Chaplaincy

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Chaplaincy

Postby daverupa » Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:36 am

I'd like to take the pulse of the community with respect to Buddhist chaplaincy.

Has anyone felt a need for this, or seen it in action? Do monastics fill this role, at all? Does anyone have any views on professional credentialing for Buddhist chaplaincy? Is there a possible lay role here?

:shrug:

(related: http://www.buddhistchaplainsnetwork.org/WhatisaC.htm)
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Chaplaincy

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:48 am

daverupa wrote:I'd like to take the pulse of the community with respect to Buddhist chaplaincy.
It is a fine idea, and a trained lay chaplain is better than no chaplain.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Chaplaincy

Postby Mr Man » Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:58 am

In the UK there is: http://angulimala.org.uk/
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Re: Chaplaincy

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Mon Oct 29, 2012 12:02 pm

I think it's a great idea and have even looked into it myself although I believe it would be better if there were enough bhikkhus to fill the need. Unfortunately, at present, that simply isn't the case.
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Re: Chaplaincy

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:24 pm

it is a good thing to do.
There are some lay chaplains in the UK but I do not know how organised they are outside of Angulimala the prison chaplaincy.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Chaplaincy

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:20 pm

Hi Dave,

There are a number of talks here:
http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/?search=chaplain
http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2009/08/bg ... ist-youth/

As for your questions, yes, I see it as a function of the Sangha. A Wat such as the one I attend fulfils that function for many people in the Thai community.

Ajah Chahs's students, such as Ajahn Brahm sometimes said a monk should be like a rubbish bin with no bottom. People come with their rubbish, chuck it in the bin, and he lets it go.

:anjali:
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Re: Chaplaincy

Postby cooran » Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:51 pm

Hello all,

We have Lay Buddhist Chaplaincy programs in Australia – in hospitals and prisons.
Some examples:
http://www.buddhistcouncil.org/node/51
http://www.buddhistcouncil.org/node/52
http://www.buddhistcouncil.org/node/54
and in schools.
http://www.buddhistcouncilofqueensland. ... /education

with metta
Chris
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Re: Chaplaincy

Postby daverupa » Tue Oct 30, 2012 2:40 pm

With respect to the United States, certification seems to go through BCCI.

As part of their prerequisites, there are 72 education credits required in theological/pastoral studies. A paper (Equivalency Issues for Buddhist Candidates for Board Certification Through the Board of Chaplaincy Certification Inc. - A White Paper) was put together to address a certain issue:

Buddhist education and training varies widely between schools (denominations) of Buddhism, and even within schools, between lineages of teachers. (A lineage comprises teachers who can trace their tradition back to the historical Buddha, and who have developed distinctive practices and training styles.) Variations pertinent to the Commission on Certification range from an anti-intellectualism that favors monastic spiritual experience over academic study, to westernized degree programs.

These extremes in Buddhist educational traditions prove challenging for the Commission’s Theological Education Equivalency Committee. The purpose of the Theological Education Equivalency Committee is to
evaluate the education of candidates who have not earned 72 credits in theological and pastoral studies from a graduate school accredited by a member organization of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation
(CHEA).

The committee chair has asked six the Buddhist board certified chaplain (BCC) members of APC to recommend to the committee wise ways for evaluating Buddhist candidates who have not earned the required 72 credits. The six Buddhist chaplains represent the following Buddhist traditions: Rinzai Zen, Soto Zen, Jodo Shinshu (Pure Land), Tibetan and Theravada.

...

The seven responses demonstrated a great deal of consensus, with most affirming the need for the nine core graduate theological subjects, affirming the need for an undergraduate bachelor’s degree, and minimizing the educational value of meditation and chanting. While these chaplains did not always agree with each other or with my recommendations, they graciously and kindly expressed their reasoning from their understanding and historical perspectives. Two of the Buddhist BCCs have agreed to join the Theological Education Equivalency Committee as regular reviewers and “resident subject-matter experts” for consultation when any member of the Committee is reviewing an application from a Buddhist candidate.


---

For the most part, the ordination requirement for chaplains seems to be filled from Zen ranks, with some Tibetan and other Mahayana schools filling in the bulk of the remainder; is there any provision in Theravada for providing an ordination status of some kind which is appropriate to chaplains?
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Chaplaincy

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:34 pm

daverupa wrote:For the most part, the ordination requirement for chaplains seems to be filled from Zen ranks, with some Tibetan and other Mahayana schools filling in the bulk of the remainder; is there any provision in Theravada for providing an ordination status of some kind which is appropriate to chaplains?

Hi Dave there are several forms of precepts which may surfice such as one I recently started a thread on.
but an ordination???
there are the Dhammacari ceramonies some temples preform for lay teachers, but I don't know if it would qualify or be recognised as an ordination as it isn't a usual thing everywhere.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Chaplaincy

Postby daverupa » Tue Oct 30, 2012 8:08 pm

Cittasanto wrote:Hi Dave there are several forms of precepts which may surfice such as one I recently started a thread on.
but an ordination???


