From Dharamsala to Winter Park

The Dalai Lama’s personal doctor visits Trinity


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  “Raise your hands if you have seen a doctor before. Raise your hands if you have seen a Buddhist monk. Now, raise your hands if you have ever seen a doctor/Buddhist monk.”

  Dr. Barry Kerzin looked out on the auditorium on April 13, 2017, as students failed to raise their hands at his last question. Soon enough, some clever students shouted out, “We’ve seen one now!”

  Kerzin is both an intellectual and spiritual leader, holding degrees from the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Southern California. In the mid-2000s, he was ordained as a Buddhist monk. As a physician who has had practices in both the United States and abroad, he is currently working in Dharamsala, India, providing health care free of charge to the local population.

  He has one particularly famous patient: His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.

  Kerzin told the audience how exactly he came to be the personal doctor to the most important figure in the Buddhist religion. It started with a question about cholera in Rio de Janeiro,progressed with a gift of semi-precious stones, and it exists now as a partnership with the man who is now “like a father to [him].”

  “It was really cool to see [Kerzin] blend religion and science,” junior Daniel Jahren said.

  As the founder of the Altruism in Medicine Institute, “Dr. Barry,” as the Dharamsala locals call him, knows how to blend logic with love and compassion. He teaches people to be kind, and to be good, and to look past each other’s differences. He teaches people to appreciate their interconnectedness.

  Per his expert recommendation, meditation is the best way to achieve this.

  Kerzin has spent more than 10,000 hours of his life meditating and did not speak for three years—a feat that resulted in his brain being studied by Princeton University and the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Researchers found that long-term meditators have larger prefrontal cortices, resulting in a greater ability to love, decide and reason.

  During his speech, he took time to instruct students on how to meditate. The auditorium was silent as some 470 people took time to slow down, their hands resting on their laps.

  “I loved [meditating],” Director of Forensics Nathan Johnston said. “I am just scared to do it too often, because I feel like it will just turn into more naps.”

  Kerzin brought relaxation, peace and wisdom to the Trinity community.

  “[I learned] that you don’t have to be Buddhist to learn from the Dalai Lama,” senior Jimmy Toscano said. “Religions have a lot in common. I learned that instead of focusing on our differences, maybe we should focus on our similarities.”


   To learn more about Dr. Barry Kerzin and the loss in his early life that motivated him to become a Buddhist monk, watch the attached video.


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