Joan Halifax Roshi



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Fast Facts
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Other Names and Nicknames: 
Joan Halifax
Function: 
Spiritual Teacher
Traditions: 
Zen Buddhism
Main Countries of Activity: 
USA
Date of Birth: 
1942
Place of Birth: 
Hanover, USA
In His/Her Body ("alive"): 
Yes
Other Related Gurus: 
Bernard Glassman Roshi

Biography

Joan Jiko Halifax is a Zen Buddhist roshi, anthropologist, ecologist, civil rights activist, hospice caregiver, and the author of several books on Buddhism and spirituality.

She currently serves as abbot and guiding teacher of Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a Zen Peacemaker community which she founded in 1990.

Halifax Roshi has received Dharma transmission from both Bernard Glassman and Thich Nhat Hanh, and previously studied under the Korean master Seung Sahn.

In the 1970s she collaborated on LSD research projects with her ex-husband Stanislav Grof, in addition to other collaborative efforts with Joseph Campbell and Alan Lomax.

She is the founder of the Ojai Foundation in California, which she led from 1979 to 1989.

As a socially-engaged Buddhist, Halifax has done extensive work with the dying through her Project on Being with Dying (which she founded). She is on the board of directors of the Mind and Life Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated in exploring the relationship of science and Buddhism.

Teachings

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Books & Media

Recommended Books: 
Cover image

The Fruitful Darkness: A Journey Through Buddhist Practice and Tribal Wisdom

by Joan Halifax

(Paperback)

In this “masterwork of an authentic spirit person” (Thomas Berry), Buddhist teacher and anthropologist Joan Halifax Roshi delves into “the fruitful darkness”—the shadow side of being, found in the root truths of Native religions, the fecundity of nature, and the stillness of meditation. In this highly personal and insightful odyssey of the heart and mind, she encounters Tibetan Buddhist meditators, Mexican shamans, and Native American elders, among others. In rapt prose, she recounts her explorations—from Japanese Zen meditation to hallucinogenic plants, from the Dogon people of Mali to the Mayan rain forest, all the while creating "an adventure of the spirit and a feast of wisdom old and new” (Peter Matthiessen). Halifax believes that deep ecology (which attempts to fuse environmental awareness with spiritual values) works in tandem with Buddhism and shamanism to discover “the interconnectedness of all life,” and to regain life’s sacredness. Grove Press is proud to reissue this important work by one of Buddhism’s leading contemporary teachers.