Jodo Shinshu Center houses the BCA Center for Buddhist Education and Institute of Buddhist Studies . Additionally, there are offices of the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha and Ryukoku University whose headquarters and main campus are located in Kyoto, Japan, respectively. Each of these entities, while developing and pursuing their own individual programs, will also work together towards a common goal of expanding Shin Buddhism’s engagement with American society.
Jodo Shinshu Center is located at 2140 Durant Avenue in Berkeley, CA 94704. From San Francisco, merge onto I-80 E via the ramp to Oakland/Bay Bridge towards Sacramento. Take the Ashby exit (13) into Berkeley. Go up Ashby about one mile to Shattuck Avenue. Turn left at Shattuck Avenue. Turn right at Durant Avenue, park in upper level of parking lot.
Rev. David Matsumoto – Institute of Buddhist Studies
Rev. Kiyonobu Kuwahara – Jodo Shinshu International Office
Rev. Marvin Harada – Buddhist Churches of America
In 1899, the first Jodo Shinshu Ministers arrived in the United States to minister to the emigrant Japanese community. They established the first mission in San Francisco, California. From these early beginnings, the Buddhist Churches of America (BCA) was formed and has developed into an independent organization religiously affiliated with the Jodo Shinshu Hongwaji-Ha in Kyoto, Japan.
In the 1950’s BCA established a ministerial training center in Berkeley, California, which eventually became known as the Institute of Buddhist Studies (IBS). Today, IBS is the primary source for training English-speaking ministers for temples in the U.S. IBS is also an invaluable resource for scholars interested in studying Shin Buddhism.
For over 20 years, the IBS made their home in two facilities in Berkeley, one of which was located in a building on Addison Street in Berkeley. The institute was eventually forced to leave the facility when ADA and earthquake retrofitting costs became too prohibitive.
In February 2003, the BCA purchased the building located at the southwest corner of Durant Avenue and Fulton Street in Berkeley. This allowed the IBS to return to its roots and to continue to provide in-depth studies of Jodo Shinshu, general Buddhism, and ministry training. This location is especially valuable because of its proximity to the Graduate Theological Union and the University of California, Berkeley, two institutions with which the IBS has affiliation. This proximity allows for increased resources and opportunities for study by all three organizations.
In 1930, the building was built by industrialist Charles Howard, owner of the famous racehorse Seabiscuit, to use as a grand showroom for his Buick franchise. The building later changed hands and housed the Maggini Chevrolet dealership from the late 1960s until the 1980s. In the 1980s, Baseball Hall of Fame member, Reggie Jackson purchased the building for his own car dealership business.
For its rich history, as well as for its classic art deco design, the building was designated a historic landmark by the City of Berkeley in 1983. The facility includes teaching facilities, offices, a kodo, a bookstore, and residences. The building will be a place for great learning, interaction for each of us and a source for outreach to the greater community.