Dr. Nancy Lin Appointed to IBS Hanyu Chair

Gesshin Claire Greenwood  |  January 10, 2023

Nancy Lin

The Institute of Buddhist Studies is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Nancy Lin to the Noboru and Yaeko Hanyu Buddhist Chaplaincy Professorial Chair, beginning Jan. 1, 2023. 

The IBS-endowed chair was created by the legacy gift of Mr. Noboru Hanyu, in memory of his wife, Yaeko, to support the development of Buddhist chaplaincy studies at IBS. This title has been held by Rev. Dr. Daijaku Kinst since 2015.

Dr. Lin joined IBS as a faculty member in 2021 and has been working alongside Rev. Dr. Kinst to develop courses that serve chaplaincy interests. This semester, she taught “Buddhist Pastoral Care,” a fundamental course in the chaplaincy program, as well as Buddhism and World Religions. Dr. Lin has published widely on Tibetan Buddhism, including most recently, the article “Ornaments of This World: Materiality and Poetics of the Fifth Dalai Lama’s Reliquary Stūpa” in Jewels, Jewelry, and Other Shiny Things in the Buddhist Imaginary.

“I am profoundly humbled, honored, and grateful to be appointed to the Hanyu chair,” Dr. Lin said. “Learning about the lives of Noboru and Yaeko Hanyu, I am moved by their perseverance and hard work under trying conditions, their dedicated service to BCA, their spirit of Dana, and their recognition of chaplaincy as a field that can serve and benefit all beings by drawing on the insights and skills of Buddhist traditions. 

“With wisdom and compassion, Daijaku-sensei has served in this chair in a groundbreaking, indelible manner that has been formative for Buddhist chaplaincy at IBS and beyond,” she continued. “As she said, to join IBS is to enter a stream of Dharma, and I count myself extremely fortunate to follow in the wake of the Hanyus, Daijaku-sensei, and everyone else who has been part of the IBS community.”

Dr. Lin also praised IBS students.

Dr. Nancy Lin with Rev. Dr. Daijaku Kinst, who previously held the chair

“I love teaching IBS students,” she said. “They are dedicated, caring, and eager to learn. I’m grateful to learn from their perspectives that are informed by diverse backgrounds, traditions, and life experiences. Together, with our new Field Education Director, Lilu Chen, I look forward to strengthening the chaplaincy offerings that Rev. Dr. Daijaku Kinst established through our certificate and degree program tracks. 

She also outlined some of her future plans as the new Hanyu chair.

“We have emphasized the shared concerns and skills that are important for both aspiring ministers and chaplains, and I would like to continue highlighting that overlap,” Dr. Lin said. “I see field education, whether in the form of CPE or other opportunities, as a vital channel for IBS students to develop skills and to work on their growing edges.

“To benefit our students and alumni, I would like to continue building our Buddhist chaplaincy networks among educators and professional chaplains in the Bay Area and beyond,” Dr. Lin said. “I’m also interested in how the study and practice of Buddhist chaplaincy can enrich other fields, including chaplaincy studies together with the broader field of ministry studies, as well as academic methods and pedagogy in the humanities.”

Dean Scott Mitchell, Dean of Students and Faculty Affairs at IBS, praised Dr. Lin’s appointment.

“Since Dr. Lin joined the IBS in 2021, she has become an invaluable part of our community,” Dean Mitchell said. “She has dedicated herself to the field of Buddhist chaplaincy and has enthusiastically contributed to the work of the faculty. I can think of no one better suited to support our students and grow the program into the future.”