We Can Be podcast - The Heinz Endowments

Dr. Barry Kerzin, personal physician to Dalai Lama & Altruism in Medicine Institute founder on power of compassion (We Can Be S04EP04)

August 25, 2021

Dr. Barry Kerzin is foremost a kind, giving, smart and all-around inspirational  human being.


And if that were all he was, it would be more than enough.


But Barry is also a Buddhist monk, a personal physician to the Dalai Lama, and the founder of both the Human Values Institute in Japan and the United States-based Altruism in Medicine Institute, which teaches resilience to health care workers through training in compassion and mindfulness.


He shares his fascinating and moving journey with “We Can Be” host Grant Oliphant, including how the Dalai Lama told him that his path would be “50-50—one half medicine and the other half spreading love and compassion.” Barry listened and has followed that auspicious path for more than three decades.


“If we can learn to focus our mind even a little bit, we will be more successful in training our minds to be more compassionate—and therefore happier,” Barry says of his work teaching mindfulness to nurses, doctors and police forces in an effort to help them cope with the stress and trauma of their professions. 


He has been profiled in media outlets around the world, including PBS and CNN, and shared his wisdom with audiences throughout Europe and North America, as well as in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Russia, and Mongolia, to name but a few.


Barry, whose brain has been studied by both Princeton University and the University of Wisconsin as part of their quests to understand the effects of long-term meditation, believes that “socially engaged Buddhism” has enormous potential for all of us.


“When you’re being compassionate, “he says, “you feel good.”

“We Can Be” is hosted by Heinz Endowments President Grant Oliphant, and produced by the Endowments, Josh Franzos and Tim Murray. Theme music by Josh Slifkin. Guest inquiries can be made to Scott Roller at sroller@heinz.org.

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