69 minutes | Nov 30, 2020

31. The Dalai Lama’s Doctor, Barry Kerzin MD

A discussion with His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s personal physician Barry Kerzin, MD on: how he came to his unique job, why compassion might be better than empathy in healthcare, simple ways to develop compassion towards both others and yourself, the cure for jealousy, lessening the impact of errors, and a prescription for longevity in medicine and life. 

Guest Bio:  Barry Kerzin, MD is a US born and trained family physician who for the past several decades has resided a monk in Dharamshala, India -- home of the Tibetan community in exile. In addition to serving as H.H. the Dalai Lama’s personal physician, Dr. Kerzin is the founder of the Altruism in Medicine Institute, whose mission is to increase compassion and resilience among healthcare professionals and extended professional groups, such as police officers, first responders, teachers and leaders.

Self described as “...a doctor, a monk, a teacher, a lazy man. All of these things, yet none of these things,” you can follow Dr. Kerzin on Facebook, Youtube, Instagram or learn more about his story here.

Listen on:

We discuss:

  • How Barry Kerzin got the job of being the Dalai Lama’s personal physician [07:15];
  • Why allopathic medical providers shouldn’t discount traditional health care systems [18:20];
  • Advice Dr. Kerzin would give to his younger self upon graduation from family medicine residency in the late 1980s [24:25];
  • The dangers of too much empathy [27:00];
  • Compassion, which is just about a half step back from empathy [29:15];
  • Methods of teaching compassion on a curricular level [33:20];
  • The Buddhist practice of unconditional compassion [39:45];
  • The importance of mutual respect, even in the face of difference [43:35];
  • Replacing jealousy with rejoicing [46:00];
  • The pillars of self-compassion [49:48];
  • Lessening the impact of an error [56:15];
  • Bodhisattvas -- people who have universal compassion that excludes no one [56:15];
  • What it’s like to live in Dharamshala and to be the Dalai Lama’s physician for the past 15 years [59:20];
  • Dr. Kerzin’s prescription for longevity in medicine [01:07:45]
  • And more.


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