The Institute of Buddhist Studies announced Oct. 21 that Rev. Dr. Takashi Miyaji has been appointed to the H.E. Kosho Ohtani Professor of Shin Buddhist Studies professorial chair.
Rev. Dr. Miyaji has been a core faculty member of IBS since 2020. He completed his doctoral dissertation at Ryukoku University, and also serves as a part-time minister at the Southern Alameda County Buddhist Church in Union City. Currently, he teaches classes on the works of Shinran Shonin.
“I am really honored to be appointed to this title by the Dean of IBS Scott Mitchell, along with the support of the President Rev. Dr. David Matsumoto and the IBS Board of Trustees,” Rev. Dr. Miyaji said in a statement. “There are many challenges ahead, but I look forward to upholding the mission of IBS by working towards the spread of Shinran Shonin’s message of Amida Buddha’s Great Compassion here in America.
“Continuing on the tradition of academic pursuit with the sole intention of deepening my personal spiritual understanding of the Buddha-Dharma, this appointment will serve as a constant reminder that I am here only because of the hard work and aspirations of my predecessors,” he stated. “I will work to uphold my role in sharing the message of Amida Buddha’s Great Compassion to future generations. Thank you. Namo Amida Butsu.”
The Ohtani chair was established in 1985 to honor the generous support of H.E Kosho Ohtani (1911-2002). During the 1950s, when the community was struggling after the camps, Ohtani and his wife made many visits to the United States to support Jōdo Shin temples.
Ohtani was an important supporter of Buddhist education, and his involvement helped nurture the seed that was to later become the Institute of Buddhist Studies. In 1985, his son Koshin Ohtani gifted funds to the Institute of Buddhist Studies, which became the Ohtani endowment.
The Ohtani Chair endowment represents, among other things, the perseverance and resilience of the Japanese American community, its dedication to education, and the role of Buddhism as a connection to both the past and the future.
IBS is dedicated to the study of Buddhism not only for the sake of study, but also as a means to build community and preserve cultural heritage. The chair was held previously by Dr. Eisho Nasu, from 1997-2009, and by Rev. Dr. Seigen Yamaoka from 2010 until his retirement in 2021.