Norbu Chen chants tantra prior to "hitting" mice in laboratory experiment at Trinity University, San Antonio, Tex.

America's Tibetan Lama

Norbu Chen, Healer

Fate Magazine, August 1974

Scientific laboratory experiments confirm that Chen's control of his vital energy has cured cancerous tumors in mice.

Bv Tom Valentine

Photos courtesy NATIONAL TATTLER

NORBU CHEN is the only American citizen ever to qualify as a Tibetan gelong and earn the honorary title of lama. A former Kentucky farm boy, he studied under Lama Norbu Lampas in the tiny Asian nation of Sikkim, where he earned the title which has now become his legal name.

Chen does not believe in "faith" and would prefer to have that term stricken from the nomenclature of healing. Healing is mind control over body functions, he maintains, and is brought about by the use of the vital energy which pervades the universe. Chen practices a particular version of Tibetan Buddhism called the Dugpah method or Way. This is the Way of the "red hats," a minority group of monks who practice an active form of Buddhism. The red hats are venerated but often feared in Tibet which is ruled by the middle-of-the-road Buddhist practitioners called "yellow hats." The Dalai Lama is a yellow hat. The moderate monks are more popular with the people as they are passive, ritualistic and easygoing in their religion while the red hats are austere and secretive. Norbu Lampas was renowned as a "magician" which is common among the red hat monks.

Medical records verify Walt Snyder's critical heart and kidney disorders were cured after only two healing sessions with Houston lama Chen.

Chen, a small man with piercing eyes who now lives in Houston, Tex., once studied physical anthropology at the University of Kentucky after serving in the armed forces during the Korean War. "After a while, I saw the uselessness of the American lifestyle and so-called Christianity," he says. "So I quit school and became a seeker of knowledge in my own way."

His "seeking" led him to some strange bedfellows in the realm of politics. Using two aliases he became a special assistant to Gov. Bert Combs of Kentucky who defeated the renowned Happy Chandler for the office of that state's chief executive. Under the name Charles Vernon Alexander or Michael Lee Alexander,* Chen volunteered to serve time inside a Kentucky state prison to obtain information valuable to the governor. He not only smuggled "data" from within the prison which politically destroyed Lt. Gov. Harry Lee Waterfield but also, while serving as aide to the prison chaplain, he smuggled out records of dope peddling to Richard L. Conn, then publisher of the Jefferson Reporter in Louisville, Ky.

* Research is underway into the background of Norbu Chen at the present time. But as this story goes to press there is still some confusion as to names and dates. It is thought Chen's parents live in Kentucky, that his real name is Carl Michael Johnson, that he attended the University of Kentucky in 1957 and '58, and served in the Kentucky State prison in 1960.

A governor's pardon for this service covered his release from prison and he then continued to serve as a paid spy for Governor Combs until he got into deep trouble and had to flee for his life.

Florida surgeon Dr. E. Stanton Maxey verifies Chen's healing abilities.

He went to England in 1960 and it was there he saw the Tibetan exhibit of Madame Alexandra David-Neel. He wanted to meet the grand old lady so he traveled to her home in Bigne, Switzerland. There they talked of Tibet and philosophy and as a result Madame David-Neel gave him a letter of introduction to a Dilupa Lama and Chen went on to Asia, hoping to find new meaning in life. However, the Hindu practices of India turned him off and the Tibetan yellow hats didn't impress him much more. Chen was about to leave Sikkim, where many Tibetan refugees who were fleeing the Chinese communists were living, when he heard of the marvelous "magician," Norbu Lampas. He found that this austere monk held the yellow hats, who spin prayer wheels and worship the Dalai Lama, in disdain and this so impressed the American that he contracted to become a trappa (student) under the gelong (priest-teacher). The Kentucky farm boy paid his tuition and entered the gompa (monastery).

Norbu Chen named his foundation after Chakpori Ling Medical Center in Tibet.

"My lama taught me the Dugpah way -- the way of the red hats. Today I demonstrate that way of truth in action," he says.

Thus in 1961, after being accepted as a student, Chen was immediately placed in a cave where he remained alone for nine months. "This was to teach me to meditate. They passed my food in through a window," Chen recalls. "At times I thought I would go mad but in defense I did learn to meditate -- and I lost 40 pounds."

After three and a half years in the gompa he was finally ready to take the tests to attain gelong status, to earn the title and veneration due a lama.

"To prove we had learned to control our bodies with our minds we had to pass three simple tests. We had to pass a bodkin, or needle, through our hands without experiencing pain or bleeding. We had to hold hot coals in each hand but show no sign of burns; and finally we had to cut an artery at the wrist, bleed momentarily into a bowl, and then with the strength of our will stop the bleeding -- or die."

