Roshi Joan Halifax, PhD., is a Buddhist teacher, Zen priest, anthropologist, and pioneer in the field of end-of-life care. She is founder, Abbot, and Head Teacher of Upaya Institute and Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
She received her PhD in medical anthropology in 1973. 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. From 1972-1975, she 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 to teach health care professionals and family caregivers the psycho-social, ethical and spiritual aspects of care of the dying.
She is Director of the Project on Being with Dying, and Founder and Director of the Upaya Prison Project that has developed programs on meditation for prisoners. She studied with Zen Teacher Seung Sahn, received the Lamp Transmission from Thich Nhat Hanh, and was given Inka by Roshi Bernie Glassman. A Founding Teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Order, her work and practice for more than four decades has focused on engaged Buddhism.
Her books include: Standing at the Edge: Finding Freedom Where Fear and Courage Meet, 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; and Being with Dying: Compassionate End-of-Life Care (Professional Training Guide).