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Buddhist Chaplaincy by Bodhicarini Upasika Jayasili Jacquetta Gomes

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See also  : Buddhist Chaplain

Buddhist Chaplaincy
By Bodhicarini Upasika Jayasili Jacquetta Gomes BGKT Buddhist Group of Kendal (Theravada) England UK
Updated 12th September 2015

Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala Maha Thera Chief Sangha Nayaka of Great Britain Head of The London Buddhist Vihara explained Buddhist Chaplaincy as:

"Mention the word “Chaplaincy” to most people and they will immediately think of the lengthy Christian tradition of spiritual service to the community. Few realise that this idea of “Chaplaincy” also has a long tradition within Buddhism. Right from its beginnings almost 2500 years ago, selfless giving and caring for others have always been seen as essential. When I think about “Chaplaincy”, I am reminded that the Buddha said “He who has attends to a patient, attends to me”. Ever concerned with giving practical answers, the Buddha himself encouraged his followers to be “Kalyana Mittas”/Spiritual Friends to all those persons with whom they came into contact. Santideva, the 8th century C.E. Indian philosopher, encouraged these “Kalyana Mittas” to “become a bridge to those who want to cross over”. The Buddhist Chaplain’s function for me, therefore, is not only to act as a good spiritual friend to all who are lost and in need of support but also to do this unconditionally and without any notions of “self”."

Buddhist Chaplaincy Organisations

BCSG Buddhist Chaplaincy Support Group Kalyana Mitra UK

Buddhist Chaplains Network USA

The serves the educational and informational needs of Buddhist chaplains and spiritual care givers and provides leadership to help ensure the growth, development, collaboration, community, dialogue and communication among Buddhist chaplains. USA is dedicated to developing the field of Buddhist spiritual care. The information and connections here support people who provide Buddhist spiritual care, and their colleagues, as well as those who considering entering the field of chaplaincy.

Journals on Buddhist Chaplaincy

Buddhist Chaplaincy, The Middle Way: Journal of The Buddhist Society, Volume 86 No. 4 (February, 2012).
Published by The Buddhist Society,
58 Eccleston Square, London, SW1V 1PH
020 7834 5858

Books on Buddhist Chaplaincy

The Arts of Contemplative Care: Pioneering Voices in Buddhist Chaplaincy and Pastoral Work

Edited by Giles, Cheryl A and Willa B.Miller
Boston USA, Wisdom Publications, 2012.
(ISBN 978-0-86171-664-7)
(eBook ISBN 978-1-61429-037-7)


This work collects the voices of pioneers in the exciting new domain of vocational Buddhism. This anthology captures the richness and diverse practices of socially engaged Buddhism within the context of the fields of chaplaincy and ministry that until recently were dominated primarily by Judeo-Christian faith traditions. The stories in this volume reveal to the reader how the practices and concepts of the Buddhist tradition are uniquely suited to nourishing both those who give and those who receive care. This book will inspire readers to apply their spiritual practice in engaged contexts and will provide nourishment to those called to serve as caregivers.


