By nature, death has always lurked over life’s shoulder. But, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, its presence has felt ever more pronounced and ever more terrifying. To Roshi Joan Halifax, Ph.D, there is a way we can navigate the complex emotions around us (and our own) with grace and allow lessons from Buddhism to help us along the way.
We are pleased to welcome Roshi Joan, Buddhist teacher, anthropologist, and founder of the Upaya Institute and Zen Center in Santa Fe, NM to season four of C.A.F.E. 229. Streaming in from New Mexico, she will join series host Dr. Joanne Chang in New York City to discuss her pioneering work in end-of-life care, the role Buddhism and the Dharma plays in training compassionate chaplains, and the upbringing shaped her incredible journey.
Relevant for caregivers, those working in end-of-life or palliative care, or anyone who wishes to support others facing the end of their lives, this is a conversation you won’t want to miss.
Roshi Joan Halifax, Ph.D., is a Buddhist teacher, Zen priest, anthropologist, and pioneer in the field of end-of-life care. She is the founder, Abbot, and head teacher of the Upaya Institute and Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Roshi Joan received her Ph.D. in medical anthropology in 1973 and has lectured on the subject of death and dying at many academic institutions and medical centers around the world.
From 1972-1975, she worked with psychiatrist Stanislav Grof at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center with dying cancer patients. Roshi Joan has continued to work with dying people and their families, and to teach health care professionals and family caregivers the psycho-social, ethical and spiritual aspects of care of the dying. She is director of the project Being With Dying and is founder of the Upaya Prison Project that develops programs on meditation for prisoners. Roshi Joan is also founder of the Nomads Clinic in Nepal.
She is a recipient of the National Science Foundation Fellowship in Visual Anthropology, named an Honorary Research Fellow in Medical Ethnobotany at Harvard University, and has been a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Library of Congress. Roshi Joan studied for a decade with Zen Teacher Seung Sahn and was a teacher in the Kwan Um Zen School. She received the Lamp Transmission from the late Thich Nhat Hanh, and was given Inka by Roshi Bernie Glassman.
Furthermore, as a founding teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Order and founder of Prajna Mountain Buddhist Order, her work and practice for more than four decades has focused on socially engaged Buddhism. Her books include: The Human Encounter with Death (with Stanislav Grof); The Fruitful Darkness, A Journey Through Buddhist Practice; Simplicity in the Complex: A Buddhist Life in America; Being with Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Wisdom in the Presence of Death; and Standing at the Edge: Finding Freedom Where Fear and Courage Meet, which was released on May 1, 2018.
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