Engaged Buddhism: INEB organizes a three-day workshop on chaplaincy for Buddhist caregivers

- through Henry Oudin

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Workshop coordinators, left to right: Elaine Yuen (USA), Jinji Eika Willingham (USA), Nida Shaikh (India), Reverend Gustav Ericsson (Sweden) and Jonathan Watts (USA/Japan ). Image courtesy of INEB

The International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) is sponsoring an in-person training workshop for Buddhist caregivers under the theme “Concepts and Practices of Chaplaincy,” to be held in Thailand from September 29 to October 1.

The three-day event is co-sponsored by the Japan-based International Working Group on Buddhist Psychotherapy and Chaplaincy (IBPC), and coordinated in cooperation with the Japan Network of Committed Buddhists (JNEB), and will take place in the lush INEB gardens. Wongansit Ashram retreat and training campus just outside of Bangkok.

“This three-day workshop will introduce the principles of Buddhist chaplaincy and also offer some key skills and practices to enable committed practitioners (ordained or lay) to serve as caregivers for those experiencing the wide variety of suffering in the Buddhist society. today,” coordinator Jonathan Watts of the Japan Network of Committed Buddhists explained in an announcement seen by BDG. “Much of this suffering appears as depression, poor mental health and suicidal ideation, but emerges from trauma associated with school and work-related stress, gender and sexual identity, family trauma, social violence, tragic accidents, etc. The workshop will be led by a team from the International Task Force on Buddhist Psychotherapy and Chaplaincy, who have extensive experience in teaching and training Buddhist chaplains.

The IBPC is an assembly of Buddhist chaplains, Buddhist psychotherapists and Buddhist activists committed to addressing a wide variety of mental health issues. The group was formed by committed Buddhists who were working to deal with Japan's suicide epidemic. In 2017, the group began creating international events for Buddhists in Asia and the West, pursuing a deeper understanding of mental health issues and to support those dealing with suffering.

Although attendance at the event has been limited to 40 people, priority will be given to potential participants from South and Southeast Asia, with an emphasis on gender balance. Participants are not required to be ordained monks, but non-monastics must be committed lay Buddhist practitioners who can demonstrate a level of commitment to work in the area of ​​compassionate care and chaplaincy.

Wongansit Ashram retreat and training campus outside of Bangkok. Image courtesy of INEB

The workshop program will be led by: Elaine Yuen (USA), formerly Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Chair of the Master of Divinity Program at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado; Jinji Eika Willingham (USA), clinical psychotherapist and Buddhist chaplain in private practice; Nida Shaikh (India), is a Mental Health Practitioner with a Masters in Clinical Psychology and a Post Graduate Diploma in Applied Mahayana and Buddhist Psychology and Ethics; the Reverend Gustav Ericsson (Sweden), a Christian priest of the Lutheran Church who served as a priest in a hospital and in a palliative care hospice; and Jonathan Watts (USA/Japan) a committed Buddhist activist who helped develop the first Buddhist chaplaincy training program in Japan.

“Chaplains are compassionate listeners and guides for those who are suffering and bring peace and meaning to their difficulties. This approach often requires retraining of skills that are different from more traditional religious roles as a preacher and teacher of truth,” Watts observed.

“Buddhist chaplaincy has become particularly relevant and increasingly popular in recent years because meditation and mindfulness practices serve as important tools in the transformation from preacher to deep listener. The practice of meditation inspires and empowers the chaplain to transform the Dharma he has learned in his mind into compassionate care in his heart. It also helps to develop a powerful embodied presence to accompany and bear witness to the suffering of others.

Click here to find out how to participate or support this event

Wongansit Ashram retreat and training campus outside of Bangkok. Image courtesy of INEB

The International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) is a global network of individuals and organizations committed to promoting and working for social justice, environmental sustainability and world peace. INEB was established in 1989 by renowned Buddhist scholar and activist Professor Sulak Sivaraksa and a group of Buddhist leaders seeking to apply Buddhist teachings and principles to contemporary social and political issues. Through its global network, the INEB strives to promote understanding, cooperation and connection between inter-Buddhist and inter-religious groups, and to actively address pressing global issues such as human rights, the resolution conflicts and environmental crises.

INEB emphasizes the importance of developing an ethical Dharma-based approach to its work and encourages members to work collaboratively and respectfully with individuals and organizations on the basis of shared values ​​and aspirations. The network also champions the importance of environmental sustainability and responsible use of natural resources, and has promoted sustainable development practices in various communities.

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Henry Oudin

Henry Oudin is a Buddhist scholar, spiritual adventurer and journalist. He is a passionate seeker of the depths of Buddhist wisdom, and travels regularly to learn more about Buddhism and spiritual cultures. By sharing his knowledge and life experiences on Buddhist News, Henry hopes to inspire others to embrace more spiritual and mindful ways of living.

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