Saturday, August 27, 2011
Every practitioner should, at first, establish the correct causal conditions. For instance, the Five Precepts, the Ten Virtues, the Twelve Dependent Origination's, and Six Paramitas are not, in fact, true causal conditions. Instead, you should firmly believe that your own mind is the Buddha, and if you can completely cut off deluded thoughts, incalculable kalpas will become completely transparent. This is the right causal condition.
Son Master Bojo Jinul
Sunday, August 21, 2011
The great reformer of Modern Korean Buddhism was Seon Master Gyeongheo Seongu (鏡虛惺牛)
What is the purpose of our practice?
It is to cultivate meditation and wisdom together,
To be born in the Tushita Heaven together,
To attain true enlightenment life after life together,
As fellow practitioners who will help those who lag behind
When someone attains enlightenment ahead of the others,
And, most of all, not to forsake our noble resolution
If anyone is interested in our resolution and wishes to join us,
We will welcome them,
whether they be a monk or a lay person,
Whether one is male or female,
Whether one is old or young,
Whether one is wise or foolish,
Whether one is noble or mean,
Whether one is friendly or aloof,
Whether one is in accord with us or against us,
Whether one is away from us or near us,
Whether one is our senior or junior.
We are all innate Buddhas with countless virtues within.
The only difference among us is that
Some did not have the chance to receive teachings
From a great enlightened Master for eons so as to be free
From the Three Spheres of Life in this realm of birth and death.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
The Master gives a letterless seal to the disciple Susan Wolmyeon,
Hits the Dharma staff once,
then says, "‘These words are nothing more than what they say.’
Now, tell me what that means."
The Master hits the Dharma staff once again and says,
"‘One laughs and doesn't know where it has gone to.’
Now, tell me what that means."
"The color of the sea of Anmyeon Island in spring Is dark green,"
says the Master,
Who then drops the staff and comes down from the platform. "A-hem!
Seon Master Gyeongheo
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
|Richard Maurice Bucke|
(18 March 1837 – 19 February 1902) from Wikipedia
Over on Zen Forum International one of the moderators, Seigen, asked the following question.
Buddhist Geeks has a project that is very different than, for example, Adam Tebbe, also a young man who began his own website, Sweeping Zen, in the year after Buddhist Geeks began. Where Sweeping Zen will focus on interviews with teachers and topics that are very close to what might be understood as formal practice, Buddhist Geeks spreads the net outwards towards technology and culture, and is directly engaged with an economic imagination that it believes to be transforming. It is a self-described for-benefit community.
What do you think of the difference between these two websites, as models of practice? As statements of where things stand today in the dialogue between elders and youth? Is Buddhist Geeks something that you check in to regularly, or is it of no interest? What have you gravitated towards there? And so on..
The following is my reply.
It seems that perhaps this topic has gotten a bit side tracked so I'd like to address the original question posed by Seigen. I attended all three days of the Buddhist Geeks conference and I happen to know Adam Tebbe, who founded Sweeping Zen, personally. I met Adam through some prompting by James Ford Roshi back in 2008 and have followed his progress since that time. Also, a few of my students have been interviewed on Buddhist Geeks and at least one has been involved with some of the founders.
I must say that normally I wouldn't have attended the Conference; however, I was in between consulting jobs and it was being held only 25 minutes from my house so I figured why not. I enjoyed the experience, I met many people that I know indirectly by reputation, and have struck up a few new friendships.
I suppose on the surface one might view Buddhist Geeks as being more directed to a younger and perhaps more technologically savvy audience. Yet, I think the biggest divide between the two approaches are defined more by the communities they represent. Sweeping Zen is only involved with Zen Mahayana Buddhism; whereas, Buddhist Geeks is a conglomeration of Buddhist Practices, some of which border on the cusp of being 'new age.' I do not think this is a bad thing, but there was an attitude at the conference that somehow this technology is going become the savior of Western 21st Century Buddhism.
I should be clear, I am 54 years old, have never played a video game on a computer (outside of Solitaire) yet have been directly involved in Business Software and Programming since I left the US Air Force in 1980. I currently own and run an Enterprise Software Support and development company so I see technology as a tool; however Shinzen Young's assertion that we can possibly build an enlightenment machine, reminds me of what can be found in the classic, Cosmic Consciousness: A Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind from a 1901 book by Richard Maurice Bucke. Bucke had one of those 'big enlightenment experiences' and he spent the rest of his life trying to prove that is was inevitable that all humans will evolve into the Higher Consciousness he had experienced.
