ICBM offers uniquely and expertly designed courses that focus on practical areas of Buddhist ministry and teaching. Competent, confident, and compassionate Buddhist teachers require a balanced base of Buddhist historical and philosophical knowledge in addition to a strong working knowledge of the pragmatic areas of ministry such as personal psychology and pastoral care. ICBM courses are therefore organized into the following 5 main categories.
ICBM continuously strives to expand and diversify in offering education and support. ICBM designers and facilitators are passionate and excited about exploring new areas of interest and need.
Completing the full ICBM program requires 3 years of full-time study.
Course availability and offering is dependent on sufficient student enrollment and is subject to change.
Click on the Course Title to expand and read the Course Description.
Buddhist Scriptures, Philosophy, & HistoryCourse IDs begin with SPH
|Course ID||Title||Semester |
|SPH 524||Mahayana Buddhism|
In this course students will be introduced to the largest of the three schools of Buddhism, the Mahayana school. Students will learn the foundations, history, and importance of the Mahayana School throughout East Asia. Students will come to understand why the Mahayana split from the more "traditional" thought and philosophy of Buddhism at the time. Special emphasis will be placed on the Bodhisattva ideal and it's importance to the spread of Mahayana.
|SPH 525||Pali Canon|
The Pali Canon (or Tipitaka ‘three baskets’) is the collection of primary Pali language texts which form the doctrinal foundation of Theravada Buddhism. In this course, students will explore the three baskets of the Pali Canon; the Vinaya Pitaka (rules of conduct), Sutta Pitaka (discourses), and the Abhidharma (meta-teachings).
|SPH 526||Buddhist Psychology|
This course is designed to introduce the major concepts, figures, texts, and schools of thought that form the foundations of Buddhist psychology. Topics of exploration include, but are not limited to; consciousness, ego, mindfulness, and the perception and transformation of suffering.
|SPH 612||Mahayana Sutras|
In this course, students will examine a selection of essential texts in the pantheon of Mahayana Sutras. Students will study the selected sutras through multiple lenses and perspectives, while locating the sutras not only historically, but also explore ways to adapt and apply insights from the sutras to one's own life, practice, and teaching. Specific sutras to be studied will be determined by the course facilitator each semester offered.
|SPH 812||Buddhist Ethics & Precepts|
Arguably one of the most important and influential dimensions of Buddhism is ethical behavior. The Buddha himself strongly emphasized a code of conduct that should be followed by not only the monastics, but the laity as well. The Buddha knew that acting with a moral and ethical consciousness not only greatly diminished the suffering of the person practicing, but the suffering of all beings. This course will look at the foundations of Buddhist ethics, including the traditional Pratimoksha vows of the monastic, the Bodhisattva vows, the Buddhist vows for the laity, as well as the six paramitas (six perfections). Students will gain a fundamental understanding of these ethical norms, as well as learn how to view contemporary social and ethical challenges through a Buddhist perspective.
|SPH 826||Buddhism in the West|
Buddhism is relatively young in the West, but the long and sometimes difficult process of assimilation of this ancient tradition is well under way. Everywhere Buddhism has spread, societies and cultures have integrated and synthesized the Buddhadharma with already existent traditions and customs. The course will trace the history and consider the future of Buddhism in the West. Students will become compare and contrast the more "traditional" types of Asian Buddhism to what is beginning to form in the West. In the West, congregations are much more ethnically, culturally, and spiritually diverse than in Asia. Students will learn how to navigate, embrace, and celebrate this cultural diversity in the modern Buddhist Sangha.
Ministerial CompetenceCourse IDs begin with MCO
|MCO 516||Emotional Awareness, Resilience, & Self-Care|
This course will study the multifaceted nature of emotions and also self-care theory and practices. Humans are emotional beings and emotions are present in every thought, action, interaction, and relationship, both with self and others. Cultivating a keen awareness of the nuances of how emotional patterns and energies manifest, one can better understand and respond to emotionally intense situations and care for oneself and others. As the work of ministry and teaching is often challenging, tiring, stressful, and sometimes even traumatic it is necessary to develop awarenesses and practices that sustain a healthy ministerial presence as one continues to ‘bear witness’ and expose oneself to intense emotional and spiritual situations.
|MCO 711||Comparative Religions & Interfaith Exploration|
In our increasingly multi-faith/multi-religious world it is becoming more incumbent to understand the broad and diverse faiths of our planet. This course will provide an in-depth exploration of many of the world's faiths; including the major religious traditions as well as some of the smaller lesser known faiths. Understanding how people make meaning of their lives and experiences is essential to fostering better communication, understanding, and cooperation for the benefit of all beings.
