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BFFE - Joan Halifax: A Sense of Urgency

Joan Jiko Halifax (1942) is an American Zen Buddhist teacher, anthropologist, human rights activist, author and terminal care worker. She is a driving force of socially engaged Buddhism in the world. Besides running the Upaya Zen Center in New Mexico, a community she opened in 1990, she spent more than forty years working with the dying, helping them through the final phase.

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Joan started out an inward journey when she was struck by a temporary blindness when she was four years old. The illness isolated her for two years from the visible world, but it opened a way to her inner self. Metaphoric travels intertwine with real ones throughout her life. Travelling through the Sahara as a young anthropologist changed her life as much as being with traumatised dying people.She studied with key figures such as Thich Nhat Hahn, Zen master San Su Nim and Bernie Glassman and was ordained in 1997 in the Zen Peacemaker Order. She often speaks out for a female phase of Buddhism. Her work on death row in maximum security prisons coincides with Joan's sense of urgency.Q&A with director Pat van Boeckel(Source: BFFE)


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