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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

How would you like to be remembered?

July 29, 2010

by Eric Tetens
July 27, 2010

Not just as simple as when you leave a room, a
job, or a neighborhood, but when your last days
are not decades away, but merely months? That is
the question that David Lee Lerner, the creative
and financial driving force behind the Medicine
Buddha application available for free globally via iTunes, had to answer.

David’s path to creating this app started with a
walk along Lake Michigan in March of 2007. This
was a favorite walk that he took regularly, with
his girlfriend Stacy, to get away from the noise
and busyness of the city. It was during one of
these walks on an unusually warm spring day that
it began. The walk became painful, too painful
for words. They were without a mobile phone, and
there was no way to wave down a cab with a four
foot retaining wall between them and Lake Shore Drive.

Luckily Stacy was a licensed physical therapist.
They walked a little, then David lay down on the
cold cement and Stacy did her best to stretch him
out and alleviate some of the pain. This was
repeated until they made their way back home.
What should have taken them less than 30 minutes
turned into an endurance session.

The symptoms did not go away, in fact they got
worse. There were repeated visits to doctors and
finally the diagnosis, stage IV prostate cancer
that had spread throughout his body. The doctors
gave him three to six months to live, he would be lucky to make it to December.

At 43 and in excellent health, this is the last
thing anyone would expect to hear. David did not
view his treatment schedule as a fight with
cancer, rather his cancer was just a part of who
he was, working with the disease to slow its
progression and enjoying every moment of every
day. While going in for treatment he saw a large
cross section of the people who were similarly
afflicted. People who were scared and in pain,
just like David. He was a faithful listener of
the Daily Buddhist Prayers ~ something to focus
on in times of calm and in times of distress or
anxiety. While he was often times in great pain
from the ravages of the disease he would listen
to these Prayers for calming and comfort,
especially in the middle of the night when sleep proved difficult.

Not letting prostate cancer get the better of
him, David continued to work and live his life to
the fullest. December 2007 came and went and
David was still standing under the heavy
assignments of radiation and chemotherapy. As the
disease ate away at his body, his soul grew that
much stronger. He proposed to his longtime
girlfriend Stacy on Christmas Eve of 2007 and
they wed on April 5th of 2008. He moved from
Chicago to Omaha and started a new life.

He continued to listen to the Daily Prayers and
had the Medicine Buddha nearby at all of his
medical appointments for comfort, peace and guidance.

An idea came to him -- wondering if the creators
of the Daily Buddhist Prayers would consider
creating an application for the iPhone for the Medicine Buddha prayers?

So, he sought out the developer to see if he
would consider creating this application. After
just a few conversations, they agreed and David
was excited about the project. He spoke
passionately about how special it would be to him
if he could fund this application and bring
comfort, peace and guidance to the world. Upon
learning David’s condition, the developer,
Thupten N Chakrishar of dropped
all his project and devoted full time working on the project.

As the work accelerated on the project, so did
David’s disease but his spirit was strengthened.
On March 14th he realized a dream when he took
his Bodhisattva Vow via the internet from the
Chicago Shambhala Center. A little over two weeks
later, early in the morning on April 3rd David
entered the hospital in desperate condition. The
medical staff stabilized him, but there wasn’t
much time left. He continued to oversee the app,
this time dictating his instructions via email.

On Thursday, April 8th (his wife Stacy’s
birthday), with the great help of the Thupten and
a friend in Chicago, David got to see the
application in full view via live internet
broadcast while surrounded by a few close friends
and family. David had tears in his eyes and
happiness in his heart that this dream became a
reality and he was able to witness it prior to
his death. He was especially happy to see the
dedication read to his wife by the Thupten from New York.

"I dedicate this app to my wife Stacy Lynn
Lerner, who through her love and commitment heals
me every day. She showed me the way of compassion
before I had even drank one ounce of the dharma.
She lives an exemplary life with a heart full of
patience, understanding and passion. She has my
respect and complete love for this and all future lives. Peace my sweetheart."

David passed away in his sleep on Sunday, April
11, 2010 with family by his bedside. The Medicine
Buddha app, his lasting legacy, is available for free to the world on iTunes.

The Medicine Buddha Application for iPhone was
created by Thupten N Chakrishar and his team of They are a Buddhist application
development company for mobile devices.

The creation of this application was also greatly
supported by Yangbum Gyal, TMD, David’s Tibetan
Medicine Doctor and a good friend.
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