Faculty and On-Site Staff
The Program Director organizes the academic program, leads an on-site orientation session, and teaches several program courses.
To receive further information about this program or to contact the Program Director, you may email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-874-7986.
Affiliated Academic Faculty
Diverse and highly qualified faculty and a low student:faculty ratio are among the strengths of the Buddhist Traditions Program. A combination of Western and Eastern instructors ensures a continuity of American educational patterns, as well as access to the indigenous philosophies in their genuine form. Together they create a rich milieu for intellectual and cultural inquiry.
John Shultz is a Ph.D. candidate in Asian Studies at the University of Manchester (U.K.). His Ph.D. research is the first concentrated look at the memoirs of contemporary pilgrims to the 88-place pilgrimage on the Japanese island of Shikoku, or Shikoku Henro. Mr. Shultz began his pursuit of Buddhism and Japanese culture at the University of Hawaii, where he received an MA in Asian Religion. As a Japanese Ministry of Education research scholar, he traveled many pilgrim trails throughout Japan in order to discover what makes the modern Buddhist pilgrim tick. During this period, Mr. Shultz also resided in a Zen training hall and studied the beliefs and practices of a range of Buddhist sects. He has an eclectic mix of research interests, including the Internet and Japanese religions, the Heart Sutra in Japanese culture, Buddhist Philosophy, and Buddhist Economics.
Kuniko Shimooka is well acquainted with Kyoto and its environs, having graduated from high school in the city of Uji where Japan’s ancient aristocrats had their summer villas. She is a 2003 graduate of Ryukoku University, majoring in Japanese language and literature. Her research interests center on contemporary Japanese grammatical usage, especially the use of potential verb forms. Following graduation, Kuniko spent a year as a Japanese language instructor in China at Xi’an Communications University. At present, she is completing her Ph.D. studies at Ryukoku University.
The Program Assistant is traditionally a graduate from the AEA Japan and Its Buddhist Traditions program and typically has intermediate or advanced fluency in the Japanese language. He or she assists the Program Director, leads discussions for the Practice and Theory of Buddhism in Japan course, and helps with cross-cultural advising.
Buddhist Practice Faculty
Rev. Issho Fujita is the Soto Zen instructor. Rev. Fujita was born in Japan in 1954. After becoming inspired by the practice of zazen, he left his graduate school studies in developmental psychology at Tokyo University and entered Soto Zen-affiliated Antaiji temple where, at age 29, he entered the Zen priesthood. In 1987 he came to America to assume responsibilities as the resident director of Valley Zendo in Carlemont, Massachusetts. In addition, he taught Zen and led zazen sessions at colleges and Buddhist centers in the area, including Amherst College, Smith College, Mt. Holyoke College, the University of Massachusetts and the Barre Center of Buddhist Studies. He returned to Japan in 2005.
Rev. Thomas Kirchner is the Rinzai Zen Instructor. Rev. Kirchner, a native of Maryland, went to Japan on a junior-year abroad program in 1969. In 1971 he studied at Shofukuji monastery in Kobe as a lay monk under Rinzai Zen Master Mumon Yamada. In 1974 he was ordained and given the name Shaku Yuho and trained at Kenchoji in Kamakura and Kenninji in Kyoto. He now serves as caretaker of the Tenryuji sub-temple of Rinsenji in Kyoto and works at the International Research Institute for Zen Buddhism at Hanazono University. He has master’s degrees in Buddhist Studies from Otani University and in Education from Temple University (Japan).
True Pure Land
Rev. Gene (Haruo) Sekiya is a third generation Japanese American who grew up in Fresno, California, where he was active in the Fresno Betsuin Buddhist temple from an early age. After university, he moved to Japan to work in the JETProgram while continuing his study of Buddhism, especially the Jodo Shinshu (True Pure Land) school. Later, additional opportunities allowed him to begin a more formal study of Buddhism, leading to entrance into the ministry. Currently, one of his main responsibilities is translating Buddhist sutras and scriptures that pertain to Jodo Shinshu. He also assists with programs and workshops held at the temple headquarters for Shinshu overseas members.
John Shultz has studied Shingon doctrine, meditation, art, and popular practices in a range of environments since first coming to Japan in 2001. His current research considers Shingon novices engaging in wandering asceticism in later periods of their formal training. Mr. Shultz’s interest in this esoteric tradition has allowed him to experience various forms of meditative practices, including walking on hot coals during a Goma-ritual and seated meditation focused on the Sanskrit letter “a.”
The Antioch Education Abroad (AEA) office at Antioch University in Yellow Springs, Ohio provides primary administrative support for the planning and execution of the program.
To receive further information about this program, you may email email@example.com, call 800-874-7986.