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The Institute of Buddhist Studies would like to thank all the panelists, participants, and guests who made the 2010 Buddhism Without Borders Conference such a wonderful success!

Overview | Conference Schedule | Paper Abstracts | Film Screening |

Buddhism without Borders: Contemporary Developments of Buddhism in the West

at the Institute of Buddhist Studies
Berkeley, California
March 18 - 21, 2010

Panel V: Living Buddhism: Community and Family, 2:00 - 5:00

Practical Ethics and Care for the Dying: Innovative American Buddhist Movements

Eve Mullen, Emory Univeristy

There are many Buddhist organizations and communities in America engaging in good work for terminally ill patients, prisoners on death row, and for grieving families and loved ones. On the local level, especially in urban centers where immigrant and transnational groups are populous and well-organized, religious and secular leaders are addressing the need for care from within a Buddhist perspective for their Buddhist-oriented communities. In addition, non-immigrant traditions of care are also employing Buddhism’s vast scriptural resources, views, and approaches to caring for the dying. While there are many such organizations, two contemporary Buddhist care institutions in the United States stand out for their pioneering originality and popularity: the San Francisco Living and Dying Project and the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care. Their approaches are described here as examples of the wide range of Buddhist end-of-life care. Author and teacher Sogyal Rinpoche is also acknowledged as a particularly influential force upon American Buddhist attitudes and approaches to care for the dying. Finally, the diversity of interpretations in end-of-life ethical considerations, exemplified partly in America today, is given attention via a fictional case and discussion.

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