Paul Cardinal Yu-bin (left) and Venerable Master Hsuan Hua (right) at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas
Cloudscape among the trees at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas.
The Institute for World Religions was established as a direct result of the inspiration and planning of the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua and Paul Cardinal Yu Bin. Both of these distinguished international leaders in religion and education believed that harmony among the world’s religions is an indispensable prerequisite for a just and peaceful world. Both shared the conviction that every religion should affirm humanity’s common bonds and rise above narrow sectarian differences.
When they established the Institute for World Religions in 1976, Cardinal Yü Bin enthusiastically agreed to serve as the Institute’s first director. In 1994 the Institute moved to the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery. Its proximity to the University of California at Berkeley, Stanford University, the Graduate Theological Union, and to the rich academic, religious and cultural environment of the San Francisco Bay Area provides an ideal environment for the Institute’s programs.
In keeping with its mission, the Institute offers programs designed to bring the major religious traditions together in discourse with each other and with the contemporary world. The Institute also participates in local and global interfaith initiatives as a way to bring the principles of interfaith vision and the spiritual needs of the modern world into constructive engagement. Religion East & West, as the Institute’s annual journal, is one forum for this discourse and this engagement.