Bukkyo, the Japanese word for Buddhism, gives a clue to this Kyoto-based private university’s origins. The university dates back to 1868, when an organisation was founded dedicated to the study of Buddhism at the Chion-in temple, the headquarters of the religion’s Pure Land sect. Bukkyo was officially founded as a university in 1949 and celebrates its 70th year of operation in 2019.
The university has two main campuses, Murasakino and Niijo campus, the latter of which opened in 2011 near to Nijō castle. The two are about 10 minutes’ drive from one another. Both are located in Kita-ku, a northern district of Kyoto that is also home to several important Buddhist landmarks. These include the Golden Pavilion and the Kamigamo Shrine.
There are eight schools at Bukkyo, with the newest being the school of health sciences. The others are Buddhism, literature, history, education, sociology and social welfare. Over 18,000 students are enrolled at Bukkyo.
The ethos of Jōdo Buddhism, a branch of Pure Land Buddhism, is still key to the university’s mission. Since 1979, the university has run a training programme for the Jōdo priesthood. The curriculum policy states that students who have completed their studies should leave with thankfulness based on the spirit of Buddhism.
Five international destinations are available for students wishing to partake in study abroad programmes. These include Bukkyo’s own facility in Los Angeles, as well as Deakin University in Melbourne Australia and SungKongHoe University in Seoul, South Korea.
The university operates a Museum of Religious Culture, which draws thousands of visitors a year, as well as a centre dedicated to raising awareness of human rights.