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Dharma Realm Buddhist University in Northern California Gains Academic Accreditation


SEATTLE—Dharma Realm Buddhist University (DRBU) has announced that it has received initial accreditation of its academic programs by the WASC* Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), a regional accrediting agency serving higher education institutions in California, Hawaii, and the Pacific.

The WSCUC stated in its “Commission Action Letter” that its decision “confirms that [DRBU] has addressed the three Core Commitments and has successfully completed the institutional review process for Initial Accreditation.” With this decision, DRBU becomes the first accredited four-year institution in Mendocino County. (DRBU News)

DRBU is a small, private, non-profit university and Buddhist community located adjacent to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas community and monastery in the northern California town of Ukiah. Dedicated to liberal education in the Buddhist tradition, the university was established in 1976 by Venerable Master Hsuan Hua under the educational philosophy of “developing inherent wisdom.” 

DRBU president Susan Rounds. From
DRBU president Susan Rounds. From

DRBU follows the “Great Books” style of education in two programs, focusing on close reading of Asian core texts over extended periods, rather than topical survey courses common in liberal arts colleges today. DRBU offers an MA program in Buddhist Classics, founded in 2013, and a BA program in Liberal Arts, founded in 2014. Together the two programs have 34 students. 

“The granting of initial accreditation affirms the collective resolve of the university community to continuously reflect and improve on DRBU’s effectiveness in furthering its mission: conveying knowledge and activating inherent wisdom,” said Bhikshuni Heng Chih, chairperson of the DRBU’s board of trustees. (DRBU News)

In its accreditation report, the WSCUC commended DRBU for demonstrating “a strong sense of student centeredness that is still possible in higher education.” And noted, “DRBU is poised to sustain and advance itself as an acknowledged leader in innovative higher education.” (DRBU News)

“Achieving accreditation is an important milestone for DRBU on a path that began when the late Venerable Master Hsuan Hua founded the university more than 40 years ago,” said DRBU president Susan Rounds, expressing gratitude to the DRBU community. “His exalted vision of liberal education in the broad Buddhist tradition, leading to radically free and radically responsible individuals who pursue the highest goals of human existence continues to inspire us. We take to heart the WSCUC visiting team’s specific affirmation of DRBU’s dedication to transforming the lives of our students and look forward to the new opportunities for DRBU that come with initial accreditation.” (DRBU News)

DRBU founder Master Hsuan Hua, left, with Ajahn Sumedho. From
DRBU founder Master Hsuan Hua, left, with Ajahn Sumedho. From

Born in Jilin, China, Master Hsuan Hua (1918–95) was a renowned Chan Buddhist monk and a major figure in the propagation of Chinese Buddhism in the US, where he established several institutions. In 1974, he founded the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in Mendocino County, California, one of the first Chan Buddhist temples in the US, and one of the largest Buddhist communities in the Western Hemisphere.

* Western Association of Schools and Colleges

See more

DRBU Gains Initial Accreditation(Dharma Realm Buddhist University News)
Statement of Accreditation Status: Dharma Realm Buddhist University(WASC Senior College and University Commission)

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