What We Do
Twenty-six hundred years ago Shakyamuni Buddha established a practice to address suffering, old age, sickness, and death. In 2007, Zen Buddhist monks Koshin Paley Ellison and Robert Chodo Campbell established the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care, in the heart of New York City. We offer training in contemplative care so that people can learn to care in mindful and compassionate ways in hospitals, hospices, and homes, as well as, their everyday relationships. We do this work in order to create a more courageous and harmonious world.
Fully-accredited, Year-long Training Programs
Recognized as true pioneers and leaders in the field of Contemplative Care, the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care is creatively transforming spiritual care in the United States. We are the first and only Buddhist organization to be fully-accredited by the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education as a CPE Clinical Chaplaincy Training Center in America. NYZCCC integrates Buddhist contemplative practices with professional training, creating a dynamic program that is interfaith and experience-based, geared toward developing professionals and those seeking to deepen their spiritual, caregiving practice.
NYZCCC also offers a year-long Foundations in Contemplative Care Training Program. Students fulfill the program requirements through class participation, 100 hours of contemplative care volunteering, rigorous reading and writing exercises, and an end-of-year project.
We believe that in order to bring a more compassionate view into health care, we have to train physicians and nurse practitioners across the country. NYZCCC partners with the University of Arizona Medical School’s, Center for Integrative Medicine Fellowship Training program. In this way we provide curriculum and instruction around contemplative care practices for the country’s leading integrative physicians and nurse practitioners.
We are leading the way on a national level bringing together thought leaders in contemplative palliative and end of life care. One of the ways we do this is through our national Buddhist Contemplative Care Symposium on Palliative and End of Life Care. The Symposium brings together thought leaders who are clinicians across the country. Past participants have included: Dr. Diane Meier, Dr. Ira Byock, BJ Miller, and Judy Lief, as well as other dynamic speakers. We also build the field by giving keynote and plenary addresses at leading national conferences like the Integrative Medicine Symposium, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s national conferences, and the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education’s national conference.
Community Support and Practice
The Zen Center nurtures community. Each week we offer daily meditation and Zen training for those who wish to deepen their contemplative practice, so that they can be more resilient in caring relationships with both themselves and the world. Our one-to-one spiritual counseling offers support to those facing life’s challenges. Our Contemplative Approaches to Bereavement groups provide a space for those facing the loss of loved ones to have a place to be with their unwelcome change in new ways. Our Caring for the Caregiver weekly group allows those caring for family members and friends a place gather, converse and receive support. Our Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) classes give participants the skills they need to bring mindfulness into their daily lives. Karuna Sangha meets each Sunday evening and is a safe place for the LGBTQUIAS community to practice meditation together. Serenity Sangha is a sober meditation community that combines inter- fellowship 12 Step and Buddhist traditions. Each month we offer half-day silent retreats for people to recharge and be nourished. Twice a year we offer residential retreats: each October is our Contemplative Care Training Retreat, and in January, our four-day silent sesshin retreat. We also provide bedside visits to anyone in the New York City metropolitan area who is facing illness or in the dying process. Throughout the year, we hold special events where we invite authors in the healthcare professions to introduce their new work and engage in conversation with the community.
New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care along with New York Theological Seminary created a dynamic and clinically oriented Buddhist track of studies within NYTS Master of Pastoral Care and Counseling degree program. We are delighted to extend this offering with NYTS to those interested in integrating Buddhist studies and practice into their professional or non-professional training path.
Our students (including Integrative Medicine Fellows, doctors, nurses, social workers, and lay caregivers) provide direct care to the sick, dying and suffering. We care for patients, families and staff through our medical partners: Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York Presbyterian Medical Center’s Cornell and Columbia Campuses, Beth Israel Medical Center, and the Visiting Nurse Service of New York’s Hospice, as well as hospices, hospitals and Integrative Medicine practices across the country.
One patient at a time, NYZCCC manifests its mission of treating those who are suffering with the wisdom, compassion and equanimity of the Buddhist teachings.
Since August 2007:
- 94,918 individuals received contemplative care in the face of death, cancer, AIDS, and other illnesses
- 35,604 family members, couples and friends received contemplative care as they dealt with grief, mourning, and loss
- 72,281 hours of compassionate care have been given by our volunteer chaplains
- 25,187 staff people in hospitals, hospices, and prisons received spiritual care, including doctors, nurses, and social workers
- 4,061 Contemplative care and meditation groups were run by our volunteer chaplains, with over 30,179 people attending
- 34,400 men and women from the general public have received education in topics such as death and dying, Buddhist approaches to death, addictions and spirituality, and contemplative practices.