Shin Buddhists’ Input Sought for First Buddhist Chaplaincy Study

Jodo Shinshu Buddhists serving in the role of volunteer or professional chaplains are being sought to take part in the first-ever research project to study Buddhist chaplaincy as a field.


“Mapping Buddhist Chaplains in North America,” set to launch this month, will be a comprehensive survey to collect basic information about self-identified Buddhist chaplains, including demographics, chaplaincy training, and Buddhist formation and practice.


To learn more and to access the survey, go to: https://brandeis.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_2tu2Econ6H7L1OZ


“In order to develop a clear view of the breadth and depth of Buddhist chaplaincy, it is essential for Jodo Shin Buddhists to be included,” said Professor Dr. Daijaku Kinst, Noboru & Yaeko Hanyu Professor of Buddhist Chaplaincy at the Institute of Buddhist Studies.


“The compassionate care that Jodo Shin Buddhists have extended to others over many many years — in hospitals, hospices, incarcerated, in the temple community and in other circumstances, exemplifies Buddhist chaplaincy in the broad view we understand it to be in this study,” Dr. Kinst continued.


While volunteer training sites and educational institutions such as IBS, University of the West, Harvard Divinity School and Naropa University have been training and graduating Buddhist chaplains, there is no clear data on how many and where Buddhist chaplains are currently serving and working.


A consortium of educators comprising the Buddhist Ministry Working Group (BMWG) first raised the idea of identifying and addressing concerns about the field of Buddhist chaplaincy. This project is a result of that collaboration.


Sponsored by Harvard Divinity School, the project was developed by scholars from IBS, Harvard Divinity School, University of the West, Naropa University, and Rochester Institute of Technology, as well as BMWG members.


This work will present a valuable portrait of a profession and field in the early stages of formation and identify avenues of further research and professional activism to ensure a secure future for Buddhist chaplains in North America, according to Dr. Kinst.

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