Workshop: Being with Death and Dying

With Geshe Chongtul Rinpoche, Joan Halifax Roshi, PhD, Tempa Dukte Lama and Susan Hunt, MD

March 4-7, 2010 in Pittsburgh, PA

Institute to Enhance Palliative Care, University of Pittsburgh
School of Social Work, University of Pittsburgh
C.G. Jung Institute of Pittsburgh

CE credits available for social workers and psychologists.

About the Workshop

For thousands of years, the Tibetan spiritual traditions have cultivated practices to offer spiritual support to the dying and to prepare for a peaceful and conscious death. This workshop and training program brings together Tibetan lamas Geshe Chongtul Rinpoche and Tempa Dukte Lama, Zen priest and medical anthropologist Roshi Joan Halifax, PhD., and guest speaker Susan Hunt, MD.

The workshop faculty will present compassionate care from a spiritual perspective and teach practices to support the dying and to prepare for a peaceful and conscious death. The Bon Buddhist teachings on death and dying invite us to explore the meaning of death in our lives and to develop the strength to keep our heart and mind free from fear and judgment.

The workshop is for all who would like to look deeply into the meaning of death and dying within the framework of a spiritual path. It is suited for medical professionals, psychologists, counselors, and social workers working with dying and illness and those who are ill.

Workshop Schedule

Thur., Mar. 4, 7:00 – 9:00 PM, Opening Talk with Roshi Joan Halifax PhD : open to all, no registration necessary.
Fri., Mar. 5: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (break: 12:30 – 2:00 PM)
Sat., Mar. 6: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (break: 12:30 – 2:00 PM)
Sun., Mar. 7: 9:30 AM – 1:00 PM


Workshop Venue:

Baker Hall and Porter Hall are connected buildings on the Carnegie Mellon University Campus. Enter from Frew Street (across from Schenley Park).

The main CMU parking garage is accessible via Forbes Ave. For directions to CMU and further information about parking:

Opening Talk: Gregg Hall (Porter Hall 100), see green dot on map.
Workshop: Adamson Wing Baker Hall 136A, see red dot on map.

See also larger map at the bottom of this page.

Educational Objectives

This workshop is the first in a series of workshops to be continued over the next few years. At the conclusion of this year’s program, participants will be able to:

  • Articulate a program offering psychological and spiritual care for the dying.
  • Describe specific techniques to develop skillfulness and inner stability as a caregiver guided by wisdom and compassion.
  • Describe specific techniques to direct this compassion toward the dying person and oneself.
  • Articulate specific prayers and spiritual/psychological practices that can support the dying during the process of dying and the moment of death.
  • Select appropriate spiritual/psychological practices to help the dying with attachments that are part of the death experience.
  • Integrate spiritual practices with the Western medical perspective.
  • Articulate basic principles of palliative medicine and hospice care.
  • Address spiritual needs of loved ones while interacting with physicians around the particular issues of advanced directives and designated surrogacy.

Continuing Education Credits for Psychologists and Social Workers

The C.G. Jung Institute of Pittsburgh is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education (CE) credits for psychologists. The C.G. Jung Institute maintains responsibility for the program and its content. Psychologists can receive 17 CE credits for full participation.

This program is offered for 17 hours of social work continuing education through co-sponsorship of the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work, a Council on Social Work Education-accredited school and, therefore, a PA pre-approved provider of social continuing education. These credit hours satisfy requirements for LSW/LCSW, LPC, and LMFT biennial license renewal.

Registration and Costs

The Opening Talk with Roshi Joan Halifax, PhD is open to all, no registration is necessary. We ask for a donation of $12.

Workshop registration deadline: Monday Feb 15. Registrations after Feb 15 will be accepted space permitting.
Update (March 1): We have a few spaces left – prompt registration necessary.

Program Costs through Feb. 15: $200 without CE credits, $250 with CE credits.
Olmo Ling members: $180 without CE credits, $225 with CE credits.
Program Costs after Feb. 15: $225 without CE credits, $275 with CE credits.
Olmo Ling members: $200 without CE credits, $250 with CE credits.
Students: $190

Register online without requesting CE credits

Register online and request CE credits for psychologists

Register online and request CE credits for social workers

To benefit from the membership or student discount, please pay by check or call us to pay by credit card.


