Panel on Chaplaincy Highlights Importance of Spiritual Care

Gesshin Claire Greenwood  |  May 2, 2022

On Thursday, April 28, 2022, Institute of Buddhist Studies alumni gathered online for a panel entitled “Buddhist Spiritual Care for Our Times.” Rev. Jo Laurence, Blayne Higa, and Trent Thornley work in ministry and chaplaincy in a variety of settings, from Buddhist temples to the streets of San Francisco. Facilitated by Chaplaincy program coordinator Chenxing Han, this panel shows the importance of sangha and spiritual community in the formation of Buddhist leaders, and the unique nourishment of Buddhist chaplaincy.

About the panelists:

Rev. Blayne Higa holds a Master of Divinity degree from the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley, California with a focus on Shin Buddhist ministry and chaplaincy. He is the resident minister of the Kona Hongwanji Buddhist Temple. Rev. Blayne is the Chair of the Committee on Social Concerns for the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii. He also serves on the Board of the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii and Vibrant Hawaii. He is a past President of the Moiliili Hongwanji Board of Directors and former First Vice President of the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii. He also previously served on the Advisory Council for Project Dana and on the Board of The Interfaith Alliance Hawaii.

Rev. Jo Laurence received her MA at the Institute of Buddhist Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. Rev. Jo is a board certified hospice and palliative care chaplain in Portland, Oregon. She is a long time practitioner of Soto Zen and is ordained in the Sufi lineage of Hazrat Inayat Khan.

Rev. Trent Thornley is the Executive Director and Director of Clinical Pastoral Education at the San Francisco Night Ministry ( Trent is an ordained minister in the Metropolitan Community Churches, a progressive Christian denomination with an outreach to the LGBTQ+ community. He is also an ordained Buddhist Dharma Leader in the Nyingma lineage of Anam Thubten and Dharmata Sangha. He holds a M.A. in Buddhist Studies from the Graduation Theological Union and a Certificate in Buddhist Chaplaincy from the Institute of Buddhist Studies.