Chen says, "I encountered no problems and passed the tests easily."

These accomplishments, Chen states, are not gimmicks but are mind over body control -- which has been demonstrated countless times by various practitioners around the world as well as by Tibetan monks. "The big difference between the others and the teachers in Tibet is in knowing what is going on. The Tibetans understand the law and have advanced beyond the stage of hypnotic tricks," Chen claims.

By 1965 he was back in the United States and practicing healing in Houston, Tex. Norbu Chen has no peer as a healer. His busy practice, which is conducted under the auspices of his church and foundation -- the Chakpori Ling Foundation -- keeps him from doing any teaching at this time but he plans to prepare lessons for students and from among those who show a particular aptitude he hopes to develop other gelongs. The board of directors of the Chakpori Ling Foundation, which is named for the famed Lhasa medical school, is impressive. The men on this board have observed Chen's remarkable abilities for several years. They include C. V. Wood, Jr., president of the American Stock Exchange and the McCullouch Oil Company; Doris Duke, one of the world's richest women and a knowledgeable student of Eastern philosophies; Harry Saltzman, the film-maker famous for the James Bond productions, and Tom Slick, Jr., son of the late Tom Slick, founder of Slick Airways, of the Southeast Research Institute and of the Mind Science Foundation.

Chen's foundation is a tax-exempt research organization and at present is establishing the first Tibetan Monastery in the United States to be devoted to the healing of the sick. Norbu Chen, therefore, does not practice medicine but an active Buddhist religion which enables him to cure the ill "through techniques which are perfectly natural but practically unknown to the Western world."

For the past two years Chen has performed about 20 healings each week. The strain of the ritual and rites may be taking a heavy toll. He himself says, "I may burn out in about three more years at this pace. So much of my own vital energy is used when I work on others."

Attractive airline stewardess Dee Jay Kimball credits Norbu Chen with stopping her severe uterine hemorrhages, thus making her planned hysterectomy unnecessary.

He works in a pine-paneled room which contains an "operating" table and his shrine. He wears a black work robe most of the time but occasionally dons the formal Tibetan red robes and high-crowned hat. When a patient is ushered into the chapel Chen first walks around the operating table then strides over to his shrine. On a small table he has butter lamps and the traditional sacred paraphernalia of the Tibetan monk. These include a 400-year-old trumpet made from a thighbone and a drum made from a skull.

He drinks from a sacred cup and, Tibetan fashion, begins to chant the "om." These chants are designed to magnify the healing energy he transfers from his body to his patients'.

"I call this buildup of energy 'shooting up' and when I deliver the energy to the patient I say I am making a 'hit'," he explains.

Having completed the chants Chen turns to the table on which his patient lies, places his hand on the patient's body and exhales with great force. Many patients say they feel a sudden sense of well-being after being "hit" by this unexplained invisible energy.

"I usually can tell if I get a good hit on an ailment," Chen told me. "Sometimes I may only effect a partial cure, or even no cure at all, but often I can tell by the feel of what I've done that a second hit in about 21 days will be effective."

Chen has been known to ask patients to come back several times for additional hits and eventually to effect remarkable cures. He also has effected astounding cures or remissions with single hits.

This American lama does not socialize with his patients and many visitors complain that he is arrogant.

To this accusation he responds, "I do not like to become emotionally involved with the people who want healing -- it is more effective if I know little about them personally." Nor is he apologetic if he is misunderstood. "I'm not responsible for other people's feelings -- they are," he snapped.

Chen works on rich and poor alike. He has treated the wealthy and the famous and also many of the poor Mexican nationals who live in Texas or just across the border and who camp on the grounds of his monastery hoping he can help them.

Although he has worked on many persons without seeing their official medical records, he prefers his patients to come with well-documented records from their doctors. "I try to document every case and now that I have nearly 1,000 solid cases on file I can see that I've maintained slightly better than a 70 percent remission rate. This is characteristic of a gelong and most gratifying because most of the cases who come to me are in serious if not critical condition."

One of Chen's typically astounding cases is that of Walt Snyder, formerly a Peoria, Ill. printer who now represents Amway Products in the Houston area. Snyder spent more than three years in veterans' hospitals where doctors said he required a "bypass" operation to remain alive. He came to Houston to be operated on by Dr. Michael E. DeBakey whose open-heart surgeries are world-renowned. When Dr. DeBakey visited Snyder a week before the operation was scheduled he agreed to do a "total resection." He told the frightened patient not to worry.

But Snyder did worry. He spoke with some friends and with his policeman brother-in-law and it was suggested that he visit the unusual lama practitioner.