Toward a Definition of Buddhist Chaplaincy by Jennifer Block; Educational Foundations for Buddhist Chaplains and Pastoral Care Provides by Daijaku Judith Kinst; Meditation is Not Enough by Wakoh Shannon Hickey; SPOT: a Training Program for Buddhists in America by Lew Richmond and Grace Schireson; Cultivating Fearlessness in Contemplative Care by Cheryl Giles; the Four Noble Truths as a Framework for Contemplative Care by Trudi Jinpu Hirsch; Buddhist Chaplaincy in a Christian Context by Mark Power; the Turning of the Dharma Wheel in its Many Forms by Robert Chodo Campbell; Engaged Bodhichitta in Hospital Chapliancy by Chris Berlin; What Dogen and the Avatamsaka Sutra Can Offer Us as Spiritual Caregivers by Koshin Paley Ellison; the Way of the Chaplain: a Model Based on a Buddhist Paradigm by Mikel Ryuho Monnett; Dharma Behind Bars: Gary's Story by Dean Sluyter; Compassion Radiates Through Rock by Margot Neumann; We Belong to One Another by Penny Alsop; All My Realtions by Richard Torres; Caring for Each Other Behind Prison Walls by Nealy Zimmerman; Buddhists Behind Bars by Terry Conrad; Military Chaplaincy: May You Always Be a Student by Danny Fisher; Changing Our Mind, Transforming Our World by Ji Hyang Padma; Buddhist Pastoral Ministry in the Military by Thomas Dyer; Spiritual Care with the Dying by Tenzin Chodron; Community and Compassion in Care of the Dying by Joan Halifax; End of Life Care in a Social Model Hospice by Randy Sunday; the Contemplative Approach to End of Life Care by Kirsten Deleo; Finding Acceptance at the Heart of Things by Carlyle Coash; a Little Nowness by Ginger Brooks; Ten Slogans to Guide Contemplative Care by Victoria Howard; a Reflection on Listening as Spiritual Care by Willa Miller; Knowing When it's Best to Lie by Lin Jensen; Being an American Zen Buddhist Minister by Steve Kanji Ruhl; Buddha, Dharma and Community Ministry in the City by Rebecca O.Johnson; Family Programming in Buddhist Community by Sumi Loundon Kim; and Internet Resources for Buddhist Chapliancy and Ministry.

"This inspiring collection marks the coming of age of Buddhist chaplaincy. It will be the principal handbook for such ministries in the years to come." Christopher Queen, editor Engaged Buddhism in the West.

"A must-read for caregivers - a treasure trove of practical wisdom." Fleet Maull, founder of the Prison Dharma Network and National Prison Hospice Association.

"Destined to become the core text of Buddhist chaplaincy. A radical and wise offering to the world." Noah Levine.

Benefit Beings!: The Buddhist Guide to Professional Chaplaincy

Danny Fisher.
USA, Off the Cushion Books, 2013.
(ISBN 978-0615-796499)

"Benefit Beings!" was written to help Buddhists engaged in professional chaplaincy work in North America, and those who wish to join their ranks. The book is organized into several chapters, each offering a brief history of a particular chaplaincy (with special attention on relevant events for Buddhists); an explanation of the requirements for service as a professional chaplain in that field (again, with an understanding that the intended reader is a practicing Buddhist); and an examination of the work done by Buddhists in that chaplaincy (including positions held, scholarship produced, and so on).

The book includes information on the only known Buddhist Fire Department Chaplain in the USA, Rev Alan Urasaki of Hawai'i on pages 18-19, 142-43, 147, 150-51. He states on page 151 "Rev. Urasaki also appears to be the only Buddhist Fire Chaplain in the country: in 2004 he was appointed as a volunteer Chaplain with the Honolulu Fire Department".

Buddhist Care for the Dying and Bereaved

Edited by Jonathan S. Watts and Yoshiharu Tomatsu
Boston USA, Wisdom Publications, 2012.
(ISBN 978-1-61429-052-0)
(eBook ISBN 978-1-61429-063-6)

“Since its beginning, Buddhism has been intimately concerned with confronting and understanding death and dying. Indeed, the tradition emphasizes turning toward the realities of sickness, old age, and death—and using those very experiences to develop wisdom and liberating compassion. In recent decades, Buddhist chaplains and caregivers all over the world have been drawing on this tradition to contribute greatly to the development of modern palliative and hospice care in the secular world at large. Specifically Buddhist hospice programs have been further developing and applying traditional Buddhist practices of preparing for death, attending the dying, and comforting the bereaved.

Buddhist Care for the Dying and Bereaved contains comprehensive overviews of the best of Such initiatives, drawn from diverse Buddhist traditions, and written by practitioners who embody the best of contemporary Buddhist hospice care programs practiced all over the world today.

Contributors include Carl B. Becker, Moichiro Hayashi, Yozo Taniyama, Mari Sengoku, Phaisan Visalo, Beth Kanji Goldring, Caroline Prasada Brazier, Joan Jiko Halifax, and Julie Chijo Hanada."


By Bodhicarini Upasika Jayasili Jacquetta Gomes BGKT Buddhist Group of Kendal (Theravada) England UK