About New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care

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 Buddhist 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 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.

Master 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.

Direct Care

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:

80,944 individuals received contemplative care in the face of death, cancer, AIDS, and other illnesses
30,885 family members, couples and friends received contemplative care as they dealt with grief, mourning, and loss
62,146 hours of compassionate care have been given by our volunteer chaplains
22,327 staff people in hospitals, hospices, and prisons received spiritual care, including doctors, nurses, and social workers
4,555 Contemplative care and meditation groups were run by our volunteer chaplains, with over 22,092 people attending
24,922 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.

New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care will build its home in the heart of Manhattan. Not only will the Center provide respite for people at the end-of-life guest house, it will be a model center engaged in education, training, consulting and daily meditation. The Center’s vision has grown out of the historical Buddha’s last word “care.”


The emphasis of the center will be to provide spiritual care for those facing life challenges, illness and end-of-life. It will be a sanctuary in the middle of New York City, offering a diverse array of services that allow people to engage on a variety of levels. The Center will serve those who wish to come for spiritual practice, to act as caregiver to residents of the guesthouse, to train in contemplative practices, and to find refuge from the fast pace of the city.

The end-of-life guesthouse will be attended by a group of well-trained volunteers who will deliver the practical and spiritual care. Hospice medical services will be provided by a hospice partnership. All the care given will be grounded in spiritual practice. Our staff and volunteers will minister practical, emotional and spiritual care to the sick, their families and friends at this sacred time.

Visiting professional caregivers will also have an opportunity to volunteer and stay at the Center for a short time to deepen their practice through our contemplative modality, and they will return to their own communities enriched by their training.

The Center itself will provide a sacred quiet space for community gathering and learning. At the heart of the Center is the meditation room where daily meditation will inform and allow people of different faith traditions to engage their practice. The Center will also have community areas, including a library, meeting room, classroom, lounge, dining area, an open kitchen, and administrative offices. There will be five to eight bedroom suites for the end-of-life guesthouse as well as accommodations for their family and friends. There will also be four suites for those training in contemplative care. We envision a suite of therapy offices for counseling, psychotherapy, and bereavement. The center will use the highest environmental standards and will utilize renewable and nontoxic building materials.

If you are interested in supporting our work, please make a donation.

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