Joan Halifax is a Buddhist teacher, Zen priest, anthropologist, and a pioneer in the field of end-of-life care. She is also founder, abbot, and head teacher of Upaya Institute and Zen Center, where she started the Upaya Prison Project, a program that develops meditation courses for prisoners.
Since working with psychiatrist Stanislav Grof and cancer patients in the 1970s, she has continued to work with dying people and their families and to teach health care professionals and family caregivers the psychosocial, ethical, and spiritual aspects of care for the dying. She has received a National Science Foundation Fellowship in visual anthropology and was an Honorary Research Fellow in medical ethnobotany at Harvard University as well as a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Library of Congress.
The director of the Project on Being with Dying, Joan is also a founder of the Nomads Clinic in Nepal and of both the Zen Peacemaker Order and Prajna Mountain Buddhist Order. Her books include The Human Encounter with Death (with Stanislav Grof), The Fruitful Darkness, Simplicity in the Complex, Being with Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Wisdom in the Presence of Death, and Seeing Inside.