It's quite a grey area in Buddhism - these things are much clearer within a Xian hierarchy - but the concern is based on the following requirements for those wishing to become board certified chaplains:

A person... meeting all eligibility requirements including a bachelor’s degree, 72-semester-hour graduate theological degree from an accredited school, four units of clinical pastoral education (CPE), ordination or commissioning to function in a ministry of pastoral care, and ecclesiastical endorsement by a recognized faith group, is recommended by a Certification Committee, approved by the Commission on Certification, and ratified by the Board of Chaplaincy Certification Inc. Board of Directors.


1. So, one problem: what might fulfill this "ecclesiastical endorsement" with respect to Theravada?

2. Another: what would a 'pastoral commission' look like with respect to Theravada?

I'm unaware of an answer to either of these questions...
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Chaplaincy

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Oct 30, 2012 8:34 pm

Hi Dave,

I think you make a good point. The only qualification that has any real official status in Theravada along the lines of:
"ordination or commissioning to function in a ministry of pastoral care"
is being a monk or nun. And the precepts for a monk/nun preclude work...

So lay people would have to argue that they are fulfilling this role on an individual basis, which is likely to be a lot tougher than being able to say that they are lay clergy, etc...

:anjali:
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Re: Chaplaincy

Postby daverupa » Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:34 pm

mikenz66 wrote:So lay people would have to argue that they are fulfilling this role on an individual basis


Indeed; as we can see here, Mahayana is well-represented; another list offers an interesting cross-section of some current chaplains and their backgrounds... but, again with the Mahayana!

---

A few possible Theravada choices are beginning to emerge:

The Buddhist Sangha Council of Southern California (?)

Sati Center for Buddhist Studies

Spirit Rock (?)

(& there's always the Interfaith Chaplain route, but that's not ideal.)
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Chaplaincy

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:17 pm

daverupa wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:Hi Dave there are several forms of precepts which may surfice such as one I recently started a thread on.
but an ordination???


It's quite a grey area in Buddhism - these things are much clearer within a Xian hierarchy - but the concern is based on the following requirements for those wishing to become board certified chaplains:

A person... meeting all eligibility requirements including a bachelor’s degree, 72-semester-hour graduate theological degree from an accredited school, four units of clinical pastoral education (CPE), ordination or commissioning to function in a ministry of pastoral care, and ecclesiastical endorsement by a recognized faith group, is recommended by a Certification Committee, approved by the Commission on Certification, and ratified by the Board of Chaplaincy Certification Inc. Board of Directors.


1. So, one problem: what might fulfill this "ecclesiastical endorsement" with respect to Theravada?

2. Another: what would a 'pastoral commission' look like with respect to Theravada?

I'm unaware of an answer to either of these questions...

it sounds like a group (probably including monastics) has recognised and given you authority to act in that roll.
it maybe an idea to get in touvh with Abhiyagiri or related monastery as if I remember correctly they have some lay outreach training type programs? or am I thinking of spirit rock?
I know there was an effort to form a spiritual training there, and I am sure spirit rock have a similar thing on the go regarding chaplaincy/
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Chaplaincy

Postby tattoogunman » Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:49 pm

I may have the spirit of the OP's question wrong, but I'm listening to an audio series right now by Kusala Bhikshu (Urbandharma.org) and he's actually a chaplain for a police department in California (he's also an ordained monk as well).

Again, not sure if that's where the OP wanted to go with their question......
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Re: Chaplaincy

Postby daverupa » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:06 pm

tattoogunman wrote:I may have the spirit of the OP's question wrong, but I'm listening to an audio series right now by Kusala Bhikshu (Urbandharma.org) and he's actually a chaplain for a police department in California (he's also an ordained monk as well).

Again, not sure if that's where the OP wanted to go with their question......


Yes, examples of extant chaplains are helpful, as contacting them can provide all sorts of information. Alas, Kusala Bhikshu is within the Zen tradition. (Mahayana... doh!)

The main issue I had in mind was examining (whether there was any) specifically Theravada support for chaplaincy, and whether the laity had any role to play there (asking monks to be chaplains, being chaplains themselves, or perhaps no Theravadans find themselves asking for chaplains?), or if Interfaith Chaplaincy was the better route at present/for the foreseeable future.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Chaplaincy

Postby tattoogunman » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:26 pm

daverupa wrote:
tattoogunman wrote:I may have the spirit of the OP's question wrong, but I'm listening to an audio series right now by Kusala Bhikshu (Urbandharma.org) and he's actually a chaplain for a police department in California (he's also an ordained monk as well).

Again, not sure if that's where the OP wanted to go with their question......


Yes, examples of extant chaplains are helpful, as contacting them can provide all sorts of information. Alas, Kusala Bhikshu is within the Zen tradition. (Mahayana... doh!)


Yeah, it took me a while to key in on that since he talks quite a bit about Theravada as well. Oh well......
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