December 2001 – February 2002
Roshi Joan Halifax, Ph.D., is an anthropologist, and a Soto Priest in the Zen tradition. In her work
with the dying and with prisoners, etc., what inspires her most is the incredible strength of the human spirit. She is based in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
My work with the dying began for me through my grandmother, who was someone very comfortable with death. A Southern woman, she was very much an inspiration to her own community in terms of her strength and naturally took care of people who were really sick. As she died in quite difficult circumstances, I vowed to make a difference in terms of how people die.
I became an anthropologist and worked in medical anthropology in a medical school. I saw that dying people were very marginalized, which was extremely distressing for me, realizing that everrybody was going to die, but that death was something not accepted in our culture….death and dying, socially engaged buddhism