Norbu Chen is the only American citizen ever to qualify as a Tibetan gelong and to earn the honorary title of lama. A former Kentucky farm boy, he studied under Lama Norbu Lampas in the tiny Asian nation of Sikkim [actually a state in India] where he earned the title which has now become his legal name.
Chen does not believe in "faith" and would prefer to have the 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 Way * or method.
* Modern spelling: Drukpa. Wikipedia
After three and a half years in the gompa (monastery) he was finally ready to take the tests.
"To prove we had learned to control our bodies with our minds, we had to pass three simple tests. We had to pass a needle through our hands without pain or bleeding. We had to hold hot coals in each hand but show no signs of burns; and finally we had to cut an artery in the wrist, bleed momentarily into a bowl, and then stop the bleeding – or die."
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