Dying, Bereavement, Psycho-Spiritual Care, and Buddhist Chaplaincy

Psycho-spiritual disease and the struggle with mortality is a pressing matter in contemporary Japan on a number of fronts. In the next forty to fifty years, roughly eighty million Japanese people will die due to natural causes because of its rapidly aging population demographic. Since 1998, Japan has experienced over 30,000 suicides per year – a number which crosses all age groups and expresses the deep sense of human alienation from years of rapid economic development. Finally, the trauma of the 3/11 tsunami and the subsequent nuclear incident in Fukushima has further unsettled a people who had been firmly rooted in traditions of intimate community. In an attempt to revive their connections to society and community, more and more Buddhist priests are engaging in pro-active psycho-spiritual support for the living and suffering, rather than what has become their role over the past few centuries of acting as ritualists for the dead.

Psycho-Spiritual Care & Buddhist Chaplaincy

  • Ghosts of the Tsunami (a profile of the work of Rev. Taio Kaneda, abbot of Tsudai-ji, a Soto Zen temple in Kurihara City, Miyagi & supervisor of Cafe de Monk, which provides counseling in disaster stricken areas) by Richard Lloyd Parry (London Review of Books, Vol. 36 No. 3, February 6, 2014)

Suicide Prevention

Hospice and Care for the Dying


  • Buddhist Care for the Dying and Bereaved in the Modern World: Global Perspectives Edited by Jonathan Watts and Yoshiharu Tomatsu (Wisdom Publication – Boston & the Jodo Shu Research Institute – Tokyo)

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