Buddhist Churches of America

1710 Octavia St.                                                                                                                                                                                                                  San Francisco, CA 94109-4341                                                                                                                                                                                        Website: buddhistchurchesofamerica.org                                                                                                                                                                               

Description of Organization:

Buddhist Churches of America promotes the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha as well as to propagate the Jodo Shinshu Teachings.  “Shin Buddhism was founded in Japan nearly 800 years ago.  The founder of the tradition, Shinran Shonin, wanted to make the heart of the Buddhist path accessible to anyone.  The BCA’s roots on the U.S. mainland originate with missionaries Rev. Dr. Shuya Sonoda and Rev. Kakuryo Nishijima, who arrived in San Francisco in 1899, and formed a Buddhist Association (Bukkyo Seinenkai) as a focal point to begin organizing the Japanese Buddhists in America.  During World War II, Japanese Budddhist communities faced suspicion and discrimination as many Buddhist leaders were targeted by the government, as all mainland Japanese-Americans were incarcerated for the duration of the war. Despite the persecution, Japanese Buddhists kept their faith and continued their practice, initially in secret, in the camps and on the battlefield.”  BCA will  celebrate its 125 year anniversary beginning Sept 1, 2024.

Grant(s) Awarded

In 2024, a Women in Buddhist donation in the amount of $1,000 was awarded to the BCA’s work, in addition to introducing them to our grant funding partner, Hemera Foundation, which provided the majority of the funding. The “Women of the BCA” has two components.

(a) Published articles:BCA will research, write, and publish a series of twelve articles about significant women in their history. These articles will be highlighted in the BCA’s monthly Wheel of Dharma newsletter, which is distributed to 10,000 members and supporters. In the next 1-2 years, these stories will be compiled into a published book;

(b) Seminar: in October 2024 at the Jodo Shinshu Center in Berkeley, CA (up to 100 in-person + unlimited on Zoom), inviting two prominent speakers to present on “Significant Women in the BCA’s 125-Year History”, to include Dharma discussions and meals/fellowship. The intent is to educate and inspire all members, reach beyond the BCA audience, and contribute to an ongoing paradigm shift, as our institution moves toward embodying the egalitarianism of founder Shinran Shonin’s teachings. Considering America’s increasing interest in Buddhism and decreasing interest in “organized religion”, embracing equality and inclusivity is key to our future. Our “Women of the BCA” program is an important step forward, to air these voices, and to grow and develop our Sanghas in an environment where all feel equally welcome and included.