Known for her compassionate work with the terminally ill, Joan Halifax is a driving force of socially engaged Buddhism.
Activist, anthropologist, author, caregiver, ecologist, LSD researcher, teacher, and Zen Buddhism priest -- Joan Halifax is many things to many people. Yet they all seem to agree that no matter what role she plays, Halifax is consistently courageous and compassionate. Halifax runs the Upaya Zen Center in New Mexico, a Zen Peacemaker community she opened in 1990 after founding and leading the Ojai Foundation in California for ten years. Her practice focuses on socially engaged Buddhism, which aims to alleviate suffering through meditation, interfaith cooperation, and social service.
As director of the Project on Being With Dying, Halifax has helped caregivers cope with death and dying for more than three decades. Her book Being With Dying helps clergy, community activists, medical professionals, social workers and spiritual seekers remove fear from the end of life. Halifax is a distinguished invited scholar of the U.S. Library of Congress and the only woman and Buddhist on the Tony Blair Foundation’s Advisory Council.
“Compassion has enemies, and those enemies are things like pity, moral outrage, fear.”
“I believe that women and girls today have to partner in a powerful way with men — with their fathers, with their sons, with their brothers, with the plumbers, the road builders, the caregivers, the doctors, the lawyers, with our president and with all beings.”
“If compassion is so good for us, why don’t we train our health care providers in compassion so that they can do what they’re supposed to do, which is to transform suffering?”
“Many of us think that compassion drains us, but I promise you it is something that truly enlivens us.”
“Most of us are shrinking in the face of psycho-social and physical poisons, of the toxins of our world. But compassion, the generation of compassion, actually mobilizes our immunity.”