On January 25, 2015, at precisely 1.30 pm Eastern Standard Time, the online classroom door opened, and the second batch of TM 3-year online course students entered for the last time, meeting in a short graduation ceremony.
A few of us in attendance at that graduation ceremony wanted to put together our thoughts on the just completed 3-year course, and we offer them with a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation.
Feelings of exhilaration over my success in the final exam earlier that day, quickly turned bitter-sweet, as images of the past 3 years flashed before my eyes in a pictorial retrospective that bore Sylvie’s stamp of technological expertise, and I listened to my teacher, Dr. Pasang Yonten Arya, for the last time. Those bitter-sweet moments stood as silent witnesses to a 3 year period of my life that had seen sacrifice and effort to learn, but also a great deal of personal growth, discovery and fulfillment.
The study of Tibetan Medicine started out as an intellectual exercise to satisfy my curiosity, with online learning providing a realistic option, as I was a continent away, and with a full-time job. Initially, I had been concerned that a lack of a medical or scientific background would prove to be a hindrance, and that I would be out of my depth very quickly. However, my interest in alternative medicines, and particularly Buddhist medicine, won out, and I decided to supplement with additional reading as necessary. In fact, Tibetan Medicine presents itself logically and compels the student to work through it systematically, with an almost simplistic unravelling of the complex tapestry that is the human body. The guidance of an accomplished teacher is necessary to perform this unravelling, enabling the student to peer behind the seemingly simplistic and grasp at the enormous body of centuries old traditional knowledge there. Dr. Pasang opened the body of knowledge and delivered it alongside his wealth of practical experiences, observations, and often, good-humored anecdotes.
Learning online via seminars, English language textbooks and audio CD’s was manageable, however it was the annual 1-week workshops that brought it all together for me. They were intensive, focused, practical learning sessions with Dr. Pasang, but they were also times of camaraderie with my classmates from many different countries. Early into the course I was able to use and witness immediate results of the external therapies on parents and the elderly who particularly enjoy the therapeutic effects of Hor-me, as well as friends and family suffering from various aches and pains, emotional stress and burnout.
I feel extremely fortunate to have had this opportunity for guidance from Dr. Pasang. He shared his many years of practical experience and deep understanding of Tibetan Medicine most willingly with all his students, and I look forward to possibly continuing with more online studies under his tutelage. I am very grateful to his right hand, Sylvie, for all her efforts in putting the course together, and also to my wonderful classmates with whom I shared this amazing 3-year journey.
Carolyn Chan – USA
The TME online course is an in-depth three year program taught by one of the foremost scholar-physicians of Tibetan medicine in Europe. It gives serious students the opportunity to see, hear, read, and ask questions about a wide range of fundamental topics, via well-organized e-seminars and practical workshops. Dr Pasang Arya`s teaching approach is very direct and personal, and fully based on his extensive research and practical experience. It has not only shown me that Sowa Rigpa is an intricate as well as efficacious medical system, but that it is fully alive, blossoming and offering a path of health through balance equally in our modern Western lives.
Looking forward to the advanced course!
Jan van der Valk – United Kingdom
From the Medicine Buddha, to practical application of Tibetan medicine, to Dr. Pasang’s care for each student and to mutual support among students, compassion has been at the center of my experience in this course and it has increased my capacity for compassion personally and professionally. Throughout, Dr. Pasang and his assistant Sylvie have also embodied patience, integrity and competence.
The mix of face-to-face online and in-person instruction along with Dr. Pasang’s groundbreaking English-language texts made this a very successful experience--neither intimidating, nor for the faint-of-heart. Learning a medicine is always challenging and while scholarly, this course covered the practical basics well.
I’ve practiced acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine the past 13 years. To fully appreciate Tibetan medicine, temporarily setting aside my knowledge of Chinese medicine has been the best approach.
In my clinic now, I will often do both Tibetan and Chinese diagnoses and then offer the patient the best treatment from one or the other, or in some cases a blend. One patient may benefit most from Hor me (an external treatment unique to Tibetan medicine) while another does best with acupuncture, and either might benefit from learning a Medicine Buddha mantra. A Tibetan herbal formulation may be just right for one, for another a Chinese formulation. A patient with a Wind disorder may benefit from a Tibetan recipe for bone soup, while for dry eyes eating Chinese Goji berries may help.
It is always my hope as patients approach their physical healing to support their emotional and spiritual journey, and Tibetan medicine is especially rich in its understanding of the body/mind and the path to healing. I find that even patients from non-Buddhist spiritual approaches often find the insights of Tibetan medicine in this regard helpful.
