Buddhist Chaplaincy Training Program

As Buddhist spiritual practice finds an increasing presence within American society, there is both an opportunity and a need to train Buddhist practitioners to serve as spiritual caregivers and chaplains. The Sati Center for Buddhist Studies is offering a yearlong training program to provide an introduction to spiritual care skills from a Buddhist perspective. This is a unique opportunity to study Buddhist principles and practices relevant to spiritual caregiving, as well as an introduction to the psychological, social, ethical, and competencies issues related to chaplaincy.

This 11-month program is designed to meet the needs of people in a variety of ways:

  • Introductory training for those interested in becoming volunteer or professional chaplains in hospitals, hospices, jails and other places where spiritual care is needed. (The training does not meet all the requirements needed for professional certification as a chaplain.)
  • Fulfilling one requirement that certain Buddhist groups have to endorse or ordain a member to become a Buddhist Chaplain.
  • Basic training in spiritual care: attending the sick and dying, performing weddings, memorials and other ceremonies, and offering spiritual direction for interested Buddhist clergy and lay practitioners.

We are planning on conducting the 2021-22 program in-person at the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City.  If the COVID-19 circumstances prevent this, we will most likely offer the program online as we did in 2020-21 (see below).  

We are actively considering again offering some online version of our chaplaincy program.  Information for when and how we might do this will be updated here when we know. 


In response to unfolding conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the plan is to offer the 2020-2021 Buddhist Chaplaincy program exclusively online, via Zoom. After finishing up the 2019-20 chaplaincy training on Zoom, we are enthusiastic about how the online approach can open up the program to new dimensions of chaplaincy training. We are evolving our offering and policies to keep everyone safe and supported, while still serving as a place of education in Buddhist Chaplaincy.  In lieu of in-person meetings, there will be virtual lectures, breakouts, skill practice and study groups, and mentor sessions. We invite you to try this creative form of practice as we take care of one another and respond skillfully to COVID-19.

  • We have adapted the components described below to an online learning format, via Zoom. We have a basic plan for the coming year, some of which is discussed below. The implementation of this plan will continue to evolve over the summer and during the program itself. In previous years, one of the important components of the program was each student’s chaplaincy volunteer work. Many of the institutions where this volunteering was done have stopped using volunteer until the end of the pandemic. We are therefore giving much thought to what we can substitute for this part of our chaplaincy training. As available, we will post further information about the 2020-21 training below.

Click on the following for more information:

Click here for writings by Buddhist Chaplaincy students.Their voices give example to the nature of training in Buddhist Chaplaincy.

Each spring, an introduction to Buddhist chaplaincy event is sponsored by The Sati Center and The Institute for Buddhist Studies.  Click here for more information.