaphors.” His committee included Dr. Matsumoto, Dr. Richard Payne, and Rev. Dr. Daijaku Kinst.

Fujimoto’s thesis was titled, “A Consideration of Religious Conversion: In Shinran’s Thought and the Modern Conversion.” His committee included Dr. Matsumoto, Dr. Yamaoka, and Rev. Harry Bridge.

Turner’s thesis was titled, “Shinran Shonin’s Other Power Nembutsu: A Buddhist Sonic Ritual Based Upon the Mantra.” His committee included Dr. Payne, Dr. Yamaoka, and Rev. Marvin Harada.

Wondra’s thesis was titled, “Interpreting Shinran’s Teaching Within a Contemporary Shin Buddhist Community: How does a person who has attained the stage of the truly settled live in the contemporary world?” Her committee included Dr. Matsumoto, Dr. Eisho Nasu, and Rev. Harada.

The program was chaired by Dr. Matsumoto.

For more images from the ceremony, please visit our Facebook page. Video footage is available on our podcast.

IBS 60th Anniversary Celebration

Thursday, September 03, 2009, 11:47 am

IBS 60th Anniversary

The Institute of Buddhist Studies (IBS), a graduate seminary for Shin Buddhist Ministry and Buddhist Studies, celebrated its 60th anniversary on Tuesday, September 1, 2009 from 11 a.m. at the Jodo Shinshu Center (JSC). Some 80 persons were in attendance.

The ceremony included an opening service led by Bishop Koshin Ogui, Socho and President of IBS. Socho Ogui in his welcome remarks expressed his gratitude to all the BCA members who helped in the growth of IBS throughout the years and to the IBS staff for moving the IBS towards a strong Buddhist Educational Institution.

The ceremonies were highlighted by the conferral of a honorary doctorate to Mr. Hiroji Kariya, former IBS Trustee chair and long time supporter of the school, and the public presentation of the Rev. Yoshitaka Tami Professorial Chair to Dr. Lisa Grumbach; the George and Sakaye Aratani Professorial Char to Rev. Dr. David Matsumoto; and the Rev. Dr. Yehan Numata Professorial Chair to Dr. Richard Payne. The presentations were made by Mr. Thomas Yuki, Chairman of the IBS Board.

Kariya in his acceptance remarks expressed his gratitude to his late wife, Yasuko, his family, and the BCA leaders and members for giving him the opportunity to work with an educational institution which can become a vital force in Buddhist education and training of minister for our temples and beyond. He expressed his hope that the institute will grow and become a Buddhist University in the future.

He stated, “we have a good start in that at the Jodo Shinshu Center (JSC) we have a thriving IBS, an innovative Center for Buddhist Education programs headed by Rev. Kodo Umezu, the Ryukoku University programs for student overseas study, the Hongwanji English Corresponding Program, and the Hongwanji ‘s International Ministerial Orientation Program. All these are the core of a strong and positive educational program. We have a great beginning and a great future.”

He concluded by stating we need everyone to join this great and positive journey for Buddhist Education.

Dean Payne, on behalf on the chair recipient, expressed his appreciation for the generous support and commitment of members of the BCA who provided the endowed chairs.

He stated, “the IBS is now moving to make a positive contribution in the field of Buddhist Education. The history of the IBS marks the emergence of a strong and public commitment to share the teaching of Shinran throughout the western world, as the light of Amida shines unhindered throughout the universe. Key to that history are the figures of Rev. Haruyoshi Kusada and Rev. Seigen Yamaoka.

“Rev. Kusada served as the Executive Director of the IBS from 1968 to 1983. It was at that time that the vision of BCA to create a seminary for the Buddhist ministry to be trained in English was brought to reality.

“A second important step was in the mid-1980s. At that time with the leadership of Rev. Yamaoka as Bishop of the BCA, IBS affiliated with the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley and with Ryukoku University, Kyoto. These were key steps in creating the present educational program of the IBS: providing education for future ministers and Shin Buddhist and Buddhist scholars.

“A third important step came under the leadership of Ogui Socho, who strongly expressed the importance of becoming a broader Buddhist institution. Thus our curriculum has grown and as a result the number of students have increased.

“The fourth historic step was the building of the Jodo Shinshu Center, which created an academic atmosphere for academic study,” he concluded.

Rev. Harry Bridge, Buddhist Church of Oakland and an IBS Adjunct Faculty, chaired the ceremony.

Prior to the ceremonies, the IBS conducted orientation for the students who will begin the 2009 fall semester. Kumi Hadler, IBS registrar, stated that there were 27 IBS students and 27 GTU students signed up for class.

Core faculty and courses are:

  • Dr. Payne, Issues in the Study of Religions (Doctoral level)
  • Dr. Matsumoto, Works of Shinran II – Teaching, Practice, and Realization
  • Dr. Grumbach, Buddhist Traditions of South Asia and Topics in Buddhist Thought: Buddhism, Meat, and Vegetarianism

Adjunct faculty and courses are:

  • Rev. Bridge, Rituals, Practice, and Ceremony in Buddhism
  • Dr. Daijaku Kinst, Zen Buddhism – Introduction to Zen Meditation
  • Dr. Hudaya Kandajahya, Buddhist Traditions of Southeast Asia: Ancient Center of Buddhism in Southeast Asia
  • Yufuko Kurioka, Shin Buddhist Texts: Buddhist Japanese 1

Online Course and instructors are:

  • Dr. Galen Amstutz, Shin History of the Shin Buddhist Traditions
  • Dr. Laura Harrington, Tibetan Buddhism
  • Dr. Scott Mitchell, Topics in Buddhist Traditions of the West: Globalization

IBS 60th Anniversary

Tuesday, August 04, 2009, 3:11 pm

The Institute of Buddhist Studies, a Seminary and Graduate School, will celebrate it’s 60th anniversary on Tuesday, September 1, 2009 at its Jodo Shinshu Center campus, 2140 Durant Avenue, Berkeley, CA from 11 a.m.