Perhaps many will find my stance 'old fashioned' and that is OK; it is human nature to believe that we can improve upon things, yet this is the very paradigm that separates us from the 'experience of the Absolute.' It seemed, at times during the BG Conference, that we were in the midst of a Buddhist Marketing Convention. I was a bit disturbed by a thread that ran though most of the weekend that seemed to be focused on how to make money at teaching the Dharma. Several of the speakers also employ a fee based system similar to what you might pay to a Professional for Services, (ie: Psychologist, Lawyer, Counselor, etc..) Statements like, 'Psychologist's have already co-opted mindfulness and they are charging huge amounts for it, so we better wake up before there is nothing left for us,' I found distasteful.
I am prepared to get flack for saying this, so I will address the issue with maintaining a 'bricks and mortar' organization. Real estate, utilities, maintenance all cost money and these organizations need donations to flourish. So, I am not saying that it can be done for free; yet I feel strongly that teaching the dharma is a gift and should never involve a fee. It would have been nice to have someone on one of the panels who had an alternative view, but it seemed everyone was on board with the Dharma Gravy train. Shinzen Young was proud that he has lived off the Dharma his whole life and never had a real job, I think that is great for him. Some would say that people don't value what they are being given if they don't have to pay for it. This may be the case, but once it is given it is no longer ours. The other thing here is that it seems too much like 'selling water down by the river.' Buddha taught that we are already enlightened, so there is nothing changing hands and nothing to be gained. Enlightenment is not something that can be marketed as a Brand Name, and we have way too much of that already.
I have been using technology to break down the walls of the Monastery and to reduce the costs to the end user and no one brought that up during the weekend conference. Unlike Shinzen Young, I actually spent $270,000 of my own earnings trying to support the dharma in the first seven years of the 21st Century and this has led me to find alternatives to the bricks and mortar approach. Teaching the Dharma is a service to others, so viewing it as primarily in the realm of making a profit seems troubling at best.
I think Buddhist Geeks is doing a wonderful job of presenting alternative views of the Buddhadharma; I think that Sweeping Zen is doing a wonderful job of presenting alternative views of the ancient Ch'an Buddhist approach. Both are free and seem entirely altruistic in their approach and are serving two diverse audiences. That stated none of us live our lives without casting a shadow, and sometime those shadows can offend others, so in advance I apologize for saying anything that may seem awkward.
|Manhae Han Yong-un|
Manhae Han Yong-un was a poet who devoted his life for Buddhism, literature, and the independence of Korea. He dreamt of peace during the Japanese colonial period, when there seemed to be nothing but darkness ahead.
Jeon Bo-sam who is the Director of the Manhae Museum said, "Manhae Han Yong-un is a poet who wrote the great poem "Love's Silence," and an independence fighter who led the March 1st Independence Movement. He is also a Korean well-known for being a great thinker and Buddhist monk."
The Festival is held in Inje county, of Gangwon Province, and is about three hours from Seoul. It was here, near Baekdam Temple where Manhae Han Yong-un wrote his seminal poem "Love's Silence," the "Manhae Festival" is an annual event held every year in mid-August.
Hong Sa-seong who is the Executive Director of the 2011 Manhae Festival said, "The Manhae Grand Prize was created to promote Manhae's love of life, peace, and the Korean people. We are hoping that this award will spread Manhae's thoughts and philosophy not only all over Korea, but also the world."
It has already been 67 years since he passed away, but Korea still strives to remember him and his work. A special ceremony is held before awarding the Manhae Grand Prize to renowned figures who were carrying on Manhae Han Yong-un's spirit of life, love, and patriotism. The formal ceremony begins by laying flowers at the bust of Manhae Han Yong-un.
Choung Byoung-gug who is the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism was quoted, "Manhae's philosophy, which is based on the Buddhist philosophies of peace and equality, can truly become the foundation on which the Korean people can resolve social conflicts and achieve unification, peace, and prosperity."