It’s been especially rewarding to study side-by-side with students from 5 continents! For those called to serve through Tibetan medicine, this course is an excellent path to being able to further help all beings.
I look forward to advanced study with Dr. Pasang.
Nathan Kaehler, MA, LAc
Ojai Herbs & Acupuncture
Ojai, California, USA
Rare is the opportunity to study authentic Tibetan medicine from a living master in the western world today. A real master can give you so much more than a book – an in-depth transmission of ancient Tibetan medical knowledge with the fullness of personal experiences. Dr. Pasang is a very kind man, but also a great scholar and medical practitioner. And just this personal experience oriented approach, based on long years of clear mind observations, is a real treasure of this course, this cannot be overstressed.
The study itself is enjoyable and increasingly more demanding as it unfolds, especially third year with its pathology chapters which could be quite complex sometimes. No worries though, students will have all the support needed: from textbooks, cd-s, monthly live meetings with teacher (opportunity to ask questions) to summer workshops on practical aspects of medical treatment.
Last, but not least, you could meet some very nice people in the workshop!
Damijan Matos - Slovenia
As I reflect upon Dr. Pasang’s Tibetan Medicine Course which has been regularly unfolding for me here in Australia over the past three years, I wish to express my utmost gratitude and appreciation for the rare opportunity to receive the precious teachings of The Gyud shi in this unique form of ‘Oral Transmission.’
Tibetan Medicine’s holistic view focuses attention directly at one’s own particular pre disposition. First of all, it shows us how to recognize that balance is a possibility. It then offers a systematic approach to the creation and maintenance of that balance if we choose to allow it. To follow this path requires a deep commitment to taking personal responsibility for our health and for our life.
A lifetime fuelled by an innate curiosity regarding the ‘human condition’ has cultivated a deep and abiding respect for Eastern Spirituality, nurtured by the rich potential that the Buddhist tradition can offer to a deeper understanding of one’s own mind. Through the great blessing of these interactive online teaching sessions, the study of Sowa Rigpa has allowed both clarity and support to this fundamental aspect of my own healing.
As I learn more about my particular experience of body/mind, I am encouraged and inspired in my quest to explore, to shape and to embrace an integrated approach to Western Psychology in my own healing / counselling practice. My particular focus has been the predominantly scientific approach to the management of unaccountable mental states within the realms of mainstream psychiatry, psychology and psychotherapy which unfortunately still prevails. This one dimensional perspective offers an oppressively pessimistic climate that can only maintain the client’s fragmented state of helpless vulnerability. An urgent re-evaluation of our impoverished Western attitude to the spiritual dimension of human life offers the potential for an evolutionary expansion of both our individual and our global consciousness. I refer frequently to the ancient wisdom traditions to sustain my view.
Becoming more familiar with the Lha body and the Lha subtle energy cycle offers profound possibilities to situations to which Western Medicine has no authentic explanation. Complementary therapies such as Tibetan Tantric Healing Yoga, beneficial breathing techniques, the use of mantra, Ku Nye Tibetan Massage, Hor Me, and regular meditation practice offer a comprehensive and interconnected therapeutic approach. The process of calming the mind and balancing the energies fosters the benefits of deep relaxation and emotional release.
It has been an absolute joy to learn from Dr. Pasang and to share the benefit of his extensive knowledge drawn from a lifetime filled with rich and impressive life experiences. The two intensive practice workshops in Switzerland provide the space to create one’s own personal relationship with “The Master’, and to consolidate some of the practical aspects of the teachings. Getting to know our fellow students from all corners of the world was another valuable opportunity for mutual sharing of knowledge and experience.
I look forward with renewed energy and enthusiasm to continuing on this path of heuristic learning in this 73rd year of my life. In closing, I wish to express my deepest gratitude to Sylvie. Without her calm and caring computer support and knowledge, I would never have survived the journey.
Elizabeth Lee – Australia
It is definitely a great pleasure for us at TME- Tibetan Medicine Education center, to receive these unsolicited comments from our 2nd batch of students. They reassure us that despite the distance and the effort that the study of such a subtle science requires, students are able to assimilate, develop, and enjoy the learning of Sowa Rigpa, the Tibetan Medicine art of healing. We would like to thank them for their efforts and open minds, and for the very encouraging comments they have sent to us. We congratulate them all on their successful studies, and pray their knowledge will continue to develop, and flourish for the benefit of all.