The Introduction to Buddhist Chaplaincy Training combines workshops & classes with activities that students complete in their communities. This combination  makes it easier for students to participate while balancing work and family commitments. Our educational method is one of action and reflection, wherein students not only learn in class, but also apply their learnings in real life situations and then reflect on these.  This is a tried and true method for the training and development of chaplains, ministers, therapists, and the like.   Click here for an explanation of this method.

Please note: this is a graduate level training that includes several self-directed learning components. Participants commit to attending workshops, classes, reading and writing, and completing 100 hours of service. Requirements to receive a certificate of completion are 90% attendance at workshops, classes & groups and 100% completion of writing assignments.

Faculty: Paul Haller, Gil Fronsdal, Christina Fernandez, and Jennifer Block. Paul, Gil and Jennifer co-created this training together in 2003, and have been co-leading it since then.  For faculty bios, click here.

Topics covered in the training:  The curriculum of the year-long chaplaincy training program is organized by the 10 paramis/paramitas, constantly relating chaplaincy work back to the fundamental Buddhist principles of compassion and liberation. Each month is focused on one of these qualities of heart and mind that support and express compassion.  At the beginning of each workshop, a short dharma talk is given on the parami of the month.

The emphasis on the paramis is intended to help develop the strengths of character of a Buddhist chaplain. The beauty of the paramis is that an individual’s path to liberation is found through a compassionate response to others. Click here for an essay about the paramis.

  • Contexts of Spiritual Care: applications and settings for spiritual care
  • Establishing spiritual care relationships, listening, spiritual counseling, communication
  • Spiritual assessment, prayer. ritual, collaboration with other professionals and disciplines
  • Buddhist practices related to spiritual care
  • Use of Self: boundaries and ethics of conduct, resilience, personal safety, etc.
  • Interfaith and multi-faith ministry
  • Ministry to death and dying, grief and loss

Who Attends: This training is designed for and welcoming to a diverse population.  With the intention to dissolve all barriers that perpetuate the suffering of separation, prejudice, and discrimination, we are dedicated to the inclusion of all races, classes, sexual orientations, gender identities, ages, disabilities, cultures, ethnicities, and other social identities.

  • Class size varies each year, from 15-30 people.  For the 2020-2021 year, the group size will be 32 participants.
  • The age range is from 25 or so to 70 and beyond, with a median age of 45.
  • Participants come from all over the country, with 75% from the Bay Area. For the 2020-2021 year, we are expecting half of the participants will live beyond the Bay Area, some as far as Europe.
  • Participants come from all Buddhist streams: Zen, Tibetan, Theravada, Pureland, eclectic, etc.
  • During the year, we become a sangha and benefit from friendship, mutual learning, and shared practice.

Additional Information