The Jodo Shinshu Center is a locus for Shin Buddhist education, community, and outreach located in the midst of downtown Berkeley. Established in 2006 by the Buddhist Churches of America (BCA) in an effort to create a 21st Century Center for Buddhist education in America, the Center offers a variety of facilities and programming for explorers and practitioners of Shin Buddhism. The Center also houses the Institute for Buddhist Studies, a fully accredited graduate school providing advanced training in Shin Buddhist Studies.
As one of the leading centers for Shin Buddhist studies in the United States, the Jodo Shinshu Center offers a broad scope of programs appealing to the diverse spectrum of Buddhist spirituality present in the Bay Area:
The Jodo Shinshu Center’s location in Berkeley goes hand in hand with its mission to provide serious academic offerings and training in Shin Buddhism. Housed in a spacious and elegant modern building just blocks away from UC Berkeley, the center offers a number of community spaces as well as a bookstore. Lodging and meeting spaces are also available for conferences. Those traveling to the center can find parking on Durant Ave, walk from the Downtown Berkeley BART station, or arrive via one of Berkeley’s many bus lines.
Jodo Shinshu also known as Shin Buddhism means “Pureland”. It was founded by Shinran Shonin (1173 – 1263) who was a monk at Tendai temple on Mount Hiei for 20 years. The Pureland is not a literal place but a state of existence that is free of ego and selfish desires. The monk was one of the most devout and dedicated followers but left in persuit of something different as he was not closer to discovering the meaning of life that he sought. Shinran taught that we truly understand when we let go of our ego that leads us to live a life of gratitude for what is.
Derek Bergmann is a secondary teacher and writer focusing on philosophy and religious studies. Though he currently call Los Angeles home, Derek grew up in the Bay Area and also spent some time living in a religious commune in Switzerland. Derek is fascinated by peoples' diverse and idiosyncratic relationships with the transcendent, and is always eager to explore the sacred practices and places that serve as bridges to fullness.