In a fascinating book which just appeared in French, ‘Meditation Saved Me’, the Tibetan monk Phakyab Rinpoche explains how he healed himself of a serious case of gangrene of the foot and tuberculosis of the bones through the power of meditation.

His meditation included an important component of compassion for the world. The doctors in New York who were initially taking care of him were emphatic that only a total amputation of the foot would save him from death. But for this remarkable monk, “to cut is not to heal”, and with the encouragement of the Dalai Lama who predicted that “You will teach the world how to heal” he started an intensive discipline of daily meditation which in three years completely healed him of the gangrene and the tuberculosis. This outcome was totally incomprehensible to the doctors who had started treating him and for which they had absolutely no explanation.

In a remarkable afterword to the book Lionel Coudron, a well-known French MD and pioneer of alternative approaches to health, quotes Steven Cole, a professor of medicine at UCLA, “who has demonstrated that benevolence has a positive impact on the immune system which is superior to any other emotion …
The discoveries in the field of contemplative neurosciences are encouraging. For they have integrated into their research the essential dimension of altruism, while at the same time demonstrating that, without being a super-trained meditator, one could benefit from the positive effects of meditation based on love and compassion.”

Blessing practised over a long period of time also develops love and compassion in a remarkable manner. After almost 25 years of constant blessing, it is very difficult for me to behold a person suffering and not immediately bless them. I will return to this topic in my next New Year’s blog, including the blessing of the perpetrators of harm, an especially important component of blessing in today’s world.

(For an English presentation, See Maureen Seaberg, The rise of a Rinpoche, in The Huffington Post)

Pierre Pradervand

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