“Zen practice is about relating to each other face to face, mind to mind, heart to heart…with nothing but clear, connecting space between us.” ~ Roshi Joan Halifax
Cultivating and deepening of this “connecting space between us” is the essence of Roshi Joan’s service to humanity … her core work and her life is dedicated to deepening compassion in the world through social action or Engaged Buddhism.
Her extensive work is broad and deep in the Western Buddhism landscape. Examples range from providing medical and humanitarian aid to isolated mountain communities in the remote regions of Nepal (Nomads Clinic) to training Clinicians in Compassionate Care of the Seriously Ill and Dying (Being With Dying). From training individuals in altruistic and compassionate service leading to social transformation (Buddhist Chaplaincy) to training in cultivating compassion based interactions (G.R.A.C.E.), and lot more … It’s a direct experience of the “roots” that tie all beings …
“The roots of all living things are tied together. Deep in the ground of being, they tangle and embrace. If we look deeply, we find that we do not have a separate self-identity, a self that does not include sun and wind, earth and water, creatures and plants, and one another.” ~ Roshi Joan Halifax
Indeed, this “deep looking” that dissolves any “separation” is practiced through various Upaya Zen Center programs such as helping create sustainable changes in prison residents’ behavior (Prison Outreach) or foster taking compassionate action (UCAN!).
And, her work also extends beyond Engaged Buddhism into the cutting-edge field of the intersection between Zen and Neuroscience (Zen Brain).
“The awakened Way is unsurpassable. Nothing is greater than awakening to the fact that you and I abide in ultimate closeness.” ~ Roshi Joan Halifax
1st Image: From Future Primitive (edited).
2nd Image: Roshi Joan, His Holiness the Dalai Lama by Joan Halifax, CC BY 2.0.