Growing numbers of Buddhist chaplains are working in healthcare (including hospice), corrections, higher education, and other settings. Public awareness of this tradition’s approach to spiritual care is also growing, as indicated in this article from Religion News Service. As their numbers increase, more training programs and professional opportunities are emerging to support Buddhist chaplains and those they serve from all backgrounds. For general information about Buddhist chaplaincy, visit the International Federation of Buddhist Chaplains and the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies. We are aware of the following degree programs (below) for those seeking training as Buddhist chaplains. We know of one Buddhist-focused program through ACPE as well as many more led by Buddhist educators. Please contact us if you are aware of materials we are missing.
Institutions offering academic degrees and other credentials in Buddhist chaplaincy include the following:
- Emmanuel College, University of Toronto (Applied Buddhist Studies within Master of Pastoral Studies)
- Harvard Divinity School (through the Buddhist Ministry Initiative, courses in Buddhist Studies and support for Buddhist students are available within existing degree programs)
- Institute of Buddhist Studies (multiple programs)
- Maitripa College (Master of Divinity; also offers endorsement)
- New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care (Certificate in Buddhist Studies; Masters in Pastoral Care and Counseling in conjunction with New York Theological Seminary)
- Naropa University (Master of Divinity)
- University of the West (Master and Doctoral levels)
- Upaya Zen Center (Buddhist Chaplaincy program; ACPE educational equivalency to 48 hours graduate work)
Opportunities to pursue CPE in a Buddhist context are also increasing. Examples of such programs are below. If you are interested in connecting with a Buddhist CPE educator, contact Bryan Ferry, ACPE Certified Educator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The field of Buddhist chaplaincy is continually evolving. Developments include:
- ABCC 2022 Buddhist Chaplaincy panel
- Conversations on endorsement of Buddhist chaplains, as well as this list of Buddhist endorsers (current May 2021), courtesy of Elaine Yuen
- International Buddhist Chaplains Federation
- White paper “Equivalency issues for Buddhist candidates for board certification through the Board of Chaplaincy Certification, Inc.”
- White paper by Jitsujo Gauthier, et al., “The Path to Buddhist Chaplaincy: Academic Education, Religious Endorsement, Professional Board Certification.”
- Elaine Yuen, Emerita at Naropa University, recently launched a comprehensive site for her work. You can also read her guest post here: “What it’s like to be a Buddhist chaplain“
- Rev. Dr. Monica Sanford’s book on Kalyānamitra, reviewed by Jamie Beachy.
Several institutions have entered into a collaborative agreement to further the field of Buddhist chaplaincy. Members of the Buddhist Ministry Working Group include: