BARRY KERZIN, MD, AKA Tenzin Choerab

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    Had a great talk with Dr. Barry Kerzin today at the FCCJ. He's a Western-trained doctor who has been in India for 22 years and is the Dalai Lama's physician. It was great, because he wasn't afraid to answer my questions about Western medicine vs. Tibetan traditional medicine.

    BARRY KERZIN, MD (AKA Tenzin Choerab)

    One Man's Journey

    Barry Kerzin received his BA in philosophy at UC
    Berkeley amidst an anti-war culture. He then trained
    in medicine at USC and completed a residency in Family
    Medicine at the Ventura County Medical Center in
    California. Seven years of private medical practice in
    Ojai, California deepened his experience of human
    suffering. He then pursued academic medicine as an
    Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at the
    University of Washington School of Medicine. He was
    intellectually challenged, but spiritually bereft.

    Illness and death were powerful influences early in
    life. His own childhood life-threatening illness
    strongly influenced a career in medicine. The death of
    his mother and wife early in life prompted an intense
    spiritual quest for meaning. A year long sabbatical
    was spent in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. Living in a
    monastery receiving instruction from extraordinary
    meditation masters, his life changed course.

    In the Seattle area he further studied and meditated
    with the yogi Gen Lam Rimpa whom he then followed back
    to Dharamsala, India which became home, now for the
    last 19 years. In Dharamsala he taught research
    methodology and conducted research into the efficacy
    of Tibetan Medicine for high blood pressure. A year
    later he returned to studying, meditating, and
    teaching Buddhism.

    After fourteen years of short and long meditation
    retreats, His Holiness the Dalai Lama ordained him as
    a Bikkshu, a fully ordained Buddhist monk. Over the
    last nine years he has been privileged to provide
    medical care to three great meditation masters during
    their dying days. All three stayed in meditation
    called tuk.dam, or clear light, for days to weeks
    following clinical death. Their bodies remained fresh,
    supple, and warm. An atmosphere of serenity and
    meditation surrounded them. When their meditations
    were completed and their consciousnesses departed, the
    bodies rapidly decayed. Warmth, freshness, and
    flexibility quickly disappeared. Copious amounts of
    watery and blood-like fluids poured from the nostrils.
    Two of the yogis had their bodies dried and preserved
    in salt as holy sacred objects of worship.

    Barry continues meditation and teaching Buddhism and
    Science in India, the United States, and Japan. A
    book on Buddhist madyamaka is in process. In tandem
    his 19 years of charitable medicine continues.

    In 2005 and 2006 Barry had the privilege of
    participating in the neuroscience meditation research
    with Richard Davidson, and Antoine Lutz, in Madison,
    Wisconsin. He participated in similar research at
    Princeton with Jonathan Cohen and Brent Field. The
    two worlds of medicine and meditation continue to draw

    Brian Lynn, Angelia 2041, timichango, and 1 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. davidteter 108 months ago | reply

      what did you talk about?

    2. Jim O'Connell 108 months ago | reply

      I was actually grilling him a bit, like "C'mon. If you have a raging headache, what are you going to do, take an aspirin or meditate? If the Dalai Lama gets a serious condition that has a well-respected Western treatment, which school of medicine do you go with?" He answered very well, that both were an option and both options would be discussed and offered.

      He was talking also about some cases of "Tuk Dam" that he's seen personally, where a Lama has died and the spirit stays with the body for days after clinical death occurs and no decomposition or loss of body temperature happens. I asked him if he noticed a sweet scent, which he had, something the Christians call the "odour of sanctity" when the same thing happens to their saints.

      I'm seriously thinking of moving to Dharamsala—these guys just radiate good will and peace and I'm not the sort to buy into this sort of stuff.

    3. davidteter 108 months ago | reply

      very cool, jim..
      here's another reference to the "sweet scent" during tuk dam.'s_passing.htm

    4. hern42 108 months ago | reply

      Interesting... as always from you...

    5. mikescottnz 107 months ago | reply

      Hi, I'm an admin for a group called GMO Free World , picture it ; make an image, join us ., and we'd love to have this added to the group!

    6. moonwire 107 months ago | reply

      very interesting, jim.

    7. Brian Lynn 107 months ago | reply

      Thanks for helping to re-kindle my interest in Tibetan Buddhism. Great story.

    8. slippery digestion [deleted] 107 months ago | reply

      Very interesting and very well written.

    9. minka6 107 months ago | reply

      great story, thank you for sharing. I had never heard of this after death meditation, now I'm very curious.

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