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Buddhism has made its way into American popular culture, particularly within the arena of death and dying. The growing influence of Buddhism on the American way of dying has been fostered through its connection with the American hospice movement. This paper describes the developing contact between Buddhism and hospice and documents the efforts of several prominent Buddhist organizations to revolutionize American death practices. The Buddhist approach to death has captured the interest of an American public attracted to its nonsectarian language of spirituality and pragmatic techniques for dealing with death.
In this interpretive study, the authors explore the experience of mindfulness among hospice caregivers who regularly practice mindfulness meditation at a Zen hospice. They explore meditative awareness constituted within themes of meditation-in-action, abiding in liminal spaces, seeing differently, and resting in groundlessness. By opening into nonconceptual, paradoxical, and uncertain dimensions of experience, hospice caregivers cultivate internal and external environments in which direct experience is increasingly held without judgment. This inquiry points to in-between spaces of human experience wherein mindfulness fosters openness and supports letting go, and creating spaces for whatever is happening in attending the living-and-dying process.