Education options for Buddhist Chaplaincy/Pastoral Counseling

@UpasakaMichael , The program is actually going to be provided by the “Buddhist Council of WA” an umbrella group of Buddhist organisations in Western Australia and not by the BSWA as such. Dennis is still the driving force though.


@Bill thanks, this clarifies that. I noted on the website for the BCWA the following: Buddhist Council of Western Australia Inc. » Celebrants & Chaplains Seems like a great organization, and one that is well situated to start a training program for Buddhist-focused chaplaincy/pastoral counseling. Will the CARE Group at BSWA still be carried forward and funded, if you know?

1 Like

Just FYI: A new program that I found online today :

And, the SCA (Spiritual Care Association) of which I am a new member, is now offering: SCA University of Theology and Spirituality

I’m not endorsing this at all. In fact, some of the academic programs out there in the fields of Pastoral Counseling and Chaplaincy are not accredited, or not fully accredited. Like so much of education, with online for-profit schools popping up like Starbucks on every corner, caveat emptor applies.


A Buddhist Chaplain offers these thoughts on meditation practice in the midst of wildfire catastrophe.

Pema Düddul is the Buddhist chaplain in the University of Southern Queensland’s Multi-Faith Service and the director of Jalü Buddhist Meditation Centre. He has been teaching mindfulness and meditation since 2007.


Part of the application that I made to a M.Div.-type program with the above mentioned SCA has been the registration for an initial course entitled CPP.301 Introduction Pastoral Psychotherapy

Within this cohort is a Jewish Rabbi, living in Israel, and she brings many interesting and beautiful insights into the online classroom module. Miriam Berkowitz - Wikipedia She mentions this:

Relating to Anagarika’s mention of a spiritual friend or kalyana mitta which I understand is in the Buddhist tradition, I like the Irish/Celtic concept of Anam Cara, a soul friend who wants the best for you and accompanies and challenges you on the journey. It was hard for me to accept the pastoral model of a more mutual model of human relation than classical psychotherapy, but I think the “appropriate use of self-disclosure” and willingness to use small gestures like hold a hand or sing, are very powerful and acceptable in pastoral care.

My ancestry is mostly Irish, and I was raised a Catholic (gigged as altar boy, school mass lector) but am not familiar with the Anam Cara , perhaps a close kin to the kalyana mitta :

“One of the tasks of true friendship is to listen compassionately and creatively to the hidden silences. Often secrets are not revealed in words, they lie concealed in the silence between the words or in the depth of what is unsayable between two people.”
― John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

Added Feb. 5 2020

A quick update on this thread relating to Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care (Buddhist).

After meeting with an organized Jail Ministry, I submitted at their request an application to be a “clergy” member of the chaplaincy volunteers at my city’s county jail. For decades, the jail ministry was organized by a consortium of Christian churches in the city, although there is now an Imam and a Rabbi participating. I wanted to introduce a Buddhist avenue for those in detention, and it looks like the first inroads will be made by me ( and I hope others once word gets out).

Here’s the question: Can our friends here suggest Buddhist books or materials that might be useful and beneficial (and user friendly for the audience), which I will purchase and add to the lending library in the jail?

I still have a small supply of Ajahn Chatchai’s Metta book, which I will be contributing, as well as copies of the Sutta Nipata (Khantipalo Mills).

Any suggestions much appreciated!


Sorry for the late reply but there are many competing issues wanting my attention. The care group at BSWA is going ahead on a trial basis, although the Corona Virus may delay its implementation. I was amongst the first group to be trained (and got my certificate) but further training is envisaged. we were hoping to start next month, after the AGM and we are also awaiting completion of renovations to the premises and IT connectivity before we can start. The BCWA/BSWA was also invited by the WA State government’s department of Corrective services to put in a bid for a 5 year contract to provide prison chaplaincy in prisons, so we are waiting on the result of that as well.


To get on the BSWA email list (members only) just email Lucky K. our membership secretary on :


Ajahn Brahms “A Truckload of dung”
the story of the two bad bricks really resonates with prisoners, One murderer even said "it was only two bad bricks(two people I killed). Once they become more interested offer deeper dhamma material.


Bill, thanks for this update and it all sounds great! Please keep us informed as things go forward.


Michael, I’ll try to remember to update this forum

1 Like

The Buddhist Care Group in Perth is starting on the 26th of May on a part time basis, my first shift is on thursday the 28th for night shift 6.00 pm to 10.30pm. Details will be on the BSWA website I believe.



May it bring much comfort and alleviate the suffering of others. And may you, and all those volunteering, reap the merits of your efforts. :pray: :pray: :pray:


Thanks, Bill! I checked for a link and found this: care group | Buddhist Society of Western Australia

I really like the way that the group’s mission is stated, as a care group.

A telephone help line to provide a welcoming and safe listening & befriending service for our members & supporters to speak with our trained carers with openness and compassion.

The service is able to listen to callers who may be in distress, by utilising a referral and triage process which can access appropriate professional services where necessary.

With much Metta, Bill, and good luck on your first shift!