Shinnyo-en Honored by UC Berkeley
On September 24, 2009, Shinnyo-en Chief Bishop Nagatsuka, Rev. Sugiyama, Rev. Matsunaga, Rev. Kasai and CEO of Shinnyo-en Foundation, Haru Inouye were welcomed at the Jodo Shinshu Center in Berkeley during the opening reception for UC Berkeley’s Conference on Japanese Buddhism. The gathering was hosted by the Institute for Buddhist Studies of the Graduate Theological Union to kick of UC Berekely’s Center for Japanese Studies three day conference, “Tracing the Study of Japanese Buddhism.”
Professor Duncan Williams, Chair for the Center for Japanese Studies and Associate Professor of Japanese Buddhism at UCB, greeted Shinnyo-en visitors and all guests with an enthusiastic opening speech that set the tone for the coming three days.
Professor Richard Payne, Dean of the Institute of Buddhist Studies, echoed Professor Williams’ words of enthusiasm towards the opening of a gathering of academics from all over the world for the international conference on Japanese Buddhism, and briefly outlined the history of Buddhist Studies at UCB. Bishop Koshin Ogui, of Buddhist Churches of America, toasted the beginning of the conference while over 50 attendees raised bowls of sake in celebration.
On the same evening, Bishop Nagatsuka, Rev. Sugiyama, Rev. Matsunaga, Rev. Kasai, Haru Inouye and Shinnyo-en Foundation staff attended an event commemorating the unveiling of the new names on the Builders Wall at the Doe Library. The Berkeley Student Chorus opened the event on a warm and welcome note. The unveiling of the names of the most recent honorees engraved on the Builders Wall was the highlight of the evening. Hosts, UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau and Chair of the UC Berkeley Foundation, Katherine Lau, thanked the many visionaries that helped make UCB a prominent and important University in the world.
Bishop Nagatsuka and CEO Inouye were invited to the stage to receive two special plaques on behalf of Shinnyo-en Founder Shinjo Ito and his daughter and current Head of the Order, Her Holiness Archbishop Shinso Ito to commemorate the significant contributions made by Shinnyo-en to the Buddhist program, Peace and Conflict Studies, as well as to the CalCorps program. The names of Shinjo Ito and Shinso Ito engraved on the beautiful marble walls at the Builders of Berkeley Wall were admired by all in attendance. Shinnyo-en represented the sole supporter of Japanese and Buddhist Studies among 30 new Builders of Berkeley honored by the University this year.
Following the opening ceremony, the three day conference, “Tracing Japanese Buddhism,” sponsored by Shinnyo-en Foundation and others, commenced on Friday September 25th, with illustrious scholars from around the world opening various discussions on differing aspects of Buddhism. In the evening, a Gala in honor of Shinnyo-en was hosted by Chancellor Robert Birgeneau. The Chancellor spoke of the innovative and meaningful support from Shinnyo-en with the launch of the ShinjoIto Post-doctoral fellowship in Japanese Buddhism, a first of its kind in the world. The event was well attended with over 100 guests, including Consul-General and Mrs. Nagamine from the Japanese Consulate. Chief Bishop Nagatsuka thanked the Chancellor and the UC Berkeley community for the wonderful occasion and commented in his remarks:
“Above and beyond the intellectual services, UC Berkeley takes an active stand in service and volunteering in the community. The shared values of our two organizations is what brings us together.”