The Eshinni and Kakushinni Professor of Women and Buddhist Studies

The newest professorial chair at IBS was established to honor the wife and youngest daughter of Shinran Shōnin and encourage the study and participation of women in Buddhism.

Dr. Paula Arai’s stellar academic achievements and exemplary leadership in the field of women and Buddhism make her as the ideal person to be first Eshinni and Kakushinni Professor of Women and Buddhist Studies. In her words, “The establishment of The Eshinni and Kakushinni Professor of Women and Buddhist Studies chair is an historic moment for the empowerment of women committed to the Dharma. I am profoundly humbled and honored to be its first steward.

“With gratitude and enthusiasm abounding in my heart, I am committed to refining and deepening our understanding of the contributions, teachings, challenges, and triumphs of Buddhist women and look forward to working in an enriching community and environment in which we develop our wisdom, strengthen our compassion, and blossom as lotuses rising from the mud.”

Dr. Arai’s compassionate, embodied, and person-centered approach to teaching is already bringing benefits to her students and members of the IBS community.

Moreover, she is a well-known writer, whose works include Women Living Zen and Bringing Zen Home: The Healing Heart of Japanese Women’s Rituals. Her latest publication, The Little Book of Zen Healing: Japanese Rituals for Beauty, Harmony, and Love, is now available. You can learn more about it at her website:

Dr. Arai will enable IBS to contribute to the growth of religious scholarship that recognizes the central role that women continue to play in the shaping of Buddhist thought and religious life. We would like to invite anyone who is inspired by her work and vision to support the IBS Eshinni and Kakushinni Professorial Chair in the Dharma Forward campaign.

Thank you and gassho!

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