At the anniversary service, the IBS will officially confer, in an academic ceremony, an Honorary Doctorate to Mr. Hiroji Kariya for his lifetime contribution to the development of IBS. His award was announced at the Buddhist Churches of America National Council Meeting in February 2009.

“Mr. Kariya joined the IBS Board of Trustees in the early 1960s, and from 1977 until his retirement in 2009 he served as Chair of the IBS Trustees. His dedication and commitment enabled IBS to grow and develop into a strong graduate institution for Buddhist education and research,” said Dr. Richard Payne, IBS Dean.
Also, official recognition will be given to professors who are officially named to professorial endowed chairs.

The BCA ministerial training began in 1930 when Bishop Kenju Masuyama saw the need to train English speaking ministers. After World War II, Bishop Enryo Shigefuji established a monthly study group to persons interested in being ministerial aspirants. The monthly study session was held at the home Mrs. Shinobu Matuura. In 1949, the program was moved to the Berkeley Buddhist Temple at 2121 Channing Way where it became known as the Buddhist Study Center (BCS) under the guidance of Rev. Kanmo Imamura, resident minister of the Berkeley Temple.

A thriving study group developed into a notable number of Buddhist teachers in the world community. In 1958, under the guidance of Bishop Shigefuji and Rev. Imamura, the BCS became the official ministerial training center in the United States. The first students under the new programs were: Leslie Kawamura, John Doami, William Masuda, and Haruo Yamaoka.

In 1966, the BCA acquired a building at 2717 Haste Street, Berkeley, and the BSC was renamed the IBS. In the mid-1980s, Bishop Shnsho Hanayama and Bishop Kenyu Tsuji played vital roles in the early stages at the Haste Street campus. Rev. Haruyoshi Kusada served as Executive Director from 1968 to 1983, laying the educational foundation for graduate studies.

Under the guidance of Bishop Seigen Yamaoka, the IBS established affiliations with Ryukoku University, Kyoto, Japan in 1982 and the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley in 1985. In 1986 Dr. Alfred Bloom, a noted Shin Buddhist scholar, was appointed Dean and Head Professor. Upon his retirement in 1994, Dr. Richard Payne was appointed to the position of Dean.

With the dedication of the newly constructed Jodo Shinshu Center in 2006, and guidance of Bishop Koshin Ogui, the IBS Campus is part of the programs within the center. With the new campus, IBS has grown in its academic offerings.

The public is invited to attend the ceremonies. Contact the IBS for more information.

Vesak Celebration: Steps Along the Way

May 30, 2009
3:00 pmto6:00 pm

The Buddhist Council of Northern California presents its annual Vesak Celebration at the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery, Saturday, May 30, 2009

Vesak Celebration: Steps Along the Way will feature an address by Professor Martin Verhgoeven of the Graduate Theological Union and the participation of Buddhists from many traditions.

Co-chairpersons for this sacred Buddhists holiday celebration are: Rev. Dr. David Matsumoto of the Institute of Buddhist Studies, Venerable Madawala Seelawimnala, IBS Adjunct Professor; and the Venerable Heng Sure, Head Master of the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery.

The gathering is opened to the public for this celebration commemorating the life of the historical Shakamuni Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.

This event will be hosted at
The Berkeley Buddhist Monastery
2304 McKinley Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94703

2009 Vesak Celebration

Wednesday, May 20, 2009, 9:13 am

The Buddhist Council of Northern California (BCNC) will hosts the annual Vesak Celebration on Saturday, May 30, 2009 from 3:00 to 6:00 pm at the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery. The theme of this year’s gathering will be “Steps Along the Way” with a featured address by Professor Martin Verhgoeven of the Graduate Theological Union and the participation of Buddhists from many traditions.

Co-chairpersons for this sacred Buddhists holiday celebration are: Rev. Dr. David Matsumoto of the Institute of Buddhist Studies, Venerable Madawala Seelawimnala, IBS Adjunct Professor; and the Venerable Heng Sure, Head Master of the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery.

The gathering is opened to the public for this celebration commemorating the life of the historical Shakamuni Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.

The Berkeley Buddhist Monastery is located at 2304 McKinley Ave. , Berkeley, CA 94703.

The Nagatomi Library Dedication Ceremony

October 17, 2008
3:00 pmto5:00 pm

For years, as a member of the Institute of Buddhist Studies Advisory Board, Prof. Nagatomi provided us with invaluable advice and support. In conversation with his widow, Mrs. Masumi Mary Nagatomi, we learned that he had intended to devote more of his precious time and energy to the Institute. Unfortunately, his final illness made it impossible for him to fulfill this wish. In recognition of his intent, Mrs. Nagatomi has very generously donated his personal library to the Institute.

In commemoration of this, we wish to conduct a ceremonial event to express directly our deepest gratitude to Mrs. Nagatomi and to offer thanks for Prof. Nagatomi”s contribution to the field of Buddhist studies. Please join us in the ceremony and a reception afterwards. We would appreciate it if you could RSVP to Kumi Hadler ( / 510-809-1444) by Friday, October 17, 2008.

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