Public Symposium: Mindfulness Practice for Being with Suffering & Grief

A Public Symposium presented by
the Rinbutsuken Institute for Engaged Buddhism
the Sophia University Institute of Grief Care
the Tokyo Jikei Medical University Palliative Care Center

Contemplative Care & Spirituality
Mindfulness Practice for Being with Suffering & Grief


November 4, 2017
Tokyo Jikei School of Medicine
1 Flr. Lecture Hall, Building #2, Nishi Shinbashi 3-19-18, Minato-ku, Tokyo

The practice of Buddhist based mindfulness meditation is now sweeping the world. Entering various secular fields like business, medicine, and even sports, mindfulness practice has helped people to reduce work related stress, be more efficient and focused in their endeavors, and find a pathway to inner peace. As wonderfully simple as mindfulness may seem, it is usually not a practice that is accessible for the deeply traumatized, such as those experiencing suicidal depression, recovering from a natural disaster or traumatic event, or dealing with the grief of a lost loved one. To become intimate with such people, and to be able to guide them to a place of stability from which an intensive mindfulness practice could be of help, requires a type of caregiver or “guide” who is in fact highly developed in mindfulness and the accompanying wisdom and energy it requires to engage deeply in suffering.

This symposium will introduce to our audience in Japan to the work of three such caregiver guides from different parts of the world who are using mindfulness practices to be with the suffering of the traumatized. The speakers are also involved in organizations that are cultivating such caregiver guides, which in the professional world are often called chaplains. The Rinbutsuken Institute for Engaged Buddhism & the Sophia University Institute of Grief Care are two such organizations within Japan cultivating such caregiver guides/chaplains. Working from different religious standpoints but in cooperative settings, these two organizations are confronting the various forms of suffering prevalent in Japan now, such as depression, suicide, disaster trauma, the death of the elderly, and all the grief that accompanies these issues. Please join us for a lively and fascinating look at how mindfulness practice and spirituality is being developed institutionally to transform our societies in the 21st century.

Three Panelists:

  • Elaine Yuen – Clinical Pastoral Education, Naropa University, USA
  • Gustav Ericsson – Hospital Chaplain, Lutheran Church, with Soto Zen ordination, Sweden
  • Kuppiyawatte Bodhananda Thero – Director of the Centre for Drug Rehabilitation & Human Values Development, Sri Lanka

Japanese Commentators:

  • Takaaki David Ito – Graduate School of Applied Religious Studies Sophia University
  • Naohito Shimoyama – Department of Palliative Medicine, Jikei University School of Medicine


13:00 Welcome

13:05 Opening remarks by Rev. Hitoshi Jin, Director of the Rinbutsuken Institute for Engaged Buddhism

13:15 Three Panelists

14:45 Japanese Commentator

15:00 Break

15:15 Open discussion and questions from the floor

16:45 Closing remarks by Prof. Susumu Shimazono, Director of the Sophia University Institute of Grief Care

17:00 Finish


General: 2,000 yen

Student: 1,000 yen

  • additional 500 yen deposit for translation receivers

Advance Registration:

Not Needed. Hall is limited to 150 persons


For Japanese:

  • the Rinbutsuken Institute for Engaged Buddhism, Tel: 03-3541-6725
  • the Sophia University Institute of Grief Care, Tel: 03-3238-3776

For English: Japan Network of Engaged Buddhists: ogigaya[at]

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