Judy Lief is a Buddhist teacher who trained under the Tibetan meditation master Ven. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. She has been a teacher and practitioner for over 35 years, and continues to teach throughout the world. Ms. Lief was a close student of Ven. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who trained and empowered her as a teacher in the Buddhist and Shambhala traditions.
Ms. Lief is an author and editor of numerous books on Buddhist meditation and psychology including Making Friends with Death: A Buddhist Guide to Encountering Mortality. Her articles have appeared in The Shambhala Sun, Tricycle, O Magazine, Buddhadharma, and The Naropa Journal of Contemplative Psychotherapy.
Ms. Lief is the editor of the extensive three-volume set, The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma, which gives a penetrating overview of the three-yana journey from beginning to end. These texts are the basis for the Profound Treasury Retreat. With this extensive background, Ms. Lief has a uniquely deep and intimate knowledge of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s teachings. She brings her gifts to Profound Treasury Retreat students with her special way of making the teachings accessible, understandable and actionable and speaks in a manner that both newer and very seasoned practitioners relate to.
Facing Mortality and Caring for the Dying
Judy has been presenting classes and workshops on a contemplative approach to death and dying, and on the teachings of The Tibetan Book of the Dead, since 1976. She had the privilege of working with Florence Wald, a founding mother of the Hospice movement in the United States and former head of the Yale School of Nursing, on several conferences, workshops, and dialogues examining the role of spirituality in the care of the sick and dying. Ms. Lief was a keynote speaker at the 10th International Palliative Care Conference, held in Montreal in 1994, and more recently lead a workshop at the 2012 conference. In 2000-2001 Ms Lief served as pastoral counselor for the Maitri Day Health Center (an adult day health center for people with AIDS) in Yonkers, NY.
Judy was an active member and chair of the Vermont based organization, the Madison-Deane Initiative, which produced the award winning documentary, Pioneers of Hospice, and has the mission of changing the face of dying through education and advocacy. She served on the board and was a member of the faculty of the Clinical Pastoral Education program at the Fletcher Allen Hospital in Burlington, Vermont.
Ms. Lief offers workshops and retreats on the contemplative care of the dying for pastoral counselors, hospice workers, care givers, and medical personnel .
Dealing with Cancer
Judy is a founding faculty member of the Courageous Women, Fearless Living Cancer Retreat, held annually at the Shambhala Mountain Center. This retreat empowers women dealing with cancer through meditation and yoga, community, art, movement, and practical information from the integrative medicine perspective.
Judy leads pilgrimages to India, Tibet, and Bhutan under the auspices of Authentic Asia.
Peace and Justice
Judy is a founding member of The Contemplative Alliance, an affiliate of the Global Peace Initiative of Women. This organization brings together contemplatives and activists from many traditions who seek to apply contemplative understanding to pressing global issues.
Education. From 1968-1972, Judy did graduate study, completing all but the dissertation at Columbia University in Sociology and Asian Studies. While there, she engaged in research at the Bureau of Applied Social Research and the South Asian Institute. Prior to Columbia she spend as years as a Fulbright Scholar in Lucknow, India. She graduated summa cum laude from Luther College in 1967.
Buddhism. Judy became a Buddhist practitioner in 1972, when she met her teacher Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. She became a close student and studied with him until his death in 1987. She served under him as as executive editor of Vajradhatu Publications, and from 1980-1985, as the Dean of Naropa University, in Boulder Colorado. She was on the staff of the Maitri Therapeutic Community and also worked closely with Trungpa Rinpoche as the Head of Study and Practice at several of his advanced three-month training programs, called Vajradhatu Seminaries.
Family. Judy currently lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband and their dog Loki. Her two daughters, Jessica and Deborah, son-in-law Frazier, and Judy and Chuck’s three grandchildren, Niamaya, Neruda, and Kaizer live nearby.