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Contemplative Caregiver Courses 2015

Related Information
Article—Beyond the Pain: A Contemplative Caregiver’s Experience
What is Contemplative Care? An Interview with Jennifer Block
Jennifer Block
Kai Ji Jeffrey Schneider
Zesho Susan O'Connell
Grace Dammann
Principles and Elements of Contemplative Care (course completed; see upcoming courses below)
with Jennifer Block and Kai Ji Jeffrey Schneider
January 23 to April 18, 2015


This course clearly defines the characteristics of contemplative care and highlights their foundation in Buddhist teachings. Participants apply their learnings in real life situations and then reflect on these to increase their contemplative care skills. Topics include: tenets of Zen practice, mindfulness meditation, clarity and ease in the workplace, compassionate presence, and a variety of methods for infusing caregiving relationships with kindness and comfort.


Zen Approaches to Aging, Sickness, and Dying
with Jennifer Block, Zesho Susan O'Connell and Grace Dammann
May 22 to August 8, 2015


This course brings together Zen wisdom and compassionate care to meet the needs of people who are elderly, sick and facing death. Whether you are a professional or family caregiver, you can learn to engage and express the qualities of an awakened heart—love, kindness, joy and equanimity—as you provide care.

See complete course description and application.


Dynamics of Compassion Resilience
with Jennifer Block and others (TBA)
September 11 to December 5, 2015

This course develops the qualities of compassion, empathy and kindness for oneself and others. Topics include: contemporary psychology and scientific research on compassion, sustainable responses to suffering, self-compassion, and the power of intentional caregiving.

See complete course description and application.


About These Courses

As Buddhist teachings and meditation find an increasingly strong presence within various parts of American society, there is both an opportunity and a need to train people from all walks of life in the merging of contemplative practices with caring for those who are elderly, ill or dying.

The San Francisco Zen Center offers these courses to provide an introduction to caregiving from a Buddhist perspective. This is a unique opportunity to study Buddhist principles and practices relevant to spiritual caregiving, as well as receive an introduction to the psychological, social and ethical issues related to caregiving.

Mindfulness practices and Buddhist teachings on compassion are the theoretical framework of the Contemplative Caregiver Courses. Each course is focused on a particular dimension of caregiving.

Each course can be taken separately, in any order. Take all three courses as a yearlong program and receive a contemplative caregiver certificate. CE credits are available.

We appreciate that some people need support in discerning if this course is appropriate for them. Calls or emails are welcome: 415-354-0360 or rezoffice@sfzc.org.

For complete course descriptions and applications, please visit:
Contemplative Caregiver Courses 2015 at Beyond Measure School for Contemplative Care.

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.

The Contemplative Caregiver Courses are a collaboration between Jennifer Block, founder of Beyond Measure School for Contemplative Care, and San Francisco Zen Center, with Susan O’Connell, President, as the primary vision holder. This curriculum will inform the Zen-inspired senior living community currently being developed by San Francisco Zen Center.



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.

Kai Ji Jeffrey Schneider
Kai Ji Jeffrey Schneider is a priest at Zen Center, where he has lived, worked and practiced since 1978. The founder of the Zen Center recovery programs, he is currently the Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator.

Zesho Susan O'Connell
Zesho Susan O'Connell is a Zen teacher with 25 years of meditation experience. She has lived at Zen Center since 1995, was ordained as a priest in 1999 by Tenshin Reb Anderson, and currently serves as president. She started, with two other partners, her own business as an independent feature film producer with offices in San Francisco and L.A., and continued that business for 25 years. She has helped to produce over 10 video/film projects about Zen Center and its teachers.

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.