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A photograph of Joan Halifax.

If compassion is so good for us, why don’t we train our health care providers in compassion so that they can do what they’re supposed to do, which is to transform suffering?

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This quote by Buddhist roshi Joan Halifax is from her 2010 TED Talk on the lessons she learned about empathy, or compassion, by working with the terminally ill. Says Halifax, compassion is to realize we are not separate from people who are suffering, and to engage in activities that transform this suffering, without being attached to the outcome. This particular quote means that given the fact that compassion is so beneficial both to the person who practices it and the person who receives it (she also gives data supporting this assertion), health care providers such as doctors and nurses should be educated in how to empathize with patients.

Watch the full TED Talk here: Joan Halifax – Compassion and the True Meaning of Empathy

“Compassion and the True Meaning of Empathy.” TEDWomen 2010. Dec. 2010. Conference Presentation.

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