MORAGA, Calif. — For Release March 18, 2016. BDK America reports that on February 22-23, 2016, it organized the first-ever meeting of representatives from almost all of the traditional Japanese Buddhist sects which have followings in North America.

Historic Event

Held at the Buddhist Churches of America’s Jodo Shinshu Center in Berkeley, California, the event brought together representatives from the U.S. organizations of the following major Japanese Buddhist schools:

  • Higashi Honganji
  • Koyasan
  • Nichiren
  • Nishi Hongwanji
  • Soto Zen

"Surprisingly, this is the first time these organizations have come together in the nearly 120-year history of Japanese Buddhism in America," said Brian Nagata, Director of Programs at BDK America.

Scholarly Perspectives

The meeting included presentations from leading scholars in Buddhist Studies:

  • Professor Mark Blum of the University of California, Berkeley on “What Japanese Buddhism has to offer 21st Century America.”
  • Professor Duncan Williams of University of the Southern California on “The Current State of the Japanese Buddhist Community in America.”
  • Professor John Nelson of the University of San Francisco on “Opportunities for the Future of Japanese Buddhism in America.”

Stimulating Discussions

The presentations energized the representatives of the Buddhist schools, leading to stimulating discussions well into the next morning, Nagata said.

A Next Step?

At the conclusion of this historic summit gathering, the group agreed to continue to meet to share common concerns, needs and opportunities in an effort to expand a sharing of the teachings of Japanese Buddhism with more Americans. 

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About BDK America

BDK America is the sister organization of Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai in Tokyo Japan. The Japanese name of the nonprofit organization means The Society to Promote Buddhism, and through global connections with BDK America, BDK Hawaii, Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai de Mexico A.C., BDK Canada, and offices in Europe and Asia, works to improve Buddhist understanding. 

BDK America assists BDK with both scholarly support for Buddhist Studies and in publishing Buddhist materials in English, including The Teaching of Buddha and The BDK English Tripitaka Series.

For more information about BDK America, see www.bdkamerica.org. Information on BDK Japan can be found at www.bdk.or.jp/english/bdk/.