This year, the Manhae Peace Prize went to Anuradha Koirala, the director of Maiti Nepal who works to rescue girls from sex slavery. The Manhae Practice Prize was awarded to Sirisenda Banda Hettiaratchi, a Sri Lankan archaeologist. The prize for literature was awarded to Korean poet Lee Keun-bae, and Chinese novelist Mo Yan, the author of the original novel of the movie "Red Sorghum."
The author Mo Yan, was asked about receiving the literature prize and said, "I was very excited when I first heard that I had been awarded this prize. The Manhae Grand Prize is a symbolic prize awarded to many great writers, and it is a great honor for me."
Sirisenda Banda Hettiaratchi, who received the Practice Prize said, "Well, it is a great honor. For the whole academic world and for my country also. Not a personal thing. When I receive that award, certainly, I'll be happy, but that happiness is not for me. It is for the whole world."
Manhae Han Yong-un was especially beloved by the Korean people for his "Love's Silence," which expressed his passion for Korean independence and his love for Korea.
My love is gone.
Ah, the one I love is gone.
Crossing the narrow path
to the maple grove
that shatters the mountain green,
She tore away from me.
The love that he spoke of in the poem was Korea, and its independence. 2011 marks the 15th anniversary of the Manhae Festival, which adopted the theme of "peace and communication" for this year.
Perhaps that is why so much of the spotlight was focused on Anuradha Koirala, the winner of the Manhae Peace Prize. She stated, "This award will always remind my people and me that problems still exist and we have to work hard to fight this crime and keep the society free of tragedy." Some call her the“Mother of Nepal," or "Nepal's Mother Theresa." Since she established Maiti Nepal in 1993, she has rescued, treated, and educated 12,000 Nepalese women who had been trapped in sexual slavery.
Anuradha Koirala, Winner of Manhae Peace Prize said,"I think the only thing which I will learn from him is peace and wisdom. I am working on the part which Manhae has shown, that you have to work for peace and stability. I always have in mind, only one thing. Let us be a world free of trafficking."
Freedom is the life of the world, and peace is the happiness of life. The weak are not weak by nature, and the strong cannot be strong forever. Manhae Han Yong-un's legacy was a philosophy of non-violence and peace, based on Buddhist thought.
What would he have wanted to teach to us, living in the modern world was echoed by Sirisenda Banda Hettiaratchi, "What Master Manhae taught us, how best we can propagate Master Manhae's peace for the peaceful coexistence of the people and respect for human life. How to work towards these two directions."
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
|Ani Choying Drolma has done what she can in this situation|
The twenty nine year old Buddhist nun from Nepal, was allegedly raped by five men on a bus in July of 2011. Following the horrendous attack, at least a dozen Eastern Buddhist organizations signed a statement that said she should no longer be a nun because she had lost her virginity.
This obvious travesty further exemplifies the current gap between Eastern and Western interpretations of the Buddhadharma, I am saddened that arcane social convention is overriding common sense and compassion in this case. Śakyamuni Buddha was a radical who did not follow the social mores of his day, he did not discriminate based upon Caste or Sex which did not make him popular with the local powers of his time. The point is that he was pushing the boundaries of what was and was not acceptable.
Buddha taught us “to do no harm.” It seems that this is another case of societal mores and conventions becoming more important to the Nepalese than Śakyamuni’s exhortation to put an end to suffering.
Compounding the stress of being raped to discover that your Sangha is willing to abandon their support of your original dedication for some external event totally outside of your control. This is simple male misogynistic rhetoric, which dominates the current incarnation of Eastern Buddhism.
The Nepal Buddhist Federation’s official stance on this matter is, “Such a thing never happened in the Buddha’s lifetime . . . So he did not leave instructions about how to deal with the situation.” This is mere pipelining to state this publically, it is the purest form of fundamental legalizism that destroys all religions in the end. It now seems that the federation has been strongly urged to reconsider their judgement following repeated complaints from the International Community. Their current stance is, "[The federation] will do everything in its power to help restore the dignity of the nun and continue to fight for justice," found recently on a statement from their website.
The nun was a member of the Karma Samtenling Monastery at Pharping in Nepal; and at the time she was in India expanding her Buddhist education.
