Our service began in 1992 through Venerable Pende Hawter, a Buddhist monk who saw a need in Brisbane for comfort and guidance for people facing loss of life.
With the help of a small team of like-minded health care professionals he established a not-for-profit home hospice service offering information and holistic care.
He called the service “Karuna”, a word which means Compassion.
His vision was to enable people with incurable illness to live in comfort and peace in the familiar and reassuring surrounds of their own home.
Venerable Pende retired in 1997 and Venerable Yeshe Khadro – a Buddhist nun from the Sunshine Coast – was appointed as Director.
Today the original vision continues through two core service streams – Karuna Home & Community Palliative Care, a no-fee nursing and counselling service and Karuna Care of the Mind support, learning programs and resources, available to help people live a happier life and to support them in coping with uncertainty about the future and making sense of life’s challenges.
Karuna’s staff and volunteers come from diverse faiths and spiritual traditions but we are united in our values: to serve others with compassion and kindness, to be a trusted place of refuge and knowledge and to empower by building courage and confidence.
Backed by a modern business structure, our nurses, counsellors, educators and volunteers provide much demanded services to thousands of people in any given year.
Gently underpinning our work, our spiritual foundation derives from Tibetan Buddhism, specifically the teachings and practices of Lama Thubten Yeshe (1935-1983) and Lama Zopa Rinpoche of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT). Karuna today is one of 200 global FPMT service and teaching organisations.
In serving the community we aim to follow the inspirational ideals and examples set by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, whose own lifelong mission is to serve others with universal compassion and kindness. We are grateful that in 2007, His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited Karuna and accepted our request to be Karuna’s Spiritual Patron.
Today our vision for the future is to grow our service so that the many people who seek our support may have it. Our aim is that through care and education we will help people live a rich and meaningful life and be better prepared for the choices they need to make in relation to the end.