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Scholarly Selections

The Story of Sunya Pratt

January 17, 2019 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Scholarly Selections

Reverend Sunya Pratt: The Life and Legacy of an Early American Buddhist in Tacoma

Third Thursday, January 17, 6:30-8:00 PM

FREE and open to the public

Join Associate Director of the UW Tacoma Library Justin Wadland to discuss this little-known story of service, immigration, and cultural exchange. 

On April 23, 1936, Reverend Sunya Pratt was ordained as a minister at the Tacoma Buddhist Temple. Local and national newspapers described the ceremony, calling Rev. Pratt the “First White Buddhist Priestess,” a label that later scholars have called into question. Yet at a time when few Westerners converted to Buddhism, let alone became teachers, Rev. Pratt joined a sangha--or spiritual community--of Japanese Americans. Over the next 50 years, she became an important leader for Jodo Shinshu Buddhists in the Puget Sound region. This talk will share a research project that explores the legacy of Rev. Pratt within the context of the history of Tacoma and American Buddhism.

Third Thursdays offer free admission to the museum from 3:00-8:00 PM. See the exhibitions and hear this terrific talk too!