Ani Choying Drolma, who has come to fame in the West as a Buddhist Nun who has received recent success in popularizing traditional Buddhist Chanting, spoke up immediately and came to the victim’s defense. She has offered her a place to live as well as helping with medical expenses. “The most important thing is to treat her like a human being and then later we can look into the matter of whether she is still a nun," Drolma told news outlets.
Drolma, like others in the East, are not allowed to speak out against the hierarchy for fear of reprisals. These issues exist in Nepal, India, China, Korea and Japan and are deeply embedded in the cultures in which they prosper. It is easy for us in the West who are on the other side of our cultural revolution that took place in the 50’s and 60’s to perhaps sit in judgment of these actions. However, we also have Western Buddhist Organizations who wield power absolutely with little regard for compassion and understanding. I do not know what can be done about the overriding social mores that exist in the East, but let us not become too arrogant and assume our own shit does not stink. Think globally and act locally, compassion needs to be cultivated from our hearts moment after moment after moment.
The best outcome for this situation is that the Nun lives in a nurturing and supportive environment and gets the kind of counseling she needs to recover from her trauma and is allowed to get back to her life of service to others. Let us all hope that this is the outcome of this tragic event. In the mean time, let us take this as a wakeup call to connect deeper to manifesting compassion in our own lives.
The 108 Prostrations of Repentance was probably developed by the Chan school of Buddhism in China. It was brought to Korea and used for some time until it evidently became lost. It was rediscovered and revived in recent decades by the late Ven. Seongcheol, Patriarch of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism and is usually performed during the evening ceremony in major monasteries. It has also become highly popular with lay Buddhists at numerous Chogye temples throughout Korea. Each number in parenthesis refers to the number of the prostration.
Written by Brian Barry
We honor will all our hearts the Buddha who gives us direction through his great selfless compassion for all sentient beings. He provides us with great joy and happiness, for he is the one who is adorned with the marks of a Buddha, and the one with great wisdom and great light. (1)
With all our hearts, we take refuge in Vairocana Buddha (2)
and we take refuge in the Three Jewels -- the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. (3)
Now that we have become spiritually aware, we pay homage not in the hope of receiving blessings or entering Paradise. Nor do we hope to become personally enlightened by hearing the Teachings, through karma, through mystical powers nor through the Bodhisattvas. We rely on the Incomparable Teaching so that all sentient beings may reach the Great Enlightenment simultaneously. (4)
(Prostration numbers 5 through 97 are to 93 different Buddhas, many of whose names in Chinese characters are unknown. Romanization of the Korean would probably create considerable problems for the reader, so the names have been intentionally omitted for the time being. Instead, 93 prostrations to all the Buddhas of the universes should suffice for now!)
To the innumerable Buddhas of the past, present and future, we ask that you remain with us always, compassionately looking over us.
.. In this life and in lives throughout time immemorial, we have performed all kinds of seriously unwholesome karma. We have performed this ourselves, made others perform it and delighted in seeing others perform it. We have stolen scared objects, have made others steal them and delighted in seeing others steal them. We have performed enough unwholesome karma to drive us into the realms of the hells, urged others to perform such karma and delighted in seeing others perform such karma.
We are aware of some of this awesome karma but we are unaware of much of it, for it is buried deep within the karmic storehouse. And for all this karma, we deserve such retribution as to fall into the realms of hells, of hungry ghosts or of animals. Even if we were to reincarnate in the human realm, we would deserve to be born in unbearable circumstances -- in terrible isolation or among savages. We now repent for all of this unwholesome karma. (98) We ask all the Buddhas of the universes to verify this repentance and we ask them to look over us with their great compassion.
Transference of Merit
Furthermore, if in the past we have achieved merit through selfless generosity, through keeping the Precepts, through feeding even a single morsel to a hungry animal, through purity of action, through helping others to achieve the Way, through training on the Path, or through great wisdom, we now gather all of this merit together, and before the Great Wisdom of Enlightenment, we transfer it just as all the Buddhas of the universes transfer their merit.
