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Buddha Dharma University was founded in 2008 by Ven. Dr. Wonji Dharma, in an attempt to bridge the void of location and accessibility by utilizing modern technology to reach potential seekers in all corners of the globe. He chose the tag line, "A Monastery Without Walls," because this new organization would not be constrained by traditional limitations found with fixed locations. Buddha Dharma University began serving the Buddhist community as the College of Zen Buddhist Studies as well as the Buddhist Studies Institute - Los Angeles, which was transferred to Ven. Dr. Wonji Dharma as the Chancellor by the Most Ven. Dr. Karuna Dharma on June 30, 2012. These two schools were consolidated by January of 2013 under the banner of Buddha Dharma University.
In celebration of its 50th anniversary, Buddha Dharma University returns to its original roots of being a full-service Graduate Seminary, providing world-class training and education that bridges East and West. Ours is one of the few Buddhist institutions in the world to make full use of online distance-education opportunities, providing our students with a convenient, affordable, and unique Buddhist training experience. Ven. Dr. Wonji passed on in December 2021, but we are proud that his legacy remains.
The Buddhist Studies Institute - Los Angeles, in its original manifestation, was founded on January 7, 1973 by The Most Venerable Dr. Thích Thiên-Ân as the International Buddhist Training Institute, at the International Buddhist Meditation Center in Los Angeles, California. As an autonomous division of the University of Oriental Studies, the International Buddhist Training Institute was conceived with the specified purpose of offering Western-style seminary training to Buddhist monastics from around the world, whilst not neglecting the inherent experiential nature of Buddhist monastic training, in favor of secular-slanted academia.