Waylon talks with leading Zen Buddhist teacher Joan Halifax on working with loss and grief and impermanence, “mindfulness” as an ethics-lite pill to help with stress or fear for corporate America, Silicon Valley and Wall St., equality and women in Buddhism, and right view or motivation as the single most important thing.
Mindfulness meditation gets used by the military, Silicon Valley, and Wall St. to do their jobs better. Lost in the shuffle, perhaps, is ethics: the Buddhist path of being of benefit. Also in this discussion: sexism and women in Buddhism, and dealing with grief and loss of a loved one.
Elephant is psyched to be working in partnership with Google+ on our new live video series, which features three live videos a week (that can be watched later, too).
About a year ago, Waylon and Joan talked about how to balance inner work and outer social activism:
Roshi Joan Halifax, Ph.D., is a Buddhist teacher, Zen priest, anthropologist, and pioneer in the field of end-of-life care. She is well known for her work in engaged Buddhism. She is Founder, Abbot, and Head Teacher of Upaya Institute and Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She received her Ph.D. in medical anthropology in 1973. She has lectured on the subject of death and dying at Harvard Divinity School, Harvard Medical School, Georgetown Medical School, University of Virginia Medical School, Duke University Medical School, University of Connecticut Medical School, among many other academic institutions and medical schools. She received a National Science Foundation Fellowship in Visual Anthropology, was an Honorary Research Fellow in Medical Ethnobotany at Harvard University, and was a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Library of Congress. She also founded the Ojai Foundation, the Nomads Clinic, the Project on Being with Dying, and the Upaya Prison Project.
From 1972-1975, Roshi Joan worked with psychiatrist Stanislav Grof at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center with dying cancer patients. She has continued to work with dying people and their families, and teaches health care professionals and family caregivers the psycho-social, ethical and spiritual aspects of care of the dying. For decades, she has been active in environmental work. She 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 Thich Nhat Hanh, and was given Inka by Roshi Bernie Glassman.
A Founding Teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Order, Roshi Joan’s work and practice for more than four decades has focused on applied and engaged Buddhism. Her books include: The Human Encounter with Death (with Stanislav Grof); The Fruitful Darkness; Simplicity in the Complex: A Buddhist Life in America; Being with Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Wisdom in the Presence of Death; Seeing Inside; Lone Mallard; and various other books. She is a Lindisfarne Fellow and co-director of the Fellowship as well as a Mind and Life board member and Fellow.
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Editor: Rachel Nussbaum
Photos: Joan Halifax