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Today’s conversation is with Roshi Joan Halifax.
You might know of Roshi from her work in the Buddhist community. She’s a Zen Buddhist teacher at the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe. But she’s also an anthropologist, she’s an ecologist, a civil rights activist, a hospice caregiver and an author. Her most recent book is Standing at the Edge: Finding Freedom Where Fear and Courage Meet. Roshi practices what’s called socially engaged Buddhism. She’s very involved with protecting the rights of others and empowering people. What she’s come to realize is that those living a virtuous life may find a shadow side to what they do. What she means is that even when doing good work, we can go too far, ultimately harming either ourselves or the person or people we’re trying to help. In this conversation, she explains exactly what she means by that. In short, she encourages us to find balance. And this is exactly what her new book entails – how we can see the big picture, how we can have compassion but still stay in balance.
It seems to me her book couldn’t have come out at a better time. A time when so many of us are experiencing outrage and despair over what’s going on in the world but we want to be helpful and try to make things better. And as you’ll hear, I personally found some wisdom and comfort in her words and suggestions for how to deal with our current situation.
Roshi and I met through a mutual friend, Angel Murdock (whom she refers to in this episode). You can go back and listen to my conversation with Angel on episode 38 to get a bit of background on her work.
Connect with Roshi Joan Halifax:
Other items/people mentioned:
Standing at the Edge (Roshi's book) Thich Nhat Hanh Zen Buddhism (Wiki) Theravada Buddhism (Wiki) Vajrayana Buddhism (Wiki) Sharon Salzberg Jack Kornfield Insight Meditation Society Roxanne Swentzell Fyodor Dostoevsky Vaclav Havel Barbara Kingsolver
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Be Bold, Beth