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Register for Cortona Pearls 2021


We will begin the fourth Cortona Pearl on the 29th of May at 5 pm (Central European Time).

Register here for attending Pearl IV with Joan Halifax

Altars in the Street: Compassion in Action

Spirituality and Political Activism

Roshi Joan Halifax, Ph.D., 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 Ph.D. in medical anthropology in 1973 and has lectured on the subject of death and dying at many academic institutions and medical centers around the world. 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 of the Upaya Prison Project that develops programs on meditation for prisoners. She is also founder of the Nomads Clinic in Nepal.

She studied for a decade with Zen Teacher Seung Sahn and was a teacher in the Kwan Um Zen School. She received the Lamp Transmission from Thich Nhat Hanh, and was given Inka by Roshi Bernie Glassman.

A Founding Teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Order and founder of Prajna Mountain Buddhist Order, her work and practice for more than four decades has focused on engaged Buddhism. Her books include: The Human Encounter with Death (with Stanislav Grof); The Fruitful Darkness, A Journey Through Buddhist PracticeSimplicity in the ComplexA Buddhist Life in AmericaBeing with Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Wisdom in the Presence of Death; and Standing at the Edge: Finding Freedom Where Fear and Courage Meet which was released on May 1, 2018.

Talk Title and Abstract:
ALTARS IN THE STREETS: Compassion in Action

In this talk, Joan Halifax Roshi will explore with us a spirituality that is brought from the monastery to the world. Through work in the prison system and with dying people, social and political activism, and a commitment to environmental responsibility, she will look at three aspects of spirituality: a spirituality of social action, a spirituality of service, and a spirituality of conscience an d conscientiousness. These three aspects are seen as one from the perspective in Zen Buddhism where mutuality is the base of our relationship with the world. There will be time for questions and

Joan will be introduced by Naveen Shamsudhin, lecturer at ETH Zurich, Switzerland and founder of Humane Warriors.


Cortona Week in Todi is an initiative of CortonaFriends Association, funded by its community through conference fees, and few sponsors to whom goes all our gratitude.

Do you want to be part of our supporting community and help us in:

         keeping the high standards the event has held for the past 30 years,
         allowing students participation at a reduced conference fee,
         supporting our speakers and workshop leaders,

Help us keeping the flame alive!

We greatly appreciate your donations,

If you would like to donate the total cost of a student to support a student to participate,

grant – 1000€

You can also donate by bank transfer using the data below, then please inform Adelina by email at adelina@cortonafriends.org

Bank Name: Monte dei Paschi di Siena
Bank Account Name: APS Cortona Friends
IBAN:IT 33 N 01030 03202 000002274156