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Saved from amputation by meditation

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The Tibetan lama Phakyab Rinpoche, who was about to be amputated from his gangrene-devoured leg, turned to meditation for treatment. He says today that she has cured him of an evil thought ... incurable by medicine. Miracle? A world first in all cases that questions all our knowledge on the therapeutic capacities of the psyche as on the mind-body ratio. And may revolutionize them.

Isabelle Taubes

November 2003. Phakyab Rinpoche looks from his window, the lightning bolts illuminate the New Yorker sky. "I close my eyes and breathe deeply to try to control the pain. I also have, at regular intervals, sensations of tearing in the right foot that deforms gangrene at an advanced stage.The bandage failed to contain the unbearable odor of purulent flesh that emerges my wound, "writes the Tibetan lama, in his book Meditation saved me (with Sofia Stril-Rever - Ed. of Cherche Midi 2014). According to doctors at Bellevue Hospital where he arrived as part of the US program for survivors of torture, only the amputation below the knee could allow him to survive. The bones, the cartilage, the tissues of his right foot are decaying in an irreversible way. In addition, pleurisy and bone tuberculosis deplete the body. Neither antibiotics nor daily curettage have the slightest effect. His condition is the result of torture inflicted by the Chinese police a few years ago.

A great meditator

A little step back because the story of this man is nothing ordinary. Born in 1966 in the land of snow, Tibet, he is a descendant of the mythical Khampas riders who defeated the Chinese Tang dynasty. He grew up in the middle of nature, surrounded by horses and herds of yaks. In this world, the gods turn into birds to serve as guides. From an early age, Phakyab Rinpoche knew he had to listen to their song to know where to go. His vocation as a monk was decided in the year of his 13 years. Asleep in tall grass, he dreams. A silhouette is emerging. A being of light looks at him. It is Buddha Maitreya - the protector, the divinity of love - who asks him to follow him. Does he want it? "Yes," says the dreamer who wakes up at once, his face bathed in tears. "I then make a vow to give my life as an offering to all beings," he writes. In a few minutes, the teenager became another. He tells this vision to his grandmother who, first, will initiate him to the path of the Buddha and the great saints of Tibet.This initiation is not without risk. In occupied Tibet, evoking the religion of the ancestors is an act of resistance. A political gesture. That he will pay twenty years later by being arrested, tortured and pushed into exile.

A fate of an exile

By taking refuge in America, Phakyab Rinpoche is part of the common destiny of the lamas. Since the Chinese enslaved the country, the greatest masters have gone into exile to ensure transmission. Mostly in India. But many also settled in the United States, the land of Redskins. One of their old prophecies seems to have announced it a long time ago: "When iron birds fly, when iron horses gallop on wheels, the Dharma will be driven out of Tibet." Tibetans will spread like ants on the space of the Earth, and the Dharma will reach the land of the red man ".

In America Phakyab Rinpoche confides in a psychologist. For the first time, he talks about his refugee situation, the beatings, the violence, the torture. "Stop being a man, be reduced to the state of rejection abject, the body dislocated, dismembered, humiliated by degrading treatments - how to express this to beings whose physical and moral integrity has never been violated? " But he does not want his torturers - they have accumulated so much bad "karma" that they are to be pitied. As many victims as he is, finally. "The real enemy is always in itself, he says in authentic Buddhism, it is hatred, anger, the will to possess, the desire for revenge."

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