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Contemplative Caregiver Course 2014

Related Information
Article—Beyond the Pain: A Contemplative Caregiver’s Experience
What is Contemplative Care? An Interview with Jennifer Block
Jennifer Block
Grace Dammann
Kyoshin Wendy Lewis
Robert Cusick
with Jennifer Block, Grace Dammann, Wendy Lewis, Robert Cusick and Peter Van Der Sterre
This course is a collaboration between Beyond Measure School for Contemplative Care and San Francisco Zen Center.

Term 1: January 31 to May 10
Term 2: May 15 to August 15
Term 3: August 22 to December 6


Embedded with Buddhist teachings, this course engages individual, family and paid caregivers in contemplative practices and care methods through 11 months of coursework. Participants from a diverse range of backgrounds are welcome—from nurses to yoga instructors to lawyers, mothers, clergy and psychologists. All who attend this course share an intention to develop greater skill and confidence in caring for people who are aging, sick and dying.

San Francisco Zen Center Dharma teachers serve as core faculty for the course, which is led by Jennifer Block, the former education director at Zen Hospice Project. Along with guest faculty, the faculty guide participants in an integral learning experience, incorporating contemplative, didactic, creative and experiential elements to cultivate the skills of contemplative care.

Upon completion of all three terms, participants receive a certificate as a contemplative caregiver. Continuing education units are available (more info).

Contemplative care encompasses the breadth of our innate caregiving capacity with the depth of meditative wisdom and universal compassion. Contemplative care is more a way of care than a how or what. It brings the gifts of contemplative practice to the knowledge, skills and best practices of caregiving.
Prior experience with Buddhism is not necessary.

Details, Fees & Application


Video: Course Introduction





Video: In the Words of Our Participants



Related Bio(s):

Jennifer Block
Jennifer Block is an Interfaith minister and Buddhist chaplain who has practiced Zen, Insight Meditation, and Yoga since 1988. Her life’s work is providing spiritual care to people in crisis, mentoring caregivers, and teaching people how to access their innate capacity for caring and healing.

Grace Dammann
Dr. Grace Dammann, a revered physician who was honored by the Dalai Lama for her extraordinary work with AIDS patients during the height of the epidemic, has been a resident of Green Gulch Farm for many decades. Her life was shattered in May 2008 by a catastrophic head-on collision on the Golden Gate Bridge. After 48 days in a coma and multiple surgeries for broken bones and injured organs, doctors were amazed when Grace miraculously awoke with her cognitive abilities intact. Yet once the thrill and euphoria of survival had passed, the hard, painful work of rehabilitation and caregiving began for Grace, her partner Fu Schroeder, and an extraordinary community of friends and colleagues.

Kyoshin Wendy Lewis
Kyoshin Wendy Lewis has been practicing at Zen Center since 1987. She was ordained by Sojun Mel Weitsman and completed Dharma Transmission with Eijun Linda Cutts. She received a Masters of Theology from the University of San Francisco. She is Dean of the Zen Center School in the Central Abbess/Abbot's Department.

Robert Cusick
Robert Cusick trained at Stanford University in the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) and is a Stanford certified Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT) instructor. He studied in the Soto Zen tradition at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, in the Ridhwan School’s Diamond approach with A. H. Almaas (Hameed Ali), and in Spirit Rock’s multi-year Dedicated Practioner’s Program. He ordained in Burma under the world-renowned meditation master Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw, and studied there with him for a number of years. His practice is focused on recognizing and cultivating compassion through the application of mindfulness.