|MCO 712||Homiletics & Spiritual Teaching|
Homiletics is the art of preparing and delivering spiritual/religious discourses. In this course, students will study the steps requisite to prepare a well-crafted and polished discourse. Students will also learn about general strategies and methods for teaching others about meditation and mindfulness. Students will be afforded opportunities to prepare and practice delivering short discourses, design a sample outline of an introductory lecture/workshop, while receiving feedback from course peers.
|MCO 725||Ritual, Ceremony, & Liturgy|
Ritual, ceremony, and liturgy function as core elements and dynamics of Buddhist practice and ministry. Rituals have long served to help people to make meaning and understand significant life experiences. This course will both introduce students to the concept and history of ritual in the Buddhist context and also help prepare students to create and adapt rituals for use in an increasingly post-modern and secular culture. Specific rituals explored will include both celebratory rituals and rituals of mourning, grief, and remembrance. Liturgical focus will be at the discretion of the Course Facilitator.
|MCO 824||Sangha Leadership & Administration|
This course will help students to develop healthy and conscientious leadership skills. Shifting clergy identity, roles, and responsibilities will be addressed in relation to a range of ethical issues faced in congregational life and ministry, including confidentiality, clergy misconduct, collegiality with professional peers, ethical boundaries, and the ethics of teaching, counseling, and social engagement. A Buddhological framework for ethical leadership and conduct will be developed with attention to issues of power and professionalism and their limits. Emphasis will be placed on healthy leadership and practices for forming and maintaining healthy congregations (Sanghas). This course will also cover mundane dynamics of leadership responsibilities such as setting up a new center/temple, including non-profit status, 501(c)3 status, as well as marketing and communication strategies.
Skills of Spiritual CareCourse IDs begin with SSC
|Course ID||Title||Semester |
|SSC 611||Foundations of Spiritual Care|
This is an introductory course in the discipline of Spiritual Care. Spiritual care is the art of ministry as it relates to caring for the emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs of persons and faith communities. Students will survey the theories, methods and practices of spiritual care in congregations and communities with individuals and groups. Students will be offered opportunities to explore some of the personal, interpersonal and communal issues that are commonly encountered by persons engaging in spiritual care within various types of communities and settings.
|SSC 724||Skillful Communication|
As one of the eight spokes of the Buddhist Noble Eightfold Path, ‘Right Speech’ is a crucial skill for competent and compassionate ministry. It has been said that one’s tongue, or words, can be the most dangerous weapon in the world. Meaning, what we say, and how we say it, has the potential to heal or to injure others. In this course, students will learn the principles, strategies, and practices of skillful communication that contribute to understanding, reconciliation, and healing.
|SSC 811||Dying, Death, & Grief Experiences|
Death and loss are inevitable and fundamental aspects of the human experience. The Buddha was in part inspired to set out on his own spiritual quest after witnessing aging, sickness, and death. It is therefore imperative that Buddhist teachers be confident and competent to minister to those experiencing loss and grief. This course will explore the dying process and death from biological, psychological, sociological, philosophical, and spiritual perspectives. The experience of grief, and how to offer care for bereaved individuals and families, will also be addressed in this course.
|SSC 813||Addictions & Mental Health|
Nearly 58 million American adults (26%) suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder and 23 million Americans suffer from drug and alcohol addiction. On any given day, over 700,000 Americans seek help for an addiction. In this course, students will investigate the landscape of mental health and addiction through a ministerial lens. Students will develop their awareness and literacy of these two areas of suffering and acquire basic intervention skills when persons with mental health or addiction issues present themselves in one’s sphere of influence.
Meditation Theory & PracticeCourse IDs begin with MPT
|Course ID||Title||Semester Offered||First Year Offered|
|MPT 626|| Meditation Methods / Contemplative Practices|
This course introduces students to specific Buddhist meditation methods or other contemplative practices. The Course Facilitator will determine the modalities and methods to be studied. A subtitle will be provided detailing the focus of the course each semester offered.
|MPT 726||Scientific & Therapeutic Dimensions of Mindfulness & Meditation|
Buddhist cultures and communities have long known the positive and healing qualities and effects of mindfulness and meditation. Empirical and scientific inquiry into the efficaciousness of meditation is fairly recent. This course will explore and examine the increasing wealth of evidence around mindfulness and meditation and prepare students to deepen their understanding of the benefits of meditation beyond the spiritual and ethical dimensions. Increased knowledge and insight into the secular benefits of meditation will enable students with additional upaya (skillful means) to offer and share such practices with persons who may have other spiritual or religious orientations.
|Course ID||Title||Semester |
|CAP 900||Capstone Project|
The Capstone Project is offered in the student's final semester upon approval of the ICBM faculty. This course is an independent study course in which the student will devise an original project intended to integrate and synthesize their studies throughout the program. Projects are expected to demonstrate a student's achievement of ICBM competencies and outcomes in an applied ministerial context. Projects will be supervised by a faculty committee.