Contemplative End of Life Care: Certificate Program for Health Care Professionals

Rigpa is my Buddhist group, headed by my teacher Sogyal Rinpoche. One of Rigpa’s programs is the Spiritual Care Program. The Rigpa U.S. Spiritual Care is run by the rather marvelous Darci Meyers.

For five years, the Spiritual Care Program has offered Contemplative End of Life Care: A Certificate Program for Health Care Professionals through Naropa University Extended Studies Department.

The Contemplative End of Life Care Certificate Program is a comprehensive training in end-of-life care that brings together the ancient wisdom of the Buddhist tradition as presented in Sogyal Rinpoche’s TheTibetan Book of Living and Dying with the knowledge, skills and best practices of hospice and palliative care – presented by Rigpa’s Spiritual Care Program and Naropa University’s School of Extended Studies.

In the foreword to Facing Death and Finding Hope by Christine Longaker, Sogyal Rinpoche says:
As we will discover for ourselves, the more we can embody the spiritual teachings, the more natural and more effective we will be in giving spiritual care to a dying person. How we are is so much more important than what we say or do. Our presence, by itself, can reassure our dying friend, and evoke in him or her a fundamental confidence and trust, a sense of hope and meaning.

Another favorite quote by Sogyal Rinpoche from the Introduction to the Revised Edition of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying is:
Death is the most crucial moment of our lives, and each and every one of us should be able to die in peace and fulfillment, knowing that we will be surrounded by the best in spiritual care

Program Structure
The training includes two residential sessions, with a total of fourteen days, and weekly online lectures between the residential portions.

Residential sessions complement a semester of online learning. The 2008 program dates for the residential and online sessions are as follows:

January 5 to 13, 2008: First Residential Session
January 14 to May 7, 2008: Online Class
May 7 to May 16, 2008: Second Residential Session


While in training, participants are encouraged to demonstrate practical application of the material and practices in direct care work. Therefore, those eligible include professionals currently working in health care and human services with seriously ill or bereaved children or adults; and students of these professions who are currently engaged in a clinical setting.


Continuing education credit for nurses and other professionals is provided by Naropa University.

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