Sexism, Mindfulness, Ethics, Grief & Buddhism: Waylon talks with Joan Halifax Roshi.

Via Walk The Talk Show
on Mar 14, 2014
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Photo: Rachel Nussbaum

Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis.

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:

joan halifax

Joan Halifax 

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.

Joan Halifax quote



The Only Way to Save the World.



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Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

Photos: Joan Halifax


About Walk The Talk Show

Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis is fun, yet fundamentally serious. We aim to be "The Daily Show of mindfulness," spreading the good news beyond the choir to those who weren't sure they gave a care. Our videos are featured on more than 20 sites, including Fan us on facebook too.


One Response to “Sexism, Mindfulness, Ethics, Grief & Buddhism: Waylon talks with Joan Halifax Roshi.”

  1. Linda V. Lewis says:

    2 great videos. The first one really highlights the fact that Buddha's step-mother/aunt actually had to ask Buddha 3x before he "caved" and accepted women into the monastic order.Yet this was revolutionary for the time–2600 years ago! And Buddha accepted untouchables which was shocking to the greater Hindu culture. Yet things have somewhat frozen and nuns are not the equal of monks to this day, with more vinaya rules, etc.
    Also, it was very important for me to see a feminine rinpoche, Jetsun Kushula, sit on a throne at Karme Choling,teach, and give an abhisheka in the late 80's or early 90's. There are many rinpoches teaching in the West, but she and Khandro Rinpoche are 2 of many male Tibetan buddhist teachers.
    But as Roshi Joan says, Western psychology, democracy, and feminism continues to raise questions and gradually seems to be un-freezing the ancient societal models. The downside is the tendency to take the dharma as mere stress reduction and "self-improvement" or as Joan says, use meditation for self-centered motivation only.
    These interviews were very provocative and relevant. Thanks!