About DHI and Hillary Adrian Han

Dharma Healing International has just turned 24 years old. It all began in 1985 when Greg Hitt and I came to Koh Samui for a holiday. After several months of enjoying the island life I decided that I would definitely be coming back to set up a healing center. We returned in June of 1987, and within several months set up the Samui Language Intercultural Learning Center, teaching Thai language to foreigners and English to Thais. I also began teaching Hatha Yoga, Meditation, water movement, and offered nutritional and psycho/spiritual counseling.

Without any idea of how long we would stay on Koh Samui our love for the island and the people motivated us to set roots here by learning the language and working on translations of Ahjan Buddhadasa Bhikku’s Dharma talks, studying the history of the island, going to the Buddhist temple to listen to Dharma talks, connecting with community and offering free English and art classes to local children and young adults. Within a few months the Thai labor department contracted me to design and teach English training programs to the government hospital nurses and doctors, new airport staff in 1990, to students of all ages at various elementary schools, high schools and universities, as well as to many of the newly built hotels around Koh Samui.

In November of 1993 Shelley Fines, a guru in the fasting world, came to visit. Shelley wanted to create a fasting program on the Bay of Peace. In a very short few hours we rented the present bungalow we are in now and began receiving fasters by word and mouth. Every time someone would leave we would give them 10 flyers to spread around while traveling. During those early days we only received “walk ins”. We had a telephone but few people would contact us.

Soon the number of fasters grew and Shelley was very generous with training Greg and I on the rudiments of helping others to fast. We both already had experience with fasting ourselves but had little experience in fasting others. We learned quite quickly and after 6 months Shelley decided to go to Australia and open a program there, leaving the fasting program on Koh Samui to Greg and me. That was when we founded the Samui Dharma Healing Center and began offering the full course program according to Buddha Dharma teachings.

In 2001 Greg went on to other pursuits and I became the sole director of Dharma Healing International. Over the years the program has changed; it has grown and evolved as I have grown and evolved with more classes and updated research, emphasizing the current need for self-responsibility in one’s own healing, spiritual empowerment and divine presence in our relationships. The course, as stated, has an increasing focus on how the fasting experience influences our role as co-creators of a global spiritual community founded on Pure Spirit, Pure Heart, Pure Body and Pure Intention.

Hillary’s History

In order for you to get a good understanding of the core purpose behind Dharma Healing International I am going to write a short synopsis of where and when healing as a way of life started for me. You could say it is not a very different history from many of the 50s’ baby boomer stories on a similar path of wellbeing, spiritual healing and ecological sustainability. . .

My first experiences in fasting began when I was 11 years old on Saturdays when I would go to the synagogue to chant with the Cantor. I felt so happy and clear that I began to do longer fasts, first one week then two and then three week fasts. The first three week fast was in celebration of my 8th grade graduation. Fasting allowed me to feel apart from the other kids, the social and hormonal pressures and get excited about simple things, like God, nature, or dharma.

When I was 16 my mother took me to my first Yoga class but I began to study Hatha Yoga more intensely with a daily practice when I was 19 at the Integral Yoga Institute in San Francisco. During this period of my life from 1969 to 1973 in the Bay Area, a renaissance was taking place, not only in Northern California but in me and many, many other people. I became a strict vegetarian, mostly a raw foods diet. I began studying the healing powers of foods and the human body along with medicinal herbs. My first job around healthy eating was at The Good Karma Café, a macrobiotic restaurant, on Dolores and 18th Street in San Francisco. Becoming a vegetarian in 1969 was challenging, not like it is now. The infrastructure wasn’t use to us yet. It was often times alienating and lonely for me, and pushed me to spend a great deal of time alone experimenting with eating rituals, meditation, writing chants, and hitchhiking all over Northern