Note: This Degree does not, nor is it intended to mean that the holder is qualified to apply for the job of a Religious Chaplain. ​If Chaplaincy is your goal, see our Chaplaincy Endorsement page.


Since the time of Śakyamuni Buddha, lay ministers have served an important role in the spreading of the Dharma. Many of our students feel a calling to work directly in ministry with the marginalized, the poor, the sick, the dying, the bereaved, the hungry, and the imprisoned. Completion of the B.Div. prepares students to work in dharma centers, temples, or other Buddhist organizations, where they can provide basic instruction and organization in between visits by teachers or monastics.

For students who wish to work as interfaith ministers in hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, prisons, private colleges and universities, private secondary schools, airports, corporations, etc. They would obviously be available for people in these organizations who identify as Buddhist, but their primary purpose would be to serve anyone who comes to them, regardless of their religion or lack thereof.


Attendance Number of Years Quarters / Year Classes / Quarter Units / Class Diploma/Degree Total Units Total Classes Total Cost
Full Time 1.5 4 3 3 Bachelor of Divinity 54 18 $900.00
2/3 Time 2.3 4 2 3 Bachelor of Divinity 54 18 $900.00
1/3 Time 4.5 4 1 3 Bachelor of Divinity 54 18 $900.00

The estimates in the commitment of time are based upon 3 Classes per Quarter Maximum. This is not a restriction; however, most of our students find that this level of commitment is able to be integrated into a busy personal schedule. For those who have more time available to commit we do allow up to a maximum of 6 Courses per Quarter; but this is a very taxing and difficult task.​

​The Coursework required to obtain the Diploma of Buddhist Studies is a balanced set of classes which find a balance between Buddhist Liturgy, Buddhist Studies, and Sutra Studies. These courses will prepare the student to confidently move into their role as a Deacon and serve their local communities.

The Eight Precepts:

  • The First Precept: I vow to support all living creatures, and refrain from killing.
  • The Second Precept: I vow to respect the property of others, and refrain from stealing.
  • The Third Precept: I vow to regard all beings with respect and dignity, and refrain from objectifying others.
  • The Fourth Precept: I vow to be truthful, and refrain from lying.
  • The Fifth Precept: I vow to maintain a clear mind and refrain from harming myself or others with intoxication.
  • The Sixth Precept: I vow to be kind to others and refrain from being boastful and self-centered.
  • The Seventh Precept: I vow to be generous, to be grateful for what I have, and refrain from yearning for things that do not belong to me.
  • The Eighth Precept: I vow to promote harmony and refrain from acting in anger or hatred.

There are two important aspects of becoming a Oblate:

The first is demonstrating an intention to live in a clear, generous, and compassionate way through the example of the student’s everyday life.

The second is realizing the responsibility and relationship to the Sangha by giving back to the Sangha. This is fulfilled through giving talks, instruction and helping the Zen community with unique skills and energy.

When a lay practitioner becomes a Oblate, he or she must obtain a Spring Green Oblate’s Yungasa. In addition, the Oblate must dress in Buddhist “Short Robes” while performing formal Buddhist work.