5/22 – Introduction to Buddhist Chaplaincy with Jennifer Lemas, Alistair Shanks, Ayla Benjamin, and Brent Beavers

5/22 – Introduction to Buddhist Chaplaincy with Jennifer Lemas, Alistair Shanks, Ayla Benjamin, and Brent Beavers

Saturday, May 22, 9:30 am – 12:30pm

On Zoom (Zoom Link Below)

A half-day overview of a chaplain’s work of providing spiritual care and support for people in hospitals, hospices, prisons, and a wide variety of other settings. The work is wonderfully challenging and satisfying. In recent years, Buddhist practitioners have been experiencing chaplaincy as a powerful opportunity to practice engaged Buddhism, and for some, as a vocation and profession. Information about the Sati Center’s Buddhist Chaplaincy Training and the Institute for Buddhist Studies Chaplaincy Degree Program will also be provided.

Teachers’ biography:

Jennifer Lemas has been practicing Vipassana meditation since 1997. She was lay ordained as a Buddhist Minister by Gil Fronsdal. She is a graduate of the Sati Center Buddhist Chaplaincy Program, Upaya’s Buddhist Chaplaincy and has completed four units of CPE at Sequoia Hospital. Jennifer has served as a chaplain since 2021 at various Bay Area Hospitals and leads the Buddhism and Recovery group at IMC.

Alistair Shanks, Zen Caregiving Project’s Volunteer Program Manager, began serving as a volunteer with Zen Hospice Project at the Guest House in 2004, and then Laguna Honda Hospital, where he served 10 years. During that time he also helped facilitate the New Volunteer Training which he continues to lead as well as teaching Mindful Caregiver Education courses.

Alistair holds a Master’s degree in Buddhist Studies and Chaplaincy from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. He completed the Buddhist Chaplaincy Training Program at Sati Center for Buddhist Studies in 2007. Other volunteer activities have included serving as a Buddhist chaplain at SF General Hospital and leading meditation sessions in the San Francisco County Jail.

Ayla Bejamin is the Executive Director of Boundless Freedom Project (BFP). BFP, formerly Buddhist Pathways Prison Project, is a nonprofit organization established in 2010 that is focused on sharing mindfulness, ethics & compassion practices with people impacted by incarceration. BFP does this by providing meditation, mindfulness, and movement practices inside California prisons. Boundless Freedom Project provides Buddhist services as well as non religious meditation programs. Since COVID, BFP has also developed a variety of program offerings via mail correspondence and zoom. Ayla will be joined along with a “Freedom Lover” representative from the organization. Freedom Lovers are program participants who have been released from the prisons. Together they will talk about the impact of bringing Buddhist practices to people who are incarcerated and the power of creating sanghas inside prisons. To stay connected with this organization visit: www.boundlessfreedom.org

Brent Beavers is an alum of the Institute of Buddhist Studies and Graduate Theological Union having earned a Common MA in Buddhism, a Chaplaincy Certificate, and a Soto Zen Certificate. While working in his role for IBS Brent also serves as a staff chaplain at Marin General Hospital in pursuit of Board Certification. Brent practices Zen Buddhism at the Bay Zen Center, where he serves as the board president, and was ordained in 2018 in the lineage of Charlotte Joko Beck and Diane Eshin Rizzetto. Prior to chaplaincy, Brent worked for sixteen years in corporate video communications at a Fortune 500 company.

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