If, you’re looking for a typical Hollywood fast action thriller, “The Knowledge of Healing” is probably not your best cinematic choice. Nevertheless, this 90minute Swiss-made documentary contains plenty of activity and excitement, albeit of a very different tempo and substance than the usual entertainment flick.
“Knowledge of Healing” is a unique exploration of traditional Tibetan medicine which is very much in concert with the principles that FACT has supported since inception. The traditional sounds of bamboo flutes and chimes set the mood – calm, thoughtful pace – as we visit clinics in the remote hills of Tibet, Buryatia in Siberia, and China. We follow several patients seeking relief from conditions that could not be treated by conventional allopathic medicine, but which have responded extraordinarily well to the Tibetan system. The film focuses on one patient in particular, a man suffering from inoperable kidney cancer who comes to the clinic after being told by his conventional doctors that they could do nothing for him. We observe this patient over the course of his numerous visits to the Tibetan doctor as he is instructed on the nature and goals of the treatment, especially how to take the herbal medicines and how to calm his body to allow the healing. After 6 months the tumor is under control to the point that the patient returns to his surgeon to have the tumor successfully removed.
We also travel to high-tech laboratories in Switzerland, Austria and Israel where scientists are intensely studying the healing properties of the herbs, roots, and minerals used in this ancient medicine. These Western scientists and doctors express their frustration with the limitations and toxic effects of allopathic medicine, as well as their great respect for the philosophy and effectiveness of the Tibetan practice.
But the Dalai Llama steals the show! He appears with his physician, Dr. Tenim Choedrak, in his home in-exile in the foothills of northern India. The Dalai Lama explains how the Chinese, having invaded Tibet in 1949, took control of his small nation and by the late 50’s and early 60’s had nearly destroyed everything to do with traditional Tibetan medicine, including the destruction of the medical school and the burning of medical writings. Doctors were tortured and murdered. Finally in 1959 the Dalai Lama fled to India, as did the few surviving Tibetan doctors who were determined to keep their form of medicine alive. The human struggle, of course, continues today, a fact painfully noted when we see Dr. Choedrak treating a Buddhist nun who suffered agonizing torture after participating in a rally for Tibetan independence.
In his gentle way the Dalai Lama stresses that there must be harmony between all aspects of an individual body and spirit in order for the treatment to truly succeed. His doctor adds: “Our medicine assumes that the substances that are taken as nourishment and as medicine, as well as the substances of which the body is made up, are essentially of the same nature. There is mutual dependency. The viability of the human organism depends on the quality of both environment and nourishment”
The movie takes its title from the ancient text in which Tibetan scholars codified their rigorous system of diagnosing and treating disease, a system that has existed for over 2 thousand years and which is every bit as refined as today’s orthodox Western medicine. The film would be an excellent introduction for people who are new to non-conventional ways of healing, as well as a very interesting and pleasant experience for those already steeped in the concepts of host resistance and non-toxic, biologically-sound therapies.
“The Knowledge of Healing,” a T & C Film AG Production (Zurich), released by IN Pictures, will have limited showings in U.S. theatres the rest of this year and will be available on video thereafter (check with your local video store). We heartily recommend it!