Buddhist Chaplaincy

A Buddhist chaplain is a trained spiritual caregiver who provides support and guidance to individuals in various settings, such as hospitals, prisons, and the military. They offer compassionate listening, emotional support, and spiritual guidance based on Buddhist teachings and practices. Chaplaincy in English language refers to the practice of providing spiritual care and support to people in need, regardless of their religious or cultural background, and without any form of judgement.

Our chaplain service & network

We work across all forms of buddhism, and with other faiths and no faiths, to develop best practice in the work of chaplaincy. This international branch of buddhist work takes place in hositals, military and conflict settings, schools, youth organisations and community governance. 

What is chaplaincy?

Being a chaplain in the context of Buddhism means serving as a spiritual caregiver and counselor for individuals in need. Chaplains provide emotional support, guidance, and comfort to those facing challenges or seeking guidance on their spiritual journey. They offer a listening ear, compassionate presence, and guidance rooted in Buddhist teachings and practices to help individuals navigate life's difficulties and find peace and clarity.

Compassion when it is needed the most.

Buddhist chaplains follow the eight-fold path, which includes principles such as right speech, right action, and right mindfulness. They apply compassion when it is needed the most, offering support and guidance to those facing difficult situations. By embodying the teachings of Buddhism, chaplains strive to bring comfort and healing to those in need.

Buddhist thoughts on military chaplaincy

Buddhist chaplains can work with the armed forces to support emotional health by providing mindfulness practices, meditation sessions, and spiritual guidance rooted in Buddhist teachings. These practices can help military personnel cope with stress, trauma, and the challenges of serving in high-pressure environments. By incorporating  principles of compassion, wisdom, and non-attachment, chaplains can help individuals cultivate inner peace and resilience in the face of adversity.


We collaborate with other schools in Buddhism to establish and uphold standards for chaplaincy within the Buddhist community.

Our training is 'chaplain first' focused and includes proccess for spirtual authroity when required.

Youth Chaplaincy

Chaplaincy plays a vital role within youth charities, particularly in the context of organisations like Scouts and Guides. Chaplains provide spiritual guidance, support, and a listening ear to young people as they navigate the challenges of growing up. They help instill values of compassion, mindfulness, and respect for others, which are key teachings in Buddhism. 

By incorporating chaplaincy into youth charities, organisations can create a safe and nurturing environment for young people to explore their beliefs and develop a strong moral compass.

Inter-faith spaces

Working internationally to help consult and provide inter-faith spaces for chaplaincy and spiritual reflection in the context of Buddhism is a meaningful and important endeavour. 

By facilitating dialogue and understanding among different faith traditions, we can create inclusive and welcoming environments for individuals seeking spiritual guidance and support. Through our efforts, we aim to foster a sense of unity and harmony among diverse communities, promoting peace and mutual respect.


The Kalyāṇa-mittatā or 'Spiritual friend' is a model we recommend for chaplaincy over the 'Boddhisattva teachings' model

Kalyāṇa-mittatā as a basis for chaplaincy

Becoming a spirutal friend

Kalyāṇa-mittatā, or spiritual friendship, is an important concept in Buddhism that emphasises the value of positive and supportive relationships on the spiritual path. 

Having good spiritual friends can provide guidance, encouragement, and inspiration as we navigate the challenges of life and strive for personal growth and enlightenment. We believe this is the foundation of understanding buddhism in the context of chaplaincy work.

Through Kalyāṇa-mittatā, we can learn from others, share our experiences, and deepen our own understanding of the teachings of the Buddha, while respecting the beliefs and religions of others and spiritual friends and supporter.

This concept is applicable to all forms of Buddhism, as the importance of community and connection is emphasized in various traditions and practices. Buddhist chaplains need models that can be universally acceptable, and Kalyanamitra translated as Spiritual Friendship is a model valued by Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana traditions.

By cultivating Kalyāṇa-mittatā, we can create a supportive and nurturing environment that helps us on our spiritual journey and brings us as buddhists closer to the ultimate goal of liberation. 

The Operational Role of a Buddhist Chaplain Working with KalyanamitraIn

The collaboration between a chaplain and the kalyanamitra teachings, or spiritual friend, forms a dynamic and supportive relationship aimed at fostering spiritual growth and emotional well-being. Operating within this framework involves several key components:

Supportive Presence: A Buddhist chaplain serves as a compassionate and non-judgmental presence for individuals navigating life's challenges. They offer emotional support, active listening, and guidance grounded in Buddhist principles.

Cultivating Connection: Building a trusting and meaningful relationship with kalyanamitra is essential. The chaplain fosters open communication and mutual understanding to facilitate spiritual exploration and growth.

Guided Reflection and Practice: Through dialogue and reflection, the chaplain encourages kalyanamitra to deepen their understanding of Buddhist teachings and integrate them into daily life. This may involve meditation, mindfulness practices, and contemplative inquiry.

Sacred Rituals and Ceremonies: Chaplains may facilitate rituals and ceremonies tailored to the needs of kalyanamitra, such as meditation sessions, chanting, or rites of passage, to support spiritual development and healing, including allowing the safe space for other religions or non-religious rituals and discussion to take place.

Navigating Life Transitions: Whether facing illness, loss, or other life transitions, the chaplain provides comfort, solace, and guidance grounded in Buddhist wisdom, helping kalyanamitra find meaning and resilience amidst adversity.

Ethical Guidance: Drawing upon Buddhist ethics and values, the chaplain assists kalyanamitra in navigating moral dilemmas, making ethical decisions, and cultivating virtues such as compassion, generosity, and equanimity.

Community Engagement: Chaplains may facilitate group discussions, workshops, or community events to foster a sense of belonging and interconnectedness among kalyanamitra and fellow practitioners.

Continuous Learning and Growth: Engaging in ongoing education, supervision, and self-reflection is crucial for chaplains to deepen their understanding of Buddhist teachings, refine their skills, and maintain ethical integrity in their practice.

By embodying these principles and practices, a Buddhist chaplain working with the kalyanamitra operates as a supportive guide and spiritual companion on the path of awakening, offering solace, wisdom, and encouragement along the journey of life.

An LGBTQIA+ Safe space

We support and work as allies to all who face oppression.

A safe space is a place where the LGBTQIA+ community can freely express themselves without fear. 

It is a space, physical or virtual, where violence, bullying or hate speech against members of the LGBTQIA+ community will not be tolerated. A safe space does not guarantee 100% safety, but is rather a place that you protect if an incident (violence, bullying or hate speech) should occur.

the Upeska Order and it's work supports and endorses the aims and activities of the European Rainbow Sangha of the
European Buddhist Union (EBU).

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