Strange Kindness

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When Mabel (Chu, Cho-Shin) Tow (1914–1999), one of the first Chinese women to practice medicine in China and the United States, shares her story with us, we may experience "the tender gravity of kindness" (the generative transmission of her lineage). That lineage becomes Tow's blend of Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Christianity. Mabel Tow was a boundary-crosser by being a Christian in China and a Chinese woman in America. In this reflective work, eight authors share their unique author-reader relationships with Strange Kindness as they dramatize further how Tow crossed the boundaries of gender, culture, religion, language, tradition, and medical practices. They vividly illustrate Tow's lineage-in-transmission, moving all into "tikkum olam," the poetic act of repairing the world.

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Editorial Reviews

Guangying Zhou
There is some transmission that occurs between great masters and anyone observing them and listening to them, not only through what they say, but through what they leave out. This has been such an integral part of our training in the Classical Chinese Medicine tradition, and Dr. Chu Tow proves to be a great master by continuing this through her story. Her story touches our hearts and makes us better people and in the process, better healers.
David Naimon
Tow was a foreign navigator of American culture, yet a practitioner of Western medicine whose life unfolded in a distinctly Taoist way: by the paradoxical principle of wu wei, action arising from non-action. A Mandarin speaker in an English world, and a gentle soul that through yielding was able to over-turn social convention, Mabel's life unfolded according to its own dictates.
Stephen Rojcewicz
Healing, as practiced by Tow and by all those who are physician-poets in their souls, combines the technical mastery of a medical problem with the response of the whole human being to the mystery of death and suffering...Tow's life and work are thus an integration of traditional Chinese medicine with modern western holistic medicine, an intersection of the humanities with the healing arts, a balance of empathy and intuition with scientific knowledge. Tow has overcome Snow's dichotomy of the Two Cultures of science and humanities, and has created a bridge between traditional Chinese and western medicine. Strange Kindness is a wonderful, inspiring example of holistic medicine, and of the promise of poetry therapy.
Kim Stafford
This book does what its story tells: kindness comes to you, and you long to pass it on. For how is it in the modern world? Stress at work causes me pain—I cannot turn my head. A friend with cancer, stage 3, gives himself to a Chinese doctor, and tells me softly, when we visit, that old ways will save him. You, reader, what needs balance in your life, in the blow and ricochet of your days? In this book, in the company of Dr. Tow—in her biographical poem, and in the generous considerations of her friends—there waits a way of seeing that will be your treasure. Be kind. Enter this garden. Save the small creature you are.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761838814
  • Publisher: University Press of America
  • Publication date: 11/1/2007
  • Pages: 162
  • Product dimensions: 0.37 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 6.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Melissa Ann (Mei An) Reed teaches English literature and theatre arts for the International Baccalaureate Program at KDU Smart School in Malaysia. She received her Ph.D. in theatre arts from the University of Minnesota.

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Table of Contents

Part 1 Foreword Part 2 Preface Part 3 Acknowledgements Chapter 4 Introduction Part 5 I: Strange Kindness Part 6 II: Strange Kindness Commentaries Chapter 7 Benevolence, Courage, Humility, and Keen Observation: Tow's Classical Chinese Medical Arts Chapter 8 Reading Strange Kindness from Confucian and Taoist Perspectives Chapter 9 Harmony of Kindness and Strange: Reading Strange Kindness through the Lenses of Holistic, Western Medical Art and Poetry Therapy Chapter 10 Little Bamboo: A Five-Element Study of a Life Fully Lived Chapter 11 Heart-mind Biopoetics and Tow's Moon Door Chapter 12 Mabel Cho-Shin Tow Part 13 Author Biographies

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