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Dharma Realm Buddhist University (DRBU) is an American private nonprofit university located in Ukiah, California, just over 100 miles north of San Francisco, in Mendocino County. It was established in 1976 by Venerable Master Hsuan Hua.[1] It is situated in the monastic setting of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, a Mahayana Buddhist monastery. DRBU follows a unique variation of the Great Books model, incorporating texts from both East and West. The university has a longstanding partnership with the Pacific School of Religion and the Graduate Theological Union, as well as the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association.

Dharma Realm Buddhist University
Dharma Realm Buddhist University Official Seal.png
TypePrivate, nonprofit
FounderVenerable Master Hsuan Hua
Parent institution
Dharma Realm Buddhist Association
PresidentSusan A. Rounds
Vice-presidentDouglas M. Powers
DeanMartin J. Verhoeven, Dean of Academics
Bhikshuni Heng Liang, Dean of Students
4951 Bodhi Way
Ukiah, CA 95482
Campus700 acres in rural northern California
Dharma Realm Buddhist University Logo.png



In 1976, Dharma Realm Buddhist University was formally established at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, with the very first class arriving in 1977. The first Chancellor was founder Venerable Master Hsuan Hua. From 1977 to 1984, DRBU operated with the authorization status given by the California Postsecondary Education Commission. In 1976, the Institute of World Religions was created by Venerable Master Hsuan Hua and Paul Cardinal Yu Bin. In 1984, DRBU attained Approval to Operate as a California Degree-Granting Institution pursuant to the California Education code, Section 94310 [c], and is currently approved to operate under the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE). In 1986, DRBU hosted the Conference on World Religions for the first time in California. In 1994, the Institute of World Religions moved to Berkeley Buddhist Monastery. In 1997, DRBU began its partnership with the Graduate Theological Union and Pacific School of Religion. In 2000, the Venerable Master Hua Memorial Lecture series began. In 2001, the Institute for World Religions published the inaugural issue of its academic journal, Religion East & West. In 2006, DRBU established the Berkeley campus with Reverend Heng Sure, Ph.D., as its first director. In 2011, DRBU launched the university blog, dharmas . In 2013, DRBU began its two new programs, BA in Liberal Arts and MA in Buddhist Classics, both approved by the California Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE); from 2013 to 2015, DRBU phased out its six existing BPPE-approved degree programs.

In December, 2013, DRBU was granted Eligibility for WSCUC Candidacy and Initial Accreditation by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) Eligibility Review Committee for its two new programs. In June 2016, DRBU was granted Candidacy for Initial Accreditation with WSCUC.[2] In February 2018, DRBU was granted accreditation by WSCUC.[3]


DRBU employs a pioneering philosophy of educating while "developing inherent wisdom," a model grounded in Buddhist values and one that founder Venerable Master Hsuan Hua was a proponent of. Its mission is to educate the whole person, seeking to change the mind, true the heart, and touch the spirit.[5] Because DRBU shares a campus with a Buddhist monastery, students engage in academic and intellectual inquiry while living in a contemplative setting. DRBU's pedagogy is a variation on the "Great Books" model, where learning stems from close reading of primary texts and group discussion in a system of "shared inquiry." Exercises in spiritual practice are also incorporated into the classes. DRBU has two degree programs: a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts, and a Master of Arts in Buddhist Classics. The curriculum of both programs is sequentially built and all-inclusive, so that students travel through their respective programs as a cohort.[6]

The BA in Liberal arts is a four-year program that combines classical texts from both Eastern and Western traditions, as well as courses in mathematics, natural science, and music. Students also study Classical Chinese and Sanskrit, thereby familiarizing themselves with the original languages of many of the texts they are studying.[7]

The MA in Buddhist Classics is a two-year program focusing on primary Buddhist texts and equipping students with skills in language and hermeneutics. Students may choose either Classical Chinese or Sanskrit (or both).[8]

Affiliated organizationsEdit

Buddhist Text Translation SocietyEdit

DRBU is also in close collaboration with the Buddhist Text Translation Society (BTTS), and faculty and students have published books on spirituality and world religions with the BTTS. Students can also publish works in Vajra Bodhi Sea, the monthly journal of orthodox Buddhism published continuously since 1970.[9]

