Buddhist Churches of America (San Francisco) : The oldest Buddhist organization in the United States


(uskings.us) The Buddhist Churches of America (abbreviated as BCA in English) is the United States branch of the Nishi Honganji subsect of Jōdo Shinshū ("True Pure Land School") Buddhism. Jōdo Shinshū is also popularly known as "Shin Buddhism". It is the oldest Buddhist organization in the mainland United States.



The BCA's American seminary, the Institute of Buddhist Studies (IBS), is located in Berkeley, California and is affiliated with the Graduate Theological Union. This seminary and graduate school offers a Master of Arts in Buddhist Studies and offers on-line courses. BCA priests graduate from the IBS after three years and are ordained at the Nishi Hongwanji-ha in Kyoto, Japan in an evening ceremony called tokudo.



Most BCA priests receive additional ordination called kyoshi (which permits them to teach doctrine) and kaikyoshi, literally "overseas teacher" which permits them to teach outside mainland Japan. A typical course of instruction for priesthood includes study of Jōdo Shinshū doctrine, history, and liturgy, courses in comparative religions, general overview of Buddhism, and some Japanese-language instruction. Recently the IBS introduced Buddhist-based courses for chaplaincy training in partnership with the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies.



On October 20, 2006, the Jōdo Shinshū Center located in downtown Berkeley was opened to function as a training center for ministerial candidates and assistants in the U.S., sponsor continuing education programs for priests and laymembers, and as a major site for the propagation of Shin Buddhism in North America. The Center is also the US headquarters of Ryukoku University, which is based in Kyoto.



Currently, the Buddhist Churches of America is the only Buddhist organization which can endorse chaplains of Buddhist faith for U.S Armed Forces, as recognized by the National Council on Ministry to the Armed Forces (NCMAF). The BCA may also endorse Buddhist chaplains for the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

According to en.wikipedia

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