Buddha Dharma University is the Five Mountain Buddhist Seminary under the direction of the Five Mountain Zen Order 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. Sunyananda Dharma as the Provost 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.
The growth and development of the Seminary has been thanks to the collaborative efforts of many of the Bishops and Priests of the Order, including Ven. Dr. Sunyanada Dharma, Ven. Charama Bhavika Prajna, Ven. Doshim Dharma, Ven. Domun Prajna, Ven. Do’an Dharma, Rev. Jabo Prajna, Rev. Eunsahn Citta, Rev. Go'son Prajna, Rev. Do'an Prajna, Rev. Wonmin Prajna and Rev. Jinkong Prajna.
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.
In celebration of its 42nd 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. Currently Dr. Wonji serves as the Chancellor while Dr. Sunyananda serves as the Dean of Students.