U.S. University Students Learn to Heal Body and Spirit

January 27, 2001

Source: The Seattle Times


On January 27, 2001, The Seattle Times reported that "when David Crow talks to students of medicine and healing, he offers them two widely divergent histories. One history grew out of a pharmacy of toxic mercury compounds, a faith in bloodletting and a need to stitch up the wounds of war, he says. The other is the result of ancient scientific trial and error, of people using the plants that grew in the forests around them to attain balance of the 'humors, tissues and wastes' of the body. The first history is medicine as practiced in the West. The second is the mind-body healing tradition of the East, where doctor-sages still prescribe according to the teachings of the Medicine Buddha." Crow operates a clinic in Venice, CA, and has written In Search of the Medicine Buddha, "about his studies in Nepal of ayurvedic and Tibetan Buddhist medical practices." Crow explains that the Eastern system of healing focuses not only on the body but on the entire person, and "'the ultimate goal is awakening, seeing reality and union with God. The healing arts are used in the East for spiritual accomplishment.'" Crow spoke to "naturopathic-medicine students at Bastyr University, which has a program in spirituality and medicine." He encouraged the students to see that "the Buddhist 'vision of humanity living in harmony with the natural world' can be adapted to the Bastyr students' own future practices... Naturopathic physicians should be thought of as spiritual guides, nutrition educators and, because the roots and cures of disease lie in the environment, 'environmental activists.'"

Crow's journied to Nepal in 1987 "'out of a sense of uncertainty about medicine.' The feeling that modern medicine is more toxic than healing 'still hasn't left me,' he told the Bastyr students, and after spending a total of two years studying the Eastern practices during several trips to Kathmandu, he is still seeking medicines for his patients. Crow was influenced particularly by Dr. Ngawang Chopel, an elderly lama [for whom] prayer was as much a part of Chopel's healing art as the herbs he used. 'He saw medicine as a path to spiritual development,' Crow said." Crow has learned to appreciate an Eastern understanding of illness: "we are completely interwoven with nature. ...Most of what we believe are medical problems are not medical problems. If you look deeply enough, illness comes from society and spirit and environment.'"