- Associated Press - Saturday, March 15, 2014

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A Buddhist order has donated $6.6 million to the University of Southern California to promote the study of Japanese religions and culture at the university.

University officials say the gift from the Shinnyo-en Buddhist order will support the recently founded Center for Japanese Religions and Culture. The center has been renamed the Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Relgions and Culture, in honor of the order’s leader.

Shinnyo-en was established in Japan in the 1930s and now has nearly 1 million practitioners. It emphasizes peaceful coexistence with other religions, engagement with society through works of service and the belief that all people can achieve enlightenment.

The center at USC hosts regular seminars and functions like a think tank, with projects focusing on religion, racial identity and Japan’s history and future.

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