What experiences introduced you to an awareness of your own inner world? How does cultivation of your inner awareness allow you to "step forward and greet" life in all its fullness, joy, suffering, and complexity? Share Reflection
"Creation is moving toward us; life is moving toward us all the time. We back away, but it keeps pushing toward us. Why not step forward and greet it?" -Rev. Roshi Joan Halifax
In a catastrophe-turned-blessing, Joan Halifax discovered her rich inner world at four years of age when she contracted a virus that left her legally blind for two years. Today, as a Zen Buddhist teacher, anthropologist, ecologist, social justice activist, and hospice caregiver, she demonstrates a deep capacity to hold societal challenges and catastrophes for the blessing of our collective inner as well as outer development and conscious evolution.
Born in 1942 in New Hampshire, Joan started out as a scientist in the field of medical anthropology and psychology. During her university years, she became drawn into participating in the US civil rights movement and in anti-war protests in the 1960s. She was first introduced to Buddhism and meditation when she worked at the Universities of Miami and Columbia, and was instrumental in developing the dialogue between science and Buddhism.
Joan is the founder and abbot of the Upaya Zen Center, a place she calls a "refuge of practice, learning and service for our complicated and fraught world". Upaya is a culturally diverse place, where meditation and compassion meet to reduce suffering and celebrate the gift of life.
Realizing early on how much misery is rooted in the fear of death, Joan set an intention to be present for people going through the death and dying process. She became a pioneer in the field of end-of-life care and works in other areas where hope is scarce. She has served as a hospice caregiver and Buddhist teacher in conventional medical centers and other clinics in remote areas, such as the Himalayas, where she has worked with death row inmates and refugees. Joan`s work with dying people and their relatives as well as her efforts as a social and environmental activist have been recognized and awarded internationally.
She is now present as we face collective fears of extinction and death of our social systems, our planetary ecologies, and our very notions of humanity in an age of machines. She is an artist, a prominent author of many books, a teacher, an abbot, and founder of the Nomad`s Clinic in Nepal. Most of all, though, Joan is living her Buddhist vision with everything she does. Apathy is not an enlightened path, she says. Instead, she advocates engaged Buddhism, social activism and, most of all, compassion as responses to the multifaceted crises we are confronted with today.Join us for an inspiring conversation with this renowned Buddhist teacher, compassionate caregiver, and social activist.
i truly enjoy teaching. it is a path
when i began to sit with dying people
watching clinicians in upaya's nomads clinic take care of patients in high altitude villages
i do not have one