Through the merit achieved through repentance, and merit achieved by imploring the Buddhas of the universes to spread the Dharma throughout the universes for eons, we hope to achieve incomparable wisdom. We now take refuge in and honor the Buddhas of the past, present and future, Buddhas who are the seas of noble and endless virtue for suffering sentient beings. (99)
(from "The Vows of Practice of Samantabhadra")
"I now honor, with purity of deed, word and thought, all of the past, present and future Buddhas of the universes. I honor all of the Buddhas, who through the wondrous power of the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra, are as numerous in a single atom as there are atoms in the Dharma realm. (100)
"I praise, through all eternity, the Buddhas who are as numerous in a single atom as there are atoms, and who, surrounded by Bodhisattvas, pervade the Dharma realm, speaking in mysterious and wondrous ways throughout eternity. (101)
"I offer such adornments as the finest of flowers and garlands, of musical instruments and perfumes and parasols. I offer a mountain of robes and the finest of fragrances and powdered incense, and sticks of incense and lamps, all piled as high as Mt. Sumeru. I deeply believe in the Buddhas of the past, present and future, the magnificent teachers of wisdom; and I make offerings to the Buddhas through the great powers of Samantabhadra. (102)
"I repent for all my unwholesome karma of the past that was rooted in the three poisons of avarice, aversion and delusion, karma which I performed mentally, verbally and physically. (103)
"I take joy in all the virtuous deeds of sentient beings, of the educated and the uneducated, of noble beings and of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. (104)
"I implore to hear the Dharma Teachings of the Enlightened Ones, the lights of all the worlds. (105)
"I implore the Buddhas who are striving for Final Enlightenment to remain with us for our benefit. (106)
"And all merit from honoring, lauding and making offerings to the Buddhas; all merit and joy from imploring the Buddhas to remain with us and teach us; and all merit derived from repentance -- all of this I transfer to all forms of life throughout the universes." (107)
And should there be any remaining merit for transferring such merit, I again transfer this to the Incomparable Eternal Dharma. I also transfer the great sea of merit obtained through the single-minded absorption beyond dualities of mind and phenomena and the dualities of Buddhist Law and the secular world.
And may all the retribution I have acquired from finding fault with and criticizing others for their misdeeds, and all the retribution I have acquired from illusions produced by attachment to the self and to dharmas be dissipated. With each thought I will spread great wisdom throughout the Dharma Realm and rescue all sentient beings from suffering.
I vow to transfer all merit as endlessly as the Void is endless, as endlessly as the karma of sentient beings is endless, as endlessly as agonies are endless. (108)
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Church minister 'got four teenage girls to coat themselves in honey… and then videotaped them showering clean'
By SARA NELSON
A youth pastor has been accused of using a hidden video camera to film four naked, honey-covered girls showering. Thomas Fortenberry had organised a ‘Fear Factor’ reality-style contest for the girls which saw him drizzle them in the sticky substance.
The girls, two of whom were 15 and two were 17, were then told to wash the honey off their bodies – during which they were allegedly filmed by a camera Fortenberry had hidden in the bathroom at the Greater Harvest Community Church in Pasadena, Texas.
The matter only came to light after Fortenberry, then 26, began a relationship with one of the girls and confessed to her after they became engaged, The Smoking Gun reported.
When questioned by police, Fortenberry did not deny filming the teenagers, the website claims. ‘The defendant would only say that he has done things that he should not have done.’ Today Texas prosecutors announced they could not pursue charges against Fortenberry since the incident occurred more than three years ago in 2007, making it beyond the statute of limitations for an improper photography/ visual recording count. Felony complaints, which were filed against Fortenberry earlier this week, were today dismissed by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
By [WIRE SERVICES] Story Updated: Aug 3, 2011
The federal government has preliminarily resolved its religious discrimination case against the city of Walnut over handling of a proposed Zen Center, it was announced Wednesday.
The U.S. Department of Justice sued the municipality last September, accusing Walnut of violating the civil rights of the Buddhist group Chung Tai in 2008 by denying its request to build the only non-Christian religious center in the city.
The lawsuit alleged that, until it denied the Zen Center's application, the city had not rejected any application for a conditional use permit to build, expand or operate a house of worship in the area since at least 1980.
The complaint further alleged that the San Gabriel Valley city treated the Zen Center differently than similarly situated religious and non-religious facilities.
For example, in August 2008, the city approved a conditional use permit for a Catholic church that, when completed, will be larger than the Zen Center's proposed facility, according to the Justice Department.
A Walnut city representative did not immediately return a call seeking comment on the settlement, which must be approved by a federal judge before it takes effect.
