2019 Graduation and Commencement

M. Editor  |  June 11, 2019

On Friday, May 24, 2019, the faculty, trustees, students and friends of the Institute of Buddhist Studies gathered in the Kodo of the Jodo Shinshu Center to honor the accomplishments of its students who completed degrees and certificate programs.

Additionally during the 2018-2019 academic year, the IBS was the honored exchange host of two students from Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts, Taipei, Taiwan.

Opening introductions were made by Rev. Marvin Harada, IBS Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees, followed by the chanting of the Juseige, led by IBS Ministerial Students.

Opening remarks were given by Rev. David Matsumoto, Ph.D., IBS President, followed by the introduction of Ms. Hoshina Seki of the American Buddhist Study Center in New York and member of the IBS Board of Trustees.

Ms. Seki gave a fascinating commencement address, Lady Takeko Kujo Riding on the Winds of Amida, through which she introduced to the audience the life of Lady Takeko Kujo, born into the family of the Head Priest of the Nishi Hongwanji. Lady Kujo struggled through personal difficulties that came with her social position in order to express and actualize her personal interests. In her lifetime, Lady Kujo went on to found and act as President of Buddhist Women’s Association of Women’s Association, Kyoto Women’s University, and a hospital for the poor in Tokyo, currently known as the Asoka Hospital. The organizations developed by Lady Kujo continue to serve their communities to this day.

President Matsumoto and Mr. Richard Endo, Chair of the Board of Trustees, conferred Graduate Degrees. They were:

Brent Beavers, Master of Arts (Buddhist Studies) Thesis: No-Self, Five Aggregates, and a Fearless Heart in the Interruption of Transgender Otherness in Healthcare.  Committee: Rev. Dr. Daijaku Kinst, Coordinator and Dr. Scott Mitchell, Member.

Rev. Blayne Higa, Master of Divinity:  Thesis: Becoming an Imperfect Companion: Shin Buddhist Spirituality and the Art of Pastoral Care. Rev. Dr. Kinst, Coordinator and Dr. Matsumoto, Member.

Rhiana Elizabeth Wiggins, Master of Arts (Buddhist Studies) Thesis: The Buddhist Teachings of Impermanence as Heuristic Means: Transforming Fear and Denial of Death and Dying. Rev. Dr. Kinst, Coordinator and Dr. Mitchell, Member.

Certificates were presented to the following:

Nisha Shah, Certificate in Buddhism and Contemporary Psychology. Advisor: Dr. Richard K. Payne.
Brent Beavers and Rhiana Elizabeth Wiggins, Certificate in Buddhist Chaplaincy. Advisor: Rev. Dr. Kinst.
Christopher Lee Dunford, Jr., Kaityn Mascher-Mace, Amy Lynn Umezu, Landon Yamaoka, Cynthia Keiko Yasaki, and Jesse Zavala, Certificate in Shin Buddhist Studies. Advisor: Rev. Dr. Matsumoto.
Christina M. Atienza, Brent Beavers and Rhiana Elizabeth Wiggins, Certificate in Soto Zen Studies. Advisor: Rev. Dr. Kinst.
Lien Chun Lalita Lin and Chiyan Shih received certificate of completion for one-year study at IBS under the Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts and IBS Exchange Program. Advisor: Dr. Mitchell.

Reception followed.