An afternoon With “In Search of the Medicine Buddha” Author David Crow

In 2002, I came upon a book whose alluring title sucked me in right away: In search of the Medicine Buddha. Given its setting in Nepal, where I trekked twenty years ago, and author David Crow’s exploration of the great ancient medical traditions of Tibet, China and Ayurveda, I did everything I could to absorb this book. Then, a couple of years ago, after gaining more knowledge on all of these traditions, I read the book again.9 Hints On How To Make Wood In Little Alchemy

My feeling was the same: In search of the Medicine Buddha was more than a travelogue, one man’s search for his deeper purpose, a memoir, the author’s fascination with plants, or a study of alchemy and medicine in ways that are simply beyond conventional medicine. how to make wood in little alchemy It was all of the above, and more: a lyrical narrative with information and story woven together so fluidly and beautifully that, I swore, a great seamstress in the sky was conducting the literary show. It also took its permanent place as one of the 50 best books I’ve ever read.

Imagine my delight earlier this week, when David Crow – now a universally respected expert on Ayurveda, aromatherapy, Tibetan and Chinese medicine and botanical medicine – came to the Ananda College campus and spent an hour and a half with several of my writing students and I. He shared stories from In search of the Medicine Buddha, discussed the medicinal values of various plants, talked about career opportunities in the herbalism field and explained how one book completely changed his life on a global scale – and how he craves the time to write so creatively again.

But the thrill of the visit was something quite different. Crow returned to his innate love of bringing words to paper (or laptop) with a style that is as mellifluous and beautiful as it gets. He spent the time talking about his process of writing In search of the Medicine Buddha, going back and forth with us on approaches he took to his stories, his mountains of notes from 10 years of apprenticing with masters of Eastern medicine, and the way he languaged it into a book that is as much poetry as journalism, as much soul narrative as travelogue, as much personal discovery as the shared wisdom of his teachers. Then, to top it off, he shared a great secret about forming the language to write about scents and smells – and about nature – and finished by reading two pieces aloud, one a prose poem about lavender, the other an archetypal journey into our relationship with plants as medicinals.

I’ve hosted quite a few noteworthy people in classrooms, writer’s conferences, retreats and other venues. Never have I seen what I saw the other day: the guest of honor, who is quite honored in his field on a global level, wanting to hang out with the class, stay extra, just be with other writers. As it was, he stayed for an hour longer than scheduled. PERMACULTURE HAS ITS GENESIS in the visionary work of J. Russell Smith, J. Sholto Douglas, Robert Hart, and others less well known, who, two generations ago and more, realized the urgency of transforming the basis of agricul­ture through the use of trees and other perennial crops. They saw the progressive devastation of land that followed the plow and knew that only by integrating forestry and farming could man’s impact on the earth be tempered and hope for humanity’s future be secured into the next century.

Following the revelations of ecologist H. T. Odum (I) on the problem of energy, a third leg was added to this vital synthesis as David Holmgren so trenchantly expounds in his essay Energy and Permaculture (2). It was for Holmgren, a young student of design at Hobart. Tasmania, and his unlikely mentor, Bill Mollison a bushman turned university professor, to set forth a systematic and practical approach to implementing these new understandings. Permaculture emphasized redesign of the domestic landscape or self-reliance, building the genius of the local and the individual into this triune and revolutionary shift.

Though widely accepted by both traditional and post-modern peoples around the world, permaculture has been largely ignored by governments and institutions, to which its essential message is anathema. The vacuum of official support has obscured the scope and extent of this revolution in man’s relation to the land. It is important therefore, for those of us promoting permaculture concepts and systems to realize that the elaboration of the permaculture design system, though original to Holmgren and Mollison, was neither isolated nor unique, but contemporary with a range of parallel creative work in other western countries.

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