As part of the settlement, the city has agreed not to impose differential zoning or building requirements on other houses of worship, according to the Justice Department.
The city also agreed that its leaders and managers, and certain city employees, will attend training on the requirements of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 -- the federal law Walnut was accused of violating.
In addition, Walnut will adopt new procedures that clarify its appeals process for houses of worship, and will report periodically to the Justice Department, it was announced.
"Religious freedom is among our most cherished rights, and our nation's laws prohibit cities and towns from discriminating based on religion when they make zoning decisions related to houses of worship,'' said Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General of the department's civil rights division.
"We are pleased that we have reached an agreement with the city of Walnut that prohibits inferior treatment of any religious organization that seeks to build a house of worship in compliance with local zoning laws,'' he said.
After Chung Tai was denied a permit to build its house of worship, the Zen Center opened in Pomona, according to the lawsuit.
Monday, August 1, 2011
I was attending a Buddhist Conference this past weekend, and one of my friends from Oakland was also planning on attending the event as well. Because he was flying in from out of town, I told him I would pick him up at the LA Airport. The event was being held at the University of the West which is about forty miles from LAX, but Al’s plane landed about six hour before the conference was scheduled to commence. I thought about what we could do, besides going to a restaurant and having lunch, and realized that Al had never had the opportunity to visit Hsi Lai Temple. Because the temple was practically on the way to the event, we agreed we could both go and visit this unique facility together.
|Rev. Al Jigen Billings, BPSN|
Over the years, I have visited this landmark many times and find it a compelling location to visit with out of town friends. There is also a small museum on the premises, which interests those with Buddhist leanings. It was a nice sunny Friday in Southern California and we had a good visit touring the facilities.
Hsi Lai Temple is a Chán Buddhist monastery located in the foothills of Hacienda Heights, California, USA, a suburb of Los Angeles County. The name can be translated as Coming West in the sense of the "Great Buddhadharma Coming West."
The temple is affiliated with one of Taiwan's largest religious organizations, the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist order. It is one of the first overseas branch temples, and is often called the "Western torch of Dharma" by order members. Hsi Lai was the site of the founding of Buddha's Light International Association, established in 1991. The temple, like its mother temple in Taiwan, practices Humanistic Buddhism, which incorporates all of the eight traditional schools of Chinese Buddhism - primarily the Línjì Chán and Pure Land schools - to provide guidance deemed most useful to modern life.
In 1976, Master Hsing Yun, the founder of the order, represented a Buddhist group from Taiwan to participate in America's bicentennial celebration. Master Hsing Yun was asked by American friends to build a monastery in the United States. Therefore, Fo Guang Shan asked the Venerable Tzu Chuang (who, upon the inception of the temple, became the founding and first abbess of Hsi Lai Temple) and Yi Heng to plan and organize the construction of the temple in the Greater Los Angeles area. It was officially registered under the name of International Buddhist Progress Society. Until the temple was complete, Ven. Tzu Chuang bought an old church building, which was to be Hsi Lai's temporary headquarters. The original temple, located in the city of Maywood was called the Bai Ta (White Pagoda) Temple.
The temple was finished at a cost of ten million dollars. Immediately after its opening, Hsi Lai was the venue of many important events. The 16th General Conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists and the 7th conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhist Youth were held from November 19 to the 26th, an international Triple Platform Full Ordination Ceremony for monastics was held for over a month, and a Liberation Rite of Water and Land, the first of its kind in North America, was held prior to the temple's opening.
In 2008, in celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the opening of Hsi Lai, another international Triple Platform Full Ordination Ceremony for monastics and a Liberation Rite of Water and Land was subsequently held. In 1990, in conjunction to the completion of Hsi Lai Temple, Master Hsing Yun founded Hsi Lai University, one of sixteen Buddhist colleges and universities operated by Fo Guang Shan. The university was relocated in Rosemead, California in 1996. It is one of the first Buddhist colleges in the United States.
Degrees are currently offered for Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Buddhist studies, comparative religious studies, and a Master of Business Administration. In 2004, the university changed its name to the University of the West and appointed Dr. Lewis Lancaster, a religion professor at UC Berkeley and longtime member of Fo Guang Shan, as president. Dr. Roger Schmidt became Lancaster's successor in 2006, who was then replaced by Dr. Allen M. Huang a year later.