Barry Kerzin


Barry Kerzin
Member since:
01 Mar, 2011


Barry Kerzin is a Buddhist monk, teacher, and medical doctor. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of California at Berkeley, he went on to receive a Medical Doctor [M.D.] degree from the University of Southern California. He is a former Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle.

He has lived in Dharamsala for 22 years and provides medical care to many high lamas as well as poor people in India, all on a charitable basis. His Holiness the Dalai Lama ordained him as a bikkshu, or gelong, a fully ordained Buddhist monk. He has completed many short and long meditation retreats over the last 27 years.

At the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Princeton University in New Jersey, Drs. Richard Davidson and Jonathan Cohen, as part of their research on long-term meditation practitioners, studied Dr. Barry’s brain structure and function.

Over the years he has cared for three adept meditation masters during their final days in the near-death state of tukdam, or clear light meditation. This is occasionally witnessed in accomplished meditators after cessation of their heart beating and respiration. After clinical death they were able to maintain their bodies fresh, soft, flexible, and slightly warm for days or even weeks. The atmosphere around them was peaceful, and conducive for meditation.

Dr. Kerzin spends about 7 to 8 months annually teaching Buddhist science and modern science, death and dying, teaching Shantideva, leading meditation retreats, and leading sacred pilgrimages, in India, Japan, Mongolia, North America, Europe, and Russia.

A book entitled, Unraveling Nagarjuna’s Thought: A Commentary on the Meaning of Wisdom: Root Stanzas on the Middle, is close to publication. Two books are also ready for publication in Japanese and English languages: Tibetan Buddhist Prescription for Happiness, and Clear Words and Meditation.

Dr. Kerzin’s research interests include subtle states of the mind including the subtlest mind of clear light, especially when manifest at the time of death. He is also interested in research on the cultivation of compassion. Currently he is a consultant for the Max Planck Institute in Leibzig, Germany on a large research project studying training compassion for ordinary people. In between this busy schedule he still practices charitable medicine for poor people, and sometimes, high Tibetan lamas.

Role(s) / Profession(s)

  • Physician


  • Tibetan Government in Exile, Department of Health

Work Location(s)

  • India


  • English