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  • Guoying Stacy Zhang

Serving Humanity in Transition: Chinese Buddhism and Spiritual Care in the United States

Four years ago, I had an opportunity to interview the revered Chan Buddhist monastic Venerable Guan Zhen while he was pursing his master’s degree in Social Work at Columbia University in New York City.* As a Buddhist monk who was ordained in China in 2001, Ven. Guan Zhen has gained a uniquely diverse experience as a spiritual caregiver after arriving in the US. Like other board-certified chaplains of different faiths, he completed four units (1,600 hours) of Clinical Pastoral Education. Over 10 years of practice in the field, Ven. Guan Zhen has served a variety of organizations, ranging from the United States Military Academy at West Point to the Department for the Aging of the Mayor’s Office in New York City. Most recently, Ven. Guan Zhen worked at a medical center in Northern California after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I recently followed up with Ven. Guan Zhen for Buddhistdoor Global’s Special Issue 2021: Humanity in Transition, to learn about his ongoing work and to invite him to share his insights into how Chinese Buddhism may benefit humanity in this time of change.

Ven. Guan Zhen at a medical center in Northern California. Image courtesy of Ven. Guan Zhen

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