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2012 Graduation Commencement Ceremony

May 18, 2012
10:00 amto1:00 pm

Help us celebrate our students and our community by attending the commencement ceremony for our 2010 graduates. The ceremony will be held in the Kodo of the Jodo Shinshu Center at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, May 18th. A light reception will follow.

The ceremony’s keynote address will be delivered by Prof. Franz Metcalf, a teacher at the California State University, Los Angeles, and author of numerous books applying Buddhist teachings to our everyday lives, including Just Add Buddha and Buddha in Your Backpack.

Franz Metcalf

Prof. Metcalf’s talk, generously sponsored by the Numata Foundation is titled “Our Buddhadharma, Our Buddhist Dharma.” This address explores our evolving Buddhist dharma in two senses. That is, it tries to begin clarifying dharma in the sense of (a) what the Buddhadharma, as teaching, is; and (b) what our dharma, as duty, is toward that Buddhadharma. While the former is a bottomless pit of circularity into which scholars may sink their careers, and the latter is a deepening chasm of responsibilities into which practitioners may throw their lives,  the sinking and the throwing need doing. Treading (and thereby perhaps obliterating) one line between scholarship and practice, this address attempts to trace a path on which scholars and graduates may walk together, down into the darkness.

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

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.

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.

IBS Graduate Student Symposium

April 1, 2011
2:00 pmto5:00 pm

Please join us on Friday, April 1 from 2:00 – 5:00 pm, for the Institute of Buddhist Studies’ first annual Graduate Student Symposium.

This year’s symposium will be a four-person panel composed of IBS and GTU students who will present ongoing research on Buddhism’s interaction with the modern world. Presenter include:

  • Dianne Muller (DSPT): The Concepts of White Buddhism and Double Belonging in Contemporary America
  • Trent Thornley (IBS): Coming Out Buddha
  • Courtney Bruntz (GTU-PhD): Nanhai Guanyin and Notions of the Colossus
  • Anthony Rodgers (IBS): Investigating Western Applications of Buddhadharma

This is our first annual symposium, a new venture of the IBS designed to give graduate students an opportunity for professional development. Small panels and colloquia provide students with an excellent setting in which to share their work and get feedback from their peers. Please come and support your fellow IBS and GTU students!

A light reception will follow the panel.

Please contact Courtney Bruntz or Scott Mitchell for more information, and check our website for updates.

GTU Graduate Fair for Prospective Master’s Students

April 2, 2011
9:30 amto1:30 pm

Come to this event for prospective Master’s degree students (MA, MDiv, and others) to meet representatives from the member schools, centers, and affiliates of the GTU and explore your interests in depth during panel discussions with faculty and students (and over lunch). Find out about a range of degree programs and the many fields of study offered in this ecumenical, interreligious graduate school community in Berkeley. Saturday, April 2, 9:30am to 1:30pm at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Refectory, 2451 Ridge Road, Berkeley. RSVP with the GTU Admissions Office,, 510/649-2460.

An IBS representative will be in attendance for student’s wishing to learn more about Buddhist Studies at the GTU!

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.

2010 Graduation Commencement

Tuesday, April 20, 2010, 4:13 pm

The Institute of Buddhist Studies, a graduate seminary for Buddhist Studies, Shin Buddhist Ministry, and Buddhist Chaplaincy, will hold its graduation commencement ceremony on Friday, May 14, 2010 at 10 a.m. at the Jodo Shinshu Center in Berkeley.

The commencement speaker will be Dr. Paul Harrison of Stanford University who is co-director of the Ho Center for Buddhist Studies.

Degrees will be presented to the 2010 graduates followed by an Honorary Doctorate to be presented to Mr. George Aratani, of Hollywood, Ca., a long-time supporter of the IBS.

The schedule is as follows:

  • 10:00    Procession
  • 10:15    Opening Service
  • 10:30    Introduction of Guests
  • 10:40    Comments by Dr. Leroy Morishita, Chair IBS Board of Trustee
  • 10:55    Commencement Address: Dr. Harrison
  • 11:25    Presentation of diplomas
  • 11:40    Presentation of honorary Doctorate to Mr. Aratani
  • 11:45    Closing comments
  • 11:50    Recessional/oshoko by attendees
  • 12:00    Reception with refreshments

IBS 2009 Fall Semester

Tuesday, September 08, 2009, 3:46 pm

The Institute of Buddhist Studies (IBS), a Graduate Seminary for Buddhist Studies, began its 2009 fall semester with an enrollment of 65 students. Of the total 26 are IBS students and 39 are students for the Graduate Theological Union (GTU), a consortium of Christian Seminaries.

Dr. Richard Payne, IBS Dean, stated that in the past few years the enrollment has increased due to the new IBS location within the Jodo Shinshu Center, Berkeley. Because of our close proximity to the GTU and the University of California, the campus atmosphere of the IBS has become the focal center for Buddhist Religious Studies.

Of the 26 IBS students 19 are on the MA program, 3 are exchange students from Ryukoku University, 2 are special students, 1 students is with the International Ministerial Orientation Program (IMOP), and 1 auditor.

Of the GTU consortium schools 11 are from the GTU, 13 from the Pacific School of Religion, 8 from the Starr King School of Ministry, 3 from the Jesuit School of Theology, 2 from the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, 1 from the Franciscan School of Theology, and 1 from San Francisco Theological Seminary.

“On September 1, 2009, the IBS celebrated its 60th anniversary. The faculty and staff are deeply grateful to the members and friends of the Buddhist Churches of America for their continued support in our journey to support the Shin Buddhist movement and Buddhism in the United States,” said Dr. Payne.

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
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