Institute for World ReligionsEdit

The Institute for World Religions (now located on the Berkeley campus) was established with the goal that harmony among the world's religions is an indispensable prerequisite for a just and peaceful world, and to affirm humanity's common bonds and rise above narrow sectarian differences. Catholic Cardinal Yu Bin was the first director in 1976. It offers programs designed to bring the principles of interfaith vision and the spiritual needs of the modern world into constructive engagement. It also has one of the longest Buddhist Christian interfaith dialogues in the country, with the Zen-Chan Buddhist Catholic Dialogue occurring annually since 2002.[10]

Religion East & WestEdit

Religion East & West is the academic journal of the Institute for World Religions.[11]

Venerable Master Hua Memorial LectureEdit

This lecture series offers a forum to present important new ideas in the study of human spirituality. Speakers of this annual lecture have included:

  • Huston Smith, former faculty at Washington University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and prolific author including of The World's Religions
  • Michael Nagler, founder of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of California at Berkeley and author of Is There No Other Way? The Search for a Non-Violent Future
  • Mary Evelyn Tucker, adjunct professor at Yale University and editor of Buddhism and Ecology
  • Henry Rosemont Jr., visiting professor at Brown University and author of A Chinese Mirror and Rationality and Religious Experience
  • Anthony Yu, professor at the University of Chicago and translator of The Journey to the West
  • Michael Nylan, professor at the University of California at Berkeley and author of The Five "Confucian" Classics and Lives of Confucius
  • Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi, American Buddhist monk and eminent translator of numerous Buddhist texts including A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma, The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha (Majjhima Nikaya), and The Connected Discourses of the Buddha (Samyutta Nikaya)
  • Raoul Birnbaum, professor at University of California at Santa Cruz and author of The Healing Buddha and Studies on the Mysteries of Manjusri


City of Ten Thousand BuddhasEdit

At the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas (CTTB), DRBU shares a campus with the monastic community of monks and nuns, resident volunteers, and the Instilling Goodness Elementary School and Developing Virtue Secondary School.[12] The campus encompasses over 70 buildings on over 700 acres.


At CTTB, students take their meals with the rest of the community in the Five Contemplations Dining Hall (built in 1982). In accordance with the principle of compassion toward all beings, all meals served on campus are vegetarian. In addition, the Jyun Kang Vegetarian Restaurant is on the campus.

A two-story library holds numerous Buddhist canons and commentaries in multiple languages, as well as audio-visual materials and computer resources.

The Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas is the spiritual hub of CTTB, with ceremonies and meditation taking place daily between 4:00 am and 9:30 pm, as well as several retreats throughout the year.

DRBU is currently renovating one of the buildings on campus to be the future DRBU building.[13]

Sudhana Center[14]Edit

DRBU acquired the Sudhana Center[15] in summer, 2015. It is a 5-acre university campus for events and long-term classes, located in west Ukiah.


  1. ^ Storch, Tanya (2013-12-12). "Buddhist Universities in the United States of America". International Journal of Dharma Studies. 1 (1). doi:10.1186/2196-8802-1-4. ISSN 2196-8802.
  2. ^ "Dharma Realm Buddhist University | WASC Senior College and University Commission". Retrieved 2016-08-16.
  3. ^ "Dharma Realm Buddhist University | WASC Senior College and University Commission". Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  4. ^ "Dharma Realm Buddhist University president discusses new BA, MA program". Retrieved 2016-08-16.
  5. ^ "Dharma Realm Buddhist University on the road to accreditation - Dharma Wheel". Retrieved 2016-08-16.
  6. ^ "Dharma Realm Buddhist University Archives | KPFA". KPFA. Retrieved 2016-08-16.
  7. ^ "Undergraduate Program | DRBU". Retrieved 2016-08-16.
  8. ^ "Graduate Program | DRBU". Retrieved 2016-08-16.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-02-01. Retrieved 2013-04-26.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Dharma Realm Buddhist University president discusses new BA, MA program". Retrieved 2016-08-16.
  13. ^ "Siegel & Strain Architects - Dharma Realm Buddhist University". Retrieved 2016-08-16.
  14. ^ "Dharma Realm Buddhist University donates crucifix to local church". Retrieved 2016-08-16.
  15. ^ "Buddhist center buying vacant 5-acre parcel in Ukiah". 2014-02-23. Retrieved 2016-08-16.

External linksEdit