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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
True story of psychiatric nurse, Terry Clifford,who left her job working in a NYC psychiatric hospital to travel to Tibet, Nepal and Northern India to research traditional Tibetan medical methods of working with mental illness.
The traditional Tibetan doctors really opened up due to Ms. Clifford's sincerity, knowledge of physchiatric illness, and amiable personality. They translated esoteric Tibetan medical concepts, related expereinces from their medical practices and even gave her traditional Tibetan herbal formulas for pyschiatric illnesses.
The author's description and explanation of "demons" in Tibetan Medicine, including one that causes the patient to believe that their religion is the one and only true religion, shows a great deal of the insight,humour and intelligence that permeates the entire book.
Tragically, Ms. Clifford died shortly after this book was published and her work was cut short.
Everyone working with traditional Tibetan medicine owes a debt to Ms. Clifford's groundbreaking work.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2000
I am a Native American and I have found many spiritual similarities between my own Hidatsa-Mandan traditions and the Tibetan tradition. The section on causes of Psychiatric disorders is the most interesting and relevant section in my opinion.
If nothing else, this book will open the hard nosed "scientific" community's eyes. The mere survival of its people and traditions is a testament to the validity of the views of Tibetan culture.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
This book is truly and evidently a classic. Clifford presents the methods of Diamond Healing - only by means of letting go of ego-grasping and ignorance might we begin to merge mind, body and spirit with truth.
Tibetan Ayurveda consists of the medicine of the tantric vehicle, the dharma, shamanistic practice, and an extensive pharmacopoeia. It includes a comprehensive chart of the beneficial herbs of Tibetan psychiatry. However, most medicines should be bought rather than prepared, for there is an extensive preparation ritual performed by the enlightened healer. Generally, the method of the Tibetan doctor is to treat on all levels by way of profound compassion to reduce negativity.
As the most psychological religion, the view of illness seems to be essentially psychosomatic - the repercussion of karma, the poisons of the mind. Other theories which are conveyed include an imbalance of life energy (prana), disorders of the humors - these are wind, phlegm, and bile - toxins, and the demons of the mind. The three humors correspond with various states of internal and bodily suffering. Left open to individual interpretation, however the author concludes that they are interpretations of the inner psyche, or presentations of a psychological state.

Phlegm disorders suggest a tendency toward catatonia.

Disorders of wind cause anxiety, sorrow and discomfort. They are treated with warming herbs.

Disorders of bile - treated with bitter and cooling herbs - cause frustration and rage.

Amongst therapies are mandala meditations, the practice of mindfulness so one may come to know that he or she is not the only being afflicted with suffering and imbalance, and powdered formulas, oils and incense. Fascinating the breakthrough which leads to the first major tranquilizer was found within the chemical structure of rawolfia serpentina, a plant used for centuries to treat madness in the east. There are invocations such as mantras and meditation on the Medicine Buddha. These are among the most powerful visualizations for self-healing.
There is explicit material on the religion itself, the profound psychology implicated, and the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. When one first finds these concepts may seem esoteric. But as Clifford examines they become profoundly sensical.
My fiancé - who is a Christian - and I suffer from madness. We are presently taking necessary western medicines, and using pre-prepared items such as incense, oil, and dietary intervention thus far. However, we are considering taking reiki, which is a spiritual discipline one of any faith can pursue.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2002
fantastic book! a great way for westerners to learn about tibetan medicine... Clifford enables the reader to connect an eastern tradition to our western minds... if you're interested in Tibetan medicine, this book is a great on to begin with...
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on January 30, 2013
Presently following the dharma teaching of Buddha, this book has given me a better understanding of the blue Buddha and how Buddhism plays a major role in Tibetan medicine.
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on June 27, 2015
After a lot of prodding from a mutual friend, I gave it a read.
All I can say is, the apple has fallen far from the tree
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