Harvard Divinity School (HDS) announces a major gift to support and expand its program in Buddhist ministry studies. The gift will provide exceptional funding to enhance and expand the strength of the School’s current offerings and will help to form a new generation of students who will make a lasting impact in Buddhist communities.

The Buddhist Ministry Initiative—the first of its kind at a divinity school within a research university—will be supported by a generous $2.7 million gift from the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation, a private philanthropic organization engaged in strategic, sustainable, and long-term projects in Hong Kong and around the world.

The teaching of Buddhist ministry at HDS will offer Buddhist insights, textual traditions, and practices to students from all religious traditions who study ministry at the School; will allow future Buddhist religious professionals to be trained in terms appropriate to modern, global conditions; and will support the field education of these students in hospitals and other sites of pastoral care.

“The Ho Family Foundation’s gift presents an exceptional set of opportunities for the Divinity School,” said Janet Gyatso, Hershey Professor of Buddhist Studies at HDS. “It places the study of ministry in Buddhism in a larger academic framework of Buddhist studies; it allows students who are studying ministry in Buddhist contexts to be part of an already well-developed program of progressive religious and socially engaged ministry that has been in place at HDS for many decades; and it also allows the larger HDS ministry program to expand its own horizons and methods by virtue of the contributions from a rich array of resources in Buddhist literature, thought, practices, and communities.”

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