Roshi Joan Halifax delivering the keynote speech at the World Fellowship of Buddhists 29th Annual Conference held at the Soto Zen Head Temple Soji-ji (Kanagawa, Japan November 9, 2018)

Making Society Whole

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Understanding the Interconnectedness of Personal and Social Suffering through Engaged Buddhism

Special Seminar with Roshi Joan Halifax

Founder of Upaya Zen Center Being With Dying Program

December 17, 2018

Kodo Kyodan Buddhist Fellowship



Organized by: International Buddhist Exchange Center (IBEC) of the Kodo Kyodan Buddhist Fellowship & Sophia University Grief Care Institute

Cooperating Groups: Tohoku University Department of Practical Religious Studies, Rinbutusken Institute for Engaged Buddhism, Japan Network of Engaged Buddhists (JNEB)

Fee: ¥1,000

Participation: Limited to 50 persons, registration necessary.

Contact: Jonathan Watts (IBEC)

Concept: In the last decade or so, we are seeing attempts by individuals priests, and sometimes collective associations, to get involved in some of the critical social problems in Japan today such as: suicide and mental illness, naturals disasters and the associated psychological trauma, the increasing numbers of elderly and dying, the increasing social gaps and poverty, and environmental degradation and nuclear incidents. In this way, small groups of priests are finding new roles in the public sector, filling in the gaps that business and government are no longer attentive to. However, there are still great challenges in integrating religious professionals into the public sector, such as:

1) religious professionals level of training in psycho-spiritual care,

2) religious professionals understanding of the structural problems of society that cause many of the psycho-spiritual problems of individuals,

3) developing common understandings and language between religious professionals and health care professionals to unify their common work.

This event will welcome Rev. Joan Halifax—medical anthropologist, Zen Buddhist teacher, board member of the Mind and Life Institute, and pioneer in the field of psycho-spiritual care and training in the United States. Rev. Halifax has extensive experience in working to bridge the gaps between the secular medical world and the religious professional world to create more comprehensive and holistic systems of care that extend beyond the patient and their families to the care of caregivers and the care of the institutions and larger society. We welcome her for an interactive event for sharing perspectives and asking questions in this mutual challenge to make our societies and world whole.

9:30 Welcome by Host: Rev. Masazumi Shojun Okano (President Kodo Kyodan)
9:35 Self-introductions by all participants
Confronting Psycho-Spiritual Suffering & Developing Professional Chaplaincy in Japan
through Understanding the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism
9:50 Exploration of Psycho-Spiritual Illness in Japan Today – 1st Noble Truth
10:30 Exploration of the Deeper Structural and Cultural Causes of Suffering in Society – 2nd Noble Truth
11:15 Break
11:30 Exploration of the Vision & Desired Outcomes of Professional Chaplaincy & Psycho-Spiritual Care – 3rd Noble Truth
12:15 Exploration of Practical Chaplaincy Training & Building Cooperative Networks – 4th Noble Truth
13:00 Bento Lunch will be available at the temple cafeteria (with prior reservation) and participants are welcome to linger into the afternoon for further informal discussion

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