As time went on, he and his wife hung more and more colorful "thankas," Tibetan Buddhist banners, on the walls. The room was fast becoming a beautiful, religious shrine. When the spring came, I asked Tenzin what Tibetans do when they are ill in the spring. He smiled brightly and said, "We sit downwind from flowers." I thought he must be speaking poetically. But Tenzin's words were quite literal. He told me Tibetans sit downwind so they can be dusted with the new blossoms' pollen that floats on the spring breeze. They feel this new pollen is strong medicine. At first, finding enough blossoms seemed a bit daunting. Then, one of my friends suggested that Tenzin visit some of the local flower nurseries. I called the manager of one of the nurseries and explained the situation. The manager's initial response was: "You want to do what?" But when I explained the request, the manager agreed.
So, the next weekend, I picked up Tenzin and his wife with their provisions
for the afternoon: black tea, butter, salt, cups, cookies, prayer beads
and prayer books. I dropped them off at the nursery and assured them I
would return at 5:00. The following weekend, Tenzin and his wife visited
another nursery. The third weekend, they went to yet another nursery. The
fourth week, I began to get calls from the nurseries inviting Tenzin and
his wife to come again. One of the managers said, "We've got a new shipment
of nicotiana coming in and some wonderful fuchsias and oh, yes! Some great
daphne. I know they would love the scent of that daphne! And I almost forgot!
We have some new lawn furniture that Tenzin and his wife might enjoy."
Later that day, I got a call from the second nursery saying that they had
colorful wind socks that would help Tenzin predict where the wind was blowing.
Pretty soon, the nurseries were competing for Tenzin's visits. People began
to know and care about the Tibetan couple. The nursery employees started
setting out the lawn furniture in the direction of the wind. Others would
bring out fresh hot water for their tea. Some of the regular customers
would leave their wagons of flowers near the two of them. It seemed that
a community was growing around Tenzin and his wife. At the end of the summer,
Tenzin returned to his doctor for another CT scan to determine the extent
of the spread of the cancer. But the doctor could find no evidence of cancer
at all. He was dumbfounded. He told Tenzin that he just couldn't explain
it. Tenzin lifted his finger and said, "I know why the cancer has gone
away. It could no longer live in a body that is filled with love. When
I began to feel all the compassion from the hospice people, from the nursery
employees, and all those people who wanted to know about me, I started
to change inside. Now, I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to
heal in this way. Doctor, please don't think that your medicine is the
only cure. Sometimes compassion can cure cancer, as well."