The Zen Center for Contemplative Care is impacting many lives, on a shoestring budget. Fantastic impact on the world! They are transforming lives of their students, as well as thousands of patients in hospital and hospice that ZCCC folks care for and serve. Amazing. They also host Palliative Care Symposiums, attending by hundreds of caregivers including well known Pal Care physicians, as well as nurses, chaplains, social workers, etc. They train medical students and doctors in compassionate care and deep listening skills. ZCCC also hosts free meditation sessions in which they sometimes ask for modest donations ($10) which helps keep the doors open. For those that wish the world a more caring place, ZCCC is a gem. For those who wish to look at our own minds and hearts, their training programs are transformational.
I first reached out to this organization during the summer of 2009. Two years earlier I had experienced a series of losses (marriage, job, home, death of my only child) that both upended my world and made me acutely aware of how our culture doesn’t deal well with death, loss, or grief. Meditation and Buddhism had been a core part of my own healing process during this time, so NYZCCC’s focus on helping people and families dealing with dying, grief, and other types of loss through an Eastern lens appealed to me.
My involvement with the organization started as a student, with Foundations in Buddhist Contemplative Care, a nine-month program that was a profoundly moving and life-enriching experience. As someone deeply wrapped up in my own pain, meeting with patients with a wide array of issues and health problems at a major NYC hospital every week helped shift my focus from myself onto the pain and suffering every one of us experiences at some point in our lives. During this experience, the wisdom, advice, and insight from NYZCCC’s founders deepened my own spiritual understanding and played a large role in my ongoing healing.
During this time I started volunteering my professional skills to help the organization grow and expand its impact, particularly through a strategic-planning and goal-setting process that helped define where to focus the organization’s energy over both the short and long-term. I was asked to serve on the Board of Directors in 2010, which I did so until earlier this year (I resigned due to a move to the west coast). During my time on the Board I served as Secretary and on the Executive Committee, and was also deeply involved in planning the first Buddhist Contemplative Care Symposium on palliative and end-of-life care, held in Garrison, NY in November 2012. I continue to be a donor and supporter of the organization.
Four years later, I continue to be a strong believer in the organization’s mission to help train healthcare professionals and institutions in how to be with patients and families undergoing difficult and life-changing experiences, helping to bring compassion and humanity to what is too frequently a high-tech, low-touch institutional experience. I know personally many people involved in the organization—the founders, board members, staff, advisors, and students—and have been impressed by each one’s integrity and commitment to the work. NYZCCC has grown significantly the past four years, extending its impact and training to larger groups of people, and I feel privileged to have been a part of its journey.
The New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care is an organization I support each month. NYZCCC's visionary work has supported me in the most difficult of times. When I was hospitalized, their skilled chaplains assisted me in my health crisis. I was helped by the chaplain's presence and ability to be with me in a disorienting time. Since then, I have been a monthly supporter. I continue to be supported by their wonderful teachers' podcasts and videos. I am proud to support this organization that transforms the lives of people like me in the most critical times.
Review from Guidestar
This is a sham of an organization to say the least. I'm still confused as to how they received 501c3 nonprofit status with the IRS as their mission statement is as convoluted and self-serving as the people in leadership positions. I reached out to this organization one afternoon to inquire about their services and was met with a rude and arrogant individual that basically didn't want to be bothered; he said he would have his assistant call me back. It was obvious to me that he not only didn't care enough about my inquiry but he also had no clue how to explain to me what exactly the organization does. I probably should have not perused any further association with this organization, but I was intrigued by their alleged 'free' meditation services. I attended a session and listened to a 'dharma talk' which consisted of two alleged Buddhist monk's in front of a small audience spewing self righteous banter and pawning it off as the Buddha's teachings. What I found most disturbing is that they ridiculed anyone that had questions, simply stating antidotal 'solutions' like, 'instead of asking me that, you really need to sit with yourself and come to terms as to why you feel that way'. Talk about self righteousness! As I headed out at the end, I was bombarded by these two 'monks' asking for 'dana' or a donation, for their services. I was appalled that they corned me and asked me for money in this manner since they proclaim themselves and their organization to be selfless, compassionate, and live through the Buddha's teachings. I was shocked that people that have seemingly dedicated their lives to 'compassionate action' could be so hypocritical to the very people they proclaim to serve and support. Please be wary of these people and this organization. I am still unsure of what they do and why they need nonprofit status.
Review from Guidestar