Review by Attila Mislai
Tulku Thondup Rinpocse' book of The Healing Power of Mind) seems to be so consonant with Zen Therapy as if the authors would have joined with each other in checking their works line by line. David has wrote about the possibility of healing with a profound explanation as to its lucid Buddhist theoretical background and the Rinpocse has made out its practical pandant with meticulous care.
Tondrup Rinpocse comes from the Nyingmapa tradition whose central tenet is the Dzogchen teaching stating the essence of all beings is a pure awareness, clean, tranquil and joyous. All of its varied methods and means (symbols, rituals, visualizations, meditations) derive their significance from how skillfully they are able to facilitate the cultivation of that awakened awareness and foster its unhampered flowing through our everyday actions.
There is a special kind of parlance the origin of which I believe is found in the true strength of realisations. Only those who managed to go beyond the limits of subjectivity, let go of the contents of their mind and sojourn in the peaceful provinces of that pristine awareness are able to speak this marvellous language which is evocative and down-to-earth, precise and highly imaginative at the same time. No doubt, Tondrup Rimpocse not only speak about pure qualities of consciousness, he is a real embodiment of them.
The first part of the book is about the general outlook of the tradicional healing art the assumptions of which is so radically dissimilar to our western approach. Morris Berman writes on the latter: „From the sixteenth century on, mind has been progressively expunged from the phenomenal word….Subject and object are always seen in opposition to each other. I am not my experiences and thus not really a part of the world around me. The logical endpoint of this world view is a feeling of total reification: everything is an object, alien, not-me, and I am ultimately an object too, an alienated „thing” in a world of other, equally meaningless things” (Berman) The Buddhist thinking shows a striking contrast with this philosophy. The primal reality is consciousness, mind is the key to health and happiness, and the final cause of suffering can be comrehended as the result of a false, rigid dualism showing through our perceptions and thinking. We habitually tend to regard fleeting, conditioned phenomena as if possessing independent existence and from this erroneous view flow than innumerable false distinctions embodied in our blurred perceptions, emotional reactions, behavioural tendencies and mental confections (samskaras). In this school of thought healing is attainable through cultivating the (Big) mind (Buddhata), opening to it, immersing in its spacious, peaceful, luminous nature. Although seeing from this deeply holistic perspective, healing doesn’t differ fundamentally from liberation, the author professedly makes do with a modest aim: drawing on ancient practices he teaches simple, quotidian methods assisting anybody with everyday distresses whatever form the suffering it may don.
Along with offering valuable pieces of advice how to create or summon up the right intentional stance that is indispensible for any healing effect to be come into being, he gives detailed instructions on how to pay attention to the breathing process, how to use our creative imagination to bring forth healing visualisations or how to benefit from the salutory effects of taking refuge in power beyond the ego. The smaller the supremacy of the ego the more we are open to healing influences – that can be the motto of the traditional approach. In other words, the real source of healing can be neared by learning to let go of the conditioned ego and to swim „in the bottomless ocean of Buddhata, where self doesn’t figure… there is one seamless purity in which all the ordinary things…..occur just as they are.” (David).