Foundations in Contemplative Care 2017-2018

A training program in spiritual caregiving

September 15th, 2017- May 5th, 2018

Applications accepted on a rolling basis.
Space is limited, early submission is highly recommended.

The mission of New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care is to transform the nature of care through contemplative practice by creating awareness and skill to meet vulnerability, illness, aging and death with dignity and compassion. We approach this mission through the three interconnected aspects of our center’s work: training, care, and contemplative practice.

In the ten years that NYZCCC has provided care and trained contemplative caregivers, the demand for a compassionate approach to life transitions has become ever more urgent. How do we ensure that as a society, we are aware of the changing needs and are taking action to care for the most vulnerable among us?

Foundations in Contemplative Care is a comprehensive course of study providing an introduction to care from a Zen Buddhist perspective. Created by NYZCCC co-founders, Sensei Robert Chodo Campbell and Sensei Koshin Paley Ellison, this experiential approach to learning provides both classroom and clinical opportunities.

Program components include two class days a month, 100 clinical hours in a hospital, hospice or residential community, one-on-one mentoring, and self-directed reading and writing exercises. This training is ideal for professional caregivers such as physicians, nurses, social workers, and hospice workers as well as those interested in becoming caregivers.

Sensei Koshin Paley Ellison and Sensei Robert Chodo Campbell

“Having moved to New York City from Israel to take part in New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care’s Foundations in Contemplative Care training, I can honestly say it’s been a profound experience. As a result, I am a better mother, wife and nurse. I am so grateful for this unique educational experience with NYZCCC.”

Monica Zin, Hospice Nurse, Jerusalem, Israel


Foundations in Contemplative Care 2017, Graduating Class

Program Components

  • • Two-day monthly sessions September 2017-May 2018 plus a four-day residential contemplative care retreat in October
  • • 100 clinical hours of caregiving at a designated site in a hospital, hospice, or residence. Non-local students do clinical hours where geographically convenient
  • • Eight one-on-one sessions with a Foundations’ Mentor
  • • Monthly reading, writing and project assignments
  • • Monthly meeting with peers
  • • Mid-unit and final evaluation
  • • Final project

Training Curriculum

  • • Integrating Buddhist practice and contemplative care
  • • Interpersonal relationships, active listening, spiritual support, verbal and nonverbal communication, role of a caregiver
  • • Cultural competency in a multicultural world
  • • Healthy boundaries and ethics of conduct and personal safety
  • • Interfaith and multi-faith ministry
  • • Creating and leading rituals, memorials, rites of passage
  • • Ministry to death and dying, grief and loss
  • • Exploration of secondary trauma and compassion practices


Classes will be held at the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care in New York City:  119 W. 23rd Street, #401 (between 6th and 7th Avenues).

2017/18  Training Dates:

Classes meet from 10am-4:30pm.

Friday, Sept. 15th & Saturday, Sept. 16th, 2017

Friday, Oct. 6th & Saturday, Oct. 7th, 2017

CONTEMPLATIVE CARE RETREAT: Thursday, Oct. 19th – Sunday, Oct. 22nd, 2017

Friday, Nov. 3rd & Saturday, Nov. 4th, 2017

Friday, Dec. 1st & Saturday, Dec. 2nd, 2017

Friday, Jan. 5th & Saturday, Jan. 6th, 2017

SESSHIN/SILENT RETREAT (optional): Thursday, Jan. 11th thru Sunday, Jan. 14th, 2018

Friday, Feb. 2nd & Saturday, Feb. 3rd, 2018

Friday, March 2nd & Saturday, March 3rd, 2018

Friday, April 6th & Saturday, April 7th, 2018

Friday, May 4th & Saturday, May 5th, 2018

Guidelines for Enrollment

The training program is designed for people who have a Buddhist or contemplative practice, or are interested in beginning one. With this in mind, the guidelines for entering the program are the following:

  • • Letter of recommendation from a Buddhist teacher or someone who knows your spiritual practice
  • • Regular and committed Buddhist or contemplative practice and study for at least six months (or previous chaplaincy training)
  • • Two Buddhist or contemplative retreats of one week or longer or the equivalent. If you have not yet experienced a week-long contemplative retreat, NYZCCC will help provide that for you
  • • An in-person interview (non-local applicants are required to come in for interview)
  • • Background check conducted by NYZCCC

Graduate Credits

This is a graduate-level training that includes several self‐directed learning components. It does not certify you to become a chaplain. However, successful completion of the Foundations Program does make you eligible to apply for our Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) training program. Also, once you are accepted to the Foundations Program, you have the option to register through our partner institution, New York Theological Seminary, to receive eight graduate credits for this program. There is an additional charge, paid to NYTS for these credits. To learn more about NYTS and our relationship with them, please go here.

