Dying ‘Buddhish’ in Australia

Investigating the role of Buddhist contemplative practices in end-of-life and death care 


Buddhism plays an important role in 21st century global culture, with Buddhist-inspired contemplative practices and teachings influencing a new ‘way of life’, not just for coverts, but also broader society. However, Buddhism equally shapes our ‘way of death’. From mindfulness tools aimed at confronting terminal diagnoses and supporting hospice staff, to incense and chanting at otherwise secular funerals, Dying ‘Buddhish’ in Australia examines the current influence and future potential of Buddhist contemplative practice in mainstream end-of-life and death care. This project will generates new insights for scholarship and translate outcomes for community and state stakeholders, to create and deepen partnerships between Buddhist end-of-life practitioners and healthcare services.

University of Melbourne contributors:

  • Dr Hannah Gould, Research Associate, School of Social and Political Sciences, Faculty of Arts
  • Dr David Marco, Honorary Fellow, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences

External collaborators:

  • Dr Anna Halafoff,  Associate Professor in Sociology, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Deakin University
  • Ms Deb Rawlings, Senior Lecturer, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University
Dr Hannah Gould

Project lead | Dr Hannah Gould

Dr Hannah Gould is a cultural anthropologist working the areas of death, religion (Buddhism) and material culture. Her research is focused processes of disposal and divestment, in regard to both the human dead and material artefacts. Dr Gould currently holds the Melbourne Postdoctoral Fellowship for the Faculty of Arts.  Dr Gould holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Melbourne and a MSc Visual, Material and Museum Anthropology from Oxford University. She is currently President of the Australian Death Studies Society and a member of the DeathTech Research Team at the University of Melbourne.


Dr Gould’s research has been published in high-ranking journals in anthropology, Buddhism, and death studies. As a leading public commentator on death and dying, she has shared her research with ABC, Radio National, BBC, Studio 10, The Guardian and BBC World Service.