Workshop Faculty

Geshe Chongtul Rinpoche is the founder and director of Bon Shen Ling—a nonprofit dedicated to preserving and sharing the ancient teachings of the Tibetan Bon tradition—as well as several Bon Centers in the US, Europe, and Asia. He is also the founder of the Bon Children’s Welfare Trust in India and served as its first president.

Rinpoche is a fully ordained celibate monk and one of the highest teachers of the Tibetan Bon tradition. He is the reincarnation of Tog Den Won Po Sherab Tenpai Gyaltsen, one of the main teachers of His Holiness Menri Trizin Rinpoche, the spiritual head of the Bon tradition. Rinpoche has received the entirety of teachings of the Bon tradition. He holds a Geshe degree (doctor of philosophy) from Menri Monastery, India, where he studied from the age of seven, and he now serves as one of the main teachers in the graduate Bon Dialectic School. This includes the three teaching vehicles of Sutra, Tantra and Dzogchen, and within these three vehicles a range of contemplative practices related to meditation, healing, the dying process, and other topics. He has taught extensively in retreat centers, universities, and monasteries across the US, Europe, and Asia on topics including contemplative healing practice, practices to support the dying, and meditation.


Tempa Dukte Lama is the founder and spiritual director of Olmo Ling Bon Center in Pittsburgh, PA. He regularly teaches contemplative healing practice and other core Bon practices, being with dying, the stages of meditation, and living a spiritual path informed by compassion.

Tempa Lama studied in Menri Monastery, India from the age of six under the direction of H.H. Menri Trizin Rinpoche, the spiritual head of the Bon tradition. He came to the US in 2000 upon the invitation of Roshi Joan Halifax to support the Program on Being with Dying at Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. At Olmo Ling Center, Tempa Lama is working to make the ancient Bon teachings available and accessible through workshops and retreats, a weekly meditation program, compassionate outreach, and educational programs geared toward the needs of psychologists and medical professionals in the areas of healing, compassionate care, and spiritual support for the dying. He has taught and co-taught at a variety of Buddhist centers and institutes of higher learning including Olmo Ling Center, Upaya Center, the Omega Instite, the California Institute of Integral Studies, the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, the Bodhicharya Hospice in Berlin (Germany) and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.


Joan Halifax Roshi, PhD is a Buddhist teacher, Zen priest, anthropologist, and author. She is Founder, Abbot, and Head Teacher of Upaya Zen Center, a Buddhist monastery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A Founding Teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Order, her work and practice for more than three decades has focused on engaged Buddhism. She has worked in the area of death and dying for over thirty years and is Director of the Project on Being with Dying. For the past twenty-five years, she has been active in environmental work. She is Founder and Director of the Upaya Prison Project that develops programs on meditation for prisoners.

Roshi Joan has 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. She is founder of the Ojai Foundation, was an Honorary Research Fellow at Harvard University, and has taught in many universities, monasteries, and medical centers around the world. Roshi Joan is the author of several books including Being with Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Fearlessness in the Presence of Death.


Susan Hunt, MD. is a clinician-educator and general internist. She founded the University of Pittsburgh’s HIV Center, maintains an internal medicine practice, and is well known for excellence in HIV-related care and in internal medicine. Dr. Hunt is currently a Professor of Medicine; the Medical Director of the Ursuline Sisters HIV/AIDS Ministry in Youngstown, Ohio; and the Medical Director of Family Hospice and Palliative Care.

In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Hunt teaches Palliative Care and Medical Ethics. She is a member of the Executive Committee of the Medical Staff of UPMC Presbyterian Hospital and has been recognized for her leadership in health care in Pittsburgh. Dr. Hunt was named to the Pennsylvania Honor Roll of Women and is a fellow of the American College of Physicians.


Red dot: Adamson Wing /Baker Hall 136A (Workshop).

Green dot: Gregg Hall / Porter 100 (Public Opening Talk).