The Upaya’s Buddhist Chaplaincy Program, as reported on is based on the work of the late Francisco Varela and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Upaya’s Buddhist Chaplaincy visionary two-year program brings together science, systems theory, practice, and humanism in a powerful way with Roshi Joan Halifax, Roshi Bernie Glassman, Sensei Fleet Maull, Father John Dear, Rabbi Malka Drucker, Jimmy Santiago Baca, and an exceptional faculty next year.

Next year’s core faculty includes Roshi Joan Halifax, Roshi Bernie Glassman, Sensei Fleet Maull, Cheri Maples, and Merle Lefkoff. The Chaplaincy Scholarship Fund has been created to offer tuition scholarships for outstanding students who would not otherwise be able to attend Upaya’s two-year Buddhist Chaplaincy Program.

The Upaya Buddhist Chaplaincy Training program focuses on altruistic and compassionate service, and on social transformation from a systems perspective. The training is intended to prepare people to have the skillful means to transform all forms of suffering, including suffering induced by structural violence. The Chaplaincy Training is part of the Zen Peacemaker Order, a leader in integrating spiritual practice with social action. The training is based on the premise that those doing ministerial work are endeavoring to serve and heal not only individuals, but environments and social systems as well. Thus, chaplaincy is conceived as compassionate service from the point of view of systems change, a deep healing that takes place in concentric circles, from intrapsychic and interpersonal to environmental and global. This approach, based on complexity and systems theory and Buddhist philosophy, is radically innovative and is the theoretical, practical, and compassionate basis of the Upaya Buddhist Chaplaincy Training Program.

Over the last 20 years, we have seen a huge growth in the presence of Buddhism in the West and what it has to offer as a way of life and a means for transforming suffering in the world. During the two-year training program, faculty and students study suffering, its causes, the end of suffering, and the way that suffering can be transformed (the Four Noble Truths). Our studies, practices, processes, and projects are all based in the profound motivation to end suffering in the world and in our lives. The “how” of this altruistic intention is the heart of our training.

Areas of Training:

* Theoretical, Scientific, and Practical Bases of Service
o Introduction to systems and complexity theory.
o A new model of service: Living systems and trans-local perspectives
o Exploration of emergence and robustness
o How to intervene in a system for social change
o Buddhist philosophy and psychology of social and environmental responsibility
o Buddhist perspectives on the relevance of interdependence, causality, and impermanence in terms of social service
o Exploration of neural substrates of attention, compassion, altruism

* Engaged Buddhism
o Introduction to history, ethics, vision of service and social action, and the function of a chaplain in our changing world
o The Five Buddha Family Mandala as a systems model for chaplaincy training
o Essentials of Buddha Dharma and chaplain practice
o Ritual process and rites of passage
o Meditation practices as a base of chaplaincy

* Transforming Suffering
o Exploration of direct and structural violence, social service and social action
o Exploring issues related to moral and spiritual pain
o Training in recognizing compassion fatigue and working with secondary trauma
o Practices for care of others and self care, including identifying the signs of stress
o Perspectives on care of the environment and the creation of sane environmental policies
o Fostering ecological sustainability as a basis of compassion

* Ethics, Relationship and Communication
o The creation of networks and communities of practice
o Buddhist ethics and pitfalls on the path
o Relationship-centered care
o Exploring communication skills for use in complex situations
o Mediation skills
o Council training
o Cultural humility in a multi-cultural world

* Defining Ministries
o Compassionate end-of-life care
o Prison ministry
o Environmental ministry
o Peacemakers
o Interfaith and multi-faith ministry
o Women’s ministry
o System’s ministry

* Applications
o Creating and sustaining global and local chaplaincy programs

Upaya is a residential Zen Buddhist practice and social service community, serving many people each year through our retreats and social action projects. Our vision focuses on the integration of practice and social action, bringing together wisdom and compassion. Upaya provides a context for community practice and education in Buddhism and social service in the areas of death and dying, prison work, the environment, women’s rights, and peace-work. We endeavor to fulfill the vision of the Five Buddha Family Mandala by understanding the integration of all of its functions from a systems theory perspective. We hold a vision of Buddhism that is integrated, interconnected, and process-oriented and is based on the integration of our spirituality, education, livelihood, service, and community.

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