Snapshots of Buddhist Chaplains

Here’s a sampling of the variety of Buddhist chaplains who are doing good work in the world. You can find more in Our Directory.

Jennifer Block Jennifer Block serves as Chaplain and Education Director for the Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco, California where she teaches workshops, offers spiritual care to the bereaved, and provides community outreach. Jennifer is one of the co-founders and core faculty of the Buddhist Chaplaincy Training program at the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies where Buddhist practitioners are introduced to Buddhist spiritual caregiving. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley, CA. Jennifer completed her undergraduate degree at Boston University, her theology degree at Naropa University, and is an ordained Interfaith minister. View Profile

Renshin Bunce Renshin Bunce ordained as a priest at San Francisco Zen Center in 2003. During her residence at Zen Center, Rev. Bunce began training as a chaplain, first with the Buddhist Chaplaincy Training at the Sati Center in Redwood City, and then at California Pacific Medical Center. Reverend Bunce received an M.Div equivalency from the Association of Professional Chaplains based on her seven years' residence at Tassajara and City Center, and is currently employed as a hospice hhaplain.

Robert Chodo Campbell Robert Chodo Campbell is a Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care. He serves on the Core Faculty for the Center’s Buddhist Chaplaincy Training Programs. Chodo brings his life experience and his Zen and psychoanalytic study to his teachings in the areas of: anxiety and depression, drug and alcohol abuse, and contemplative approaches to care. Chodo is an Adjunct Professor at the Institute of Buddhist Studies and Co-Director of Contemplative Care Services for the Department of Integrative Medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center. He is a Senior Soto Zen Buddhist Priest, he leads workshops and retreats in a variety of settings from corporations to national healthcare conferences.

Koshin Paley Ellison Koshin Paley Ellison is the Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care. He serves as the Director of Training for the Center’s Buddhist Contemplative Care Programs. He is currently a ACPE Supervisory Candidate. Koshin is an Adjunct Professor at the Institute of Buddhist Studies as well as a licensed social worker. He is the Co-Director of Contemplative Care Services for the Department of Integrative Medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center, where he also serves on the Medical Ethics Committee. Koshin began Zen practice over twenty years ago, and he is a Senior Soto Zen Buddhist Priest. He gives plenary addresses, workshops and retreats on contemplative based approaches to leadership and care, and meditation in a variety of settings from corporations to national healthcare conferences.

Bryan Ferry Bryan Ferry is an interfaith chaplain at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, where he is also an ACPE Supervisory Candidate who trains seminarians and lay practitioners to become chaplains. Previously, he worked as a hospice chaplain in Colorado and Los Angeles. Bryan was ordained in Thich Nhat Han's Order of Interbeing in 2005. He holds a Masters of Divinity degree from Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Co after having spent a foundational year in Naropa University's Engaged Buddhism Program. Bryan also completed six units of CPE through the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education. He has been serving in the field of hospital and hospice chaplaincy since 2000.

Danny Fisher Danny Fisher is Coordinator of the Buddhist Chaplaincy Program at University of the West in Rosemead, CA. He was ordained as a lay Buddhist minister by the Buddhist Sangha Council of Southern California in 2008. In addition, he is certified as a mindfulness meditation instructor by Naropa University in association with Shambhala International. The first-ever Buddhist member of the National Association of College and University Chaplains, he serves on the advisory council for the Upaya Buddhist Chaplaincy Training Program. He is a blogger for Shambhala Sun and elephant journal, and has also written for Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Religion Dispatches, The Journal of Buddhist Ethics, The Journal of Religion & Film, Eastern Horizon, New York Spirit, Alternet’s Wiretap Magazine, and other publications.

Trudi Jinpu Hirsch-Abramson Trudi Jinpu Hirsch-Abramson, is a Senior Soto Zen Priest in the lineage of Taizan Maezumi. She started practicing zazen at Zen Mountain Monestery with John Daido Loori and received Jukai in 1990, and ordained on Oct 20th, 1991. Jinpu left Zen Mountain Monastery in 1998, to continue her clinical pastoral education training, which she began in 1997. She received Denkai from Enkyo O’Hara Roshi, on December 30th, 1998. Jinpu became the first Buddhist ACPE (Association of Clinical Pastoral Education) Supervisor in 2000. Currently, Jinpu is an ACPE Chaplain Supervisor and Zen priest. She is an Adjunct Professor at the Institute of Buddhist Studies. She was the acting Director and Chaplain Supervisor for Beth Israel Medical Center for four years. As part of the core teaching team of New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care, Jinpu serves as the primary ACPE Supervisor for the Center’s Buddhist CPE Training Programs.

Denah Joseph Denah Joseph has served as the chaplain for the palliative care service at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center since 2007. In that capacity, she provides spiritual care to hospitalized patients and their caregivers/ families facing life-limiting diagnoses, advanced illness or end of life. She also supports other clinicians in self-care provides debriefing for staff around difficult cases, and teaches medical students about spiritual issues at end of life. Denah came to pastoral care after a long career as a psychotherapist, and maintains a small practice of contemplative psychotherapy. Denah is an ordained Buddhist minister in the Theravadan tradition under the auspices of Insight Meditation Center of Redwood City, CA, and is currently working toward certification as a Buddhist chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains.

Thom Kilts Thom Kilts is an ordained Lineage Holder of the Celtic Buddhist lineage and endorsed and commissioned member of the Dzogchen Community of North America. Thom is a Board Certified Chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains and a certified Association for Clinical Pastoral Education Supervisor. He has worked professionally in the chaplaincy field for over 15 years.

Daijaku Judith Kinst Daijaku Judith Kinst is the coordinator and primary professor for the Buddhist Chaplaincy program at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley, California. After ordination and formal Soto Zen priest training, Daijaku completed an MA in Western psychology, licensure as an MFT, and a PhD in Psychology and Buddhism. During this time she also trained as a chaplain at the UCSF Medical Center's Clinical Pastoral Education program. She is a dharma successor in the Soto Zen lineage of Shunryu Suzuki roshi and, with Rev. Shinshu Roberts is the Guiding Teacher of the Ocean Gate Zendo in Capitola, California. She has taught and led retreats with teachers from a variety of Buddhist traditions, and maintains a pastoral counseling and spiritual direction practice in San Francisco.

Mikel Ryuho Monnett Mikel Ryuho Monnett is a member of the Zen Peacemaker Order and the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. A long-time student of Ven. Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche and Joan Jiko Halifax Roshi, Chaplain Monnett received his B.A.s from The Ohio State University in 1987, and his M.A. from Naropa University in 1999. A writer, lecturer, and ardent advocate of Buddhist chaplaincy, he is a member of the Buddhist Chaplains Network of the ACPE and previously served as the Heart Services Anchor Chaplain at Barnes-Jewish Hospital at Washington University Medical Center in St. Louis, MO. A specialist in disaster chaplaincy, he was twice deployed to major catastrophes in the U.S. as part of a spiritual care team. He currently lives in Ohio with his wife Tara.

Eileen Phillips Eileen Phillips works full-time as an Interfaith Chaplain offering spiritual care for Kaiser Hospice in the Napa/Solano area. She is a Buddhist Ritual Minister for Spirit Rock Meditation Center. She managed retreats for Mountain Stream Meditation Center and Spirit Rock for nearly ten years. Eileen graduated from Spirit Rock’s Community Dharma Leader Program and Sati Center’s Buddhist Chaplaincy Program. She leads groups, teaches meditation classes, and instructs Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction courses.