What We Do

The founding vision of New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care (NYZCCC) focuses on caring for the most vulnerable among us and designates its mission as: transforming the culture of care through contemplative practice by meeting illness, aging, and death with compassion and wisdom. Now in our thirteenth year, NYZCCC brings together the three elements of: training, providing care, and nurturing contemplative practice.

NYZCCC defines contemplative care as a multi-faith, relationship-centered approach to care that draws on the contemplative practice of the caregiver as the primary source of wisdom and loving action. This rigorous training engenders radical compassion in both the caregiver and the patient, and acts as the healing agent of suffering. We dare to be brave and creative, becoming intimate with our own suffering in order to alleviate the suffering of others.

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.

Medical Education

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.

Field Building

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 Caregiver Support Group allows those caring for family members and friends a place gather, converse and receive support. 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. 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.

Masters in Buddhist Studies

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.

Contemplative Care

Our students (including Integrative Medicine Fellows, doctors, nurses, social workers, and lay caregivers) provide contemplative 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:

  • •114,970 individuals received contemplative care in the face of death, cancer, AIDS, and other illnesses
  • •43,916 family members, couples and friends received contemplative care as they dealt with grief, mourning, and loss
  • •81,383 hours of compassionate care have been given by our volunteer chaplains
  • •30,303 staff people in hospitals, hospices, and prisons received spiritual care, including doctors, nurses, and social workers
  • •4,171 Contemplative care and meditation groups were run by our volunteer chaplains, with over 30,683 people attending
  • •34,855 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.