Established in 1949, the Institute of Buddhist Studies has been providing graduate-level Buddhist education, ministerial and chaplaincy training, and other educational programs in the San Francisco Bay Area for more than sixty years. We are affiliated with the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley with whom we offer a fully accredited Master's Degree in Buddhist Studies. We are affiliated with the Buddhist Churches of America, the oldest Buddhist institution in North America, for whom we offer Jodo Shinshu Buddhist ministerial training.
The mission of the Institute of Buddhist Studies is to provide graduate-level education in the entirety of the Buddhist tradition with special instruction supporting Jodo Shinshu Buddhist ministry.
The program of instruction at the Institute of Buddhist Studies is founded upon a four-fold philosophy of education inspired by the teachings of the Buddha:
1. Education is a process of mutual growth, so that ultimately there is neither student nor teacher. Someone may at one moment be the teacher, but at another moment will be the pupil. The faculty of the Institute of Buddhist Studies, accordingly, does not presume to reveal hidden wisdom to the student body; rather, together they seek the truth. In this search, education is a growth in wisdom and compassion.
2. Education is the exercise of mutual respect grounded in the teachings of non-ego and emptiness. Mutual respect is the acknowledgment of the innate integrity of all sentient beings. Education flourishes only when student and teacher alike accept each other as they are and respect each other for what they are.
3. Education is reformation which advances only when change comes about in one's behavior and attitudes. True education is marked by those changes that increase one's practice of wisdom and compassion.
4. Education is a long process. It brings the ignorant, ordinary person from a state of suffering and frustration, to one of awakening from greed, hatred, and delusion. Understanding gained at one state in this process may not appear as behavior until a much later time; thus, the success or failure of the educational process cannot be measured in terms of today or tomorrow.