Updated: Nov 14
For Nishi Hongwanji, it was a historic session; for the Buddhist Churches of America, it will help alleviate a minister shortage; and for 11 Shin Buddhists, it culminated years of study.
It was a grueling 10-day session in August at the Jodo Shinshu Center (JSC) in Berkeley that was the final step to becoming a full-fledged Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha minister and marked the first time such training occurred outside of Japan.
The 11 — nine from Buddhist Churches of America temples — spent nearly 18 hours every day learning from instructors and practicing chanting, rituals and how to conduct a variety of services. At the end, they were tested on their knowledge and expertise, and in early October, Hongwanji announced they were Kyoshi ministers.