Components

We plan on offering the 2021-2021 Buddhist Chaplaincy Training Program in person at the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, CA. 

Meetings each month: 

    • Friday workshop: 6 hours, 9 am to 5 pm PST
    • Study class: 1.5 hours (date & time determined by the group, at first workshop)
    • Peer Support Groups: 1.5 hours (date & time determined by the group, at the first workshop)

Friday Workshop: Each workshop includes: meditation, a dharma talk, lectures & group discussion, lunch break, experiential learning exercises, and a brief ritual for use in chaplaincy.  Guest speaker presentations are offered throughout the year, by professionals working in the fields of service, ministry, leadership, and chaplaincy. Audio recordings are made of lecture presentations and are available for those who are absent or wish to listen again.

Study Class: Students meet with 6-8 peers and a group leader/faculty person on a monthly basis. Each group decides when to meet, based on their schedules.  This is a time to discuss reading and writing assignments.  The purpose is to increase theoretical knowledge and develop spiritual care skills.

Peer Support Groups: Students meet with 3-4 peers on a monthly basis.  Each group decides when to meet, based on their schedules.  The purpose is to integrate one’s learning through peer discussion and exploration of the curriculum, personal discoveries, and dharma practice experiences.

Volunteering/Service Work: This is one of the most important components of the training. It allows students to put into practice what they learn in class and to bring to class their experiences in doing chaplaincy work. The requirement for the program is approximately 10 hours of such work every month for ten months.

  • The locale of your volunteering/service work will be up to you. Students serve at hospitals, hospices, correctional facilities, workplaces, etc. and are responsible for obtaining a position as such.  Many healthcare venues may still be closed to volunteers if pandemic precutions continuee.  Participants will need to be resourceful and creative in discovering or creating a way to be of service in one’s community.  Please do not let this stop you from applying, you will find your way in this regard.
  • It is important that students engage in service work early in the program. Once accepted to this training, students should begin considering their options. Each student will need to declare his or her own placement of service by October. For a list of volunteer possibilities based on previous student experiences, click here.   We do not place participants at certain locations, per se.  That is the responsibility of the participants.

Reading: The book list for the course is here.  Approximately 100 pages of book reading are assigned each month per a schedule provided at the first class.  In addition, approximately 25 pages of relevant articles are posted on the course website after each Friday workshop.

Mentor Interviews: every other month you will have an interview with one of the faculty. Over the course of the program you will have the chance to interview with each of them. These are times to check in about the program, report about your experiences and challenges in offering spiritual care, and to explore your Dharma practice in relation to the work you are doing.

Writing Assignments: Students write 4 types of papers over the course of the year, as described below. Each student is assigned a faculty reader who reads all of his or her writing assignments for the entire year.  For a sampling of students’ writings, click here.

  • Dharma Reflection papers based on dharma stories.  (1-2 pages each)
  • Action Reflection papers based on first-hand experiences on field trips or in volunteer work.  (4-6 pages each)
  • Religious History Reflection paper about one’s religious upbringing and its impact to this day. (3-5 pages)
  • Dharma Reflection paper that articulates the core tenets of one’s spiritual practice and their application to an interaction from your volunteer work. (4-6 pages)

Communication: Between classes, we rely on technology to communicate. Students need access to a computer and have basic computer skills.  Between the September class and the October class, a group email address will be established. This allows the posting of emails to the entire group quickly and easily.  After each month’s class, relevant handouts are posted to a password-protected course website.