As a student of the Master of Pastoral Studies Program (MPS) in the Buddhist stream, I am very grateful to my Emmanuel College/University of Toronto community, where the learning environment enriched my knowledge in Buddhism. I also benefited from understanding the importance of interfaith spiritual care. The MPS program opened my conscious gateway and broadened my worldview. I was the first Buddhist student of Contextual Education to take a practicum in a temple and was supervised by an educator from the Toronto Centre for Applied Buddhism and my Dharma master of The Mahayana Pure Land Temple. This precious pastoral experience deepened my understanding of my faith and inspired me to practice spiritual and compassionate care in a temple within a Buddhist community. While I helped clients find meaning in their lives and learn about acceptance amid suffering, I felt a sense of calling emerging from within. The experience inspired my sense of vocation to serve in the field of psychotherapy. This motive urges me to pursue further studies in the MPS, Certificate in Spiritual Care and Psychotherapy, and to transition into a career as a spiritually integrated psychotherapist and Buddhist Chaplain.
Being long-time volunteers at the temple, [fellow MPS student] Francis Lau and I have graciously received endorsement as Buddhist Chaplains at the contextual education practicum site, The Mahayana Pure Land Temple in Stouffville on September 25, 2021. Professor Henry Shiu also attended the endorsement ceremony to support his long-time Buddhist students.
With gratitude to the MPS program, Francis and I are intending to graduate in May 2022. Francis has just been employed as a chaplain and spiritual care manager at a hospital in New Brunswick. I will continue to complete an internship at the Royal Victoria Hospital and will then work in a long-term healthcare centre.
Story submitted by Joyce Lam