Norbu felt that Snyder's case was so serious that he could work on only one side of the patient's body at a time.

"I figured one hit on the right side and one hit on the left side 21 days later would do the trick. I was wrong -- the first hit fixed his heart, so on his second visit I worked on his kidneys," Norbu said.

Snyder instantly felt so much better than he stopped his medication. The next day he was due for another electrocardiogram and the technician thought the machinery was out of order for the patient's heart showed up normal. Two specialists were called in but there was nothing wrong with Snyder's heart.

Dr. DeBakey never operated. But today Snyder, hale and hearty, is working full time for the first time in years.

"I might have done too good a job," Norbu chuckles. "He's getting fatter than a pig."

Attractive airline stewardess Dee Jay Kimball was referred to Chen by Dr. Karl Parker, one of the most respected chiropractors in the southeast. On the day before Miss Kimball was scheduled to have a complete hysterectomy, because of severe hemorrhaging and an infection in the uterus, Chen applied his healing technique.

"I knew the instant I hit that I had got a good hit on her," he said later.

The 25-year-old woman says, "I was terribly ill and desperate. I certainly didn't want that surgery but doctors said I could die if I didn't have the infection removed. Now, thanks to Norbu Chen, I'm a healthy normal woman looking forward to having children."

Such thoroughly diagnosed, clear-cut cases make it hard to dispute the efficacy of Chen's healings. However, unlike many another who claims healing ability, Chen has agreed to undergo extensive controlled laboratory testing.

Chen already has been the subject of a year-long series of tests under the auspices of the Mind Science Foundation headed by Tom Slick, Jr., and Dr. J. W. Hahn, noted microbiologist. They used the facilities of Trinity University in San Antonio, Tex., and a skeptical Dr. Howell D. Cobb prepared the experimental mice for the unorthodox healer.

"I cannot make a definitive statement at this time," Cobb says with typical scientific reluctance, but the results were astounding and there certainly should be more testing."

Chen evidently was able to effect healings on laboratory mice with cancerous tumors. He also affected tissue cultures and various algae during controlled tests. More tests are scheduled for this year.

One of the key figures responsible for Chen's meteoric rise in scientific circles is former astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell. Mitchell became sold on Chen's ability after witnessing a healing, together with two qualified medical people, Dr. Parker and Dr. E. Stanton Maxey, a Stuart, Fla., surgeon. The patient was Anita Rettig whose kidney infection had been thoroughly diagnosed.

"Her condition was such that any improvement would be dramatic evidence of Chen's ability,'' Mitchell said. The astronaut wanted also to check Chen's ability to diagnose, so he was told nothing of the patient's ailment. "It was a unique test," Mitchell added. "We were going to verify his diagnosis by comparing it with those given by a chiropractor and a medical doctor."

"I'm not sure how the others diagnosed," Chen said, "but Dr. Parker (the chiropractor) came the closest to agreeing with me. She suffered from pyelonephritis, an inflammation of the kidney. I perceived that this infection and her spinal arthritis were both caused by imbalance, vitally and with her hormone system."

Parker and Maxey admitted that Chen had zeroed in on the ailment but of course neither could be certain he was correct about imbalance being the cause. "I noticed the patient was in extreme pain when I touched her during my examination," Parker said. "So when Chen pressed his hands hard against her body during his treatment I was surprised that she showed no sign of pain."

Within days Mrs. Rettig showed no signs of the disorder.

* * *

YES, there are ailments that Norbu Chen has not been able to heal. He is refreshingly frank and honest about this. "Even though I am aware of the law and I know that which I do, there are reasons within every human becoming (he prefers the word becoming to being) that affect the body which are beyond my knowledge."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

TOM VALENTINE was born in San Luis Obispo, Calif., and educated at Long Beach State College and UCLA. After a variety of jobs "from tire recapping to abalone pounding" Tom became a journalist with the "San Luis Obispo Telegram-Tribune" in I960 and has remained in journalism ever since.

In 1969 he became acquainted with the Stelle Group through reading "The Ultimate Frontier" and moved to Illinois to live in the sect's village in Caberry near Kankakee. Currently he is a writer and editor with "National Tattler," a weekly family tabloid.

He is the author of the books "Psychic Mission" with Joseph DeLouise and "Psychic Surgery" (1973) and presently is writing a book on healer Norbu Chen.**

** Info from Google Books - Link: Google Books

Norbu Chen, The Tibetan Way, Hardcover, by Tom valentine (Author). Simon & Schuster (November 15, 1977)

ISBN-10: 0671225693
ISBN-13: 978-0671225698

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