Continuing Education Credits

Social Workers

New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care, Inc., SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0192. The Foundations program is approved for 120 contact hours.


NYZCCC is an Approved Provider of continuing nursing education by the Northeast Multi-State Division, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. The Foundations program is approved for 120 contact hours.

Learning Objectives:

Using the Buddhist precepts as a springboard for discussion and activity, students of The Foundations in Contemplative Care Program will learn 1) to perceive the suffering around them, 2) bring interpretative rigor to what they perceive, 3) see events from multiple points of view and be moved to compassionate action through the principles of bearing witness and not knowing. These skills will be acquired within the restrictions (time, costs, etc.) of the current environment for health care workers.

Speaker Disclosure Statement:

New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care’s staff and teaching faculty have no conflict of interest relative to the Foundations Program.

For more information regarding contact hours, please call Katherine Gray at 212-677-1087

Tuition and Admissions

  • • The cost for the nine-month program is $3,950 (payable by check or credit card). This also includes the cost of a triple room and board at the Contemplative Care Retreat at The Garrison Institute in October. You may pay a modest supplemental fee if you would like a double or single room at the retreat.
  • • A limited amount of financial aid is available. Those awarded are asked to offer assistance during training days. Please click here to request a financial support form
  • • Space is limited. Applications will be reviewed as they are received.  They are accepted year-round.

Applications are received and accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, so sending in your application early is advised. To download the application, click here.

The first non-refundable payment of $2,000 is due 2-3 weeks after students are accepted to the program.

The balance of payment of $1,950 is due on Friday, August 25, 2017 (two weeks before class begins).

If a student withdraws before Sept. 7, 2016 (the day Foundations begins), student receives a 25% refund of the second payment.

If a student voluntarily leaves or is asked to leave the Foundations program after it begins (Sept. 9, 2016), tuition will not be refunded.

You can access the application forms on our website by clicking here.

Application deadline is Friday, June 9, 2017. After that date, applications will be accepted on a rolling basis as space permits.

Please return a completed application, application fee, and letter of personal reference to the Center. We will review your materials and if appropriate, contact you about setting up an in-person interview with our Director of Training here in New York City. (Please note that we do not conduct interviews by telephone/Skype.) After the interview, you will be notified regarding your acceptance.

In addition to practitioners from all streams of Buddhism, the Center welcomes applications from individuals of various faiths who have an ongoing personal contemplative practice (e.g., meditation, centering prayer, etc.) and who share our commitment of exploring the intersection of contemplative practice, caregiving, and social action.

For most months, training days are on both Fridays and Saturdays (from approximately 10:00 – 4:30).  For a detailed schedule please click on the “Dates” tab above.

At New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care: 119 W. 23rd Street, #401, New York, NY (between 6th and 7th Avenues)

The tuition for the course is $3,950 (plus a processing fee if paying by credit card). A limited number of partial work exchange scholarships may be available. You may also want to explore the option of having either an organization or friends and family sponsor you.

Participants commit to attending 8 training weekends and completing 100 hours of volunteer caregiving work by the time of the last class in May. In addition, participants commit to logging in their clinical hours, attending a four-day Contemplative Care Retreat in the fall, completing all reading and written assignments, and meeting with a mentor one-on-one eight times during the training.

Participants may serve as a volunteer caregiver at hospitals, hospices, and other health centers. Those in the New York City metro area are placed either at Visiting Nurse Service Hospice or Lenox Hill Hospital. Those who live outside of the New York City metropolitan area are responsible for finding a clinical site for volunteering near to where they live.

No. This is an introductory training program. Each of us has the capacity to embrace the suffering of another person and the ability to provide compassionate care to another.

This is a graduate-level training that includes several self-directed learning components. It does not certify you to become a chaplain. However, successful completion of the Foundations Program does make you eligible to apply for our Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) training program. Also, once you are accepted to the Foundations Program, you have the option to register through our partner institution, New York Theological Seminary, to receive eight graduate seminary credits for this program. In addition to the tuition paid to NYZCCC for the program, there is an additional charge, paid to NYTS if you want to receive credit.

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