Compassion and Presence: Spiritual Care for the Living and Dying

I am very excited at the news that Ireland’s first International Spiritual Care Conference is taking place on the 27 and 28 April 2009 at the Europe Hotel in Killarney.

The conference is titled Compassion and Presence: Spiritual Care for
the Living and Dying.  Reading through the list of speakers, there is a terrific line-up of leading international and Irish experts from the fields of medicine, science, psychology and pastoral care. I am particularly looking forward to seeing Jon Kabat-Zinn, whose ground-breaking work on mindfulness based stress reduction I was introduced to while undergoing  treatment for breast cancer.

This will be a multidisciplinary gathering, which will draw upon scientific evidence, offer practical tools and techniques, and embrace a diversity of beliefs and cultural backgrounds. The conference is primarily aimed at health care professionals and attendees will hear evidence based research and expertise from the fields of medicine, science, psychology and pastoral care and learn about the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation in mainstream medicine, psychiatry and health care.

Another higlight of the conference will be an evening talk, open to the public by Sogyal Rinpoche , author of the highly acclaimed ground-breaking book, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. He is also the founder and spiritual director of Rigpa, an international network of Buddhist centres and groups. The talk will take place 7.30pm on Sunday 26th April 2009 at the conference venue, the Europe Hotel, Killarney and is entitled “Finding peace and tranquility in a troubled world”.

The conference is being organised by Rigpa’s Spiritual Care Education Programme; the aim of the which is to show the practical ways in which the wisdom and compassion of the Buddhist teachings can be of benefit to those facing illness or death, and to their families and care givers. Their programme  provides a framework for care givers to explore the spiritual dimension of death and care for the dying and life and care for the living in any care giving setting. 

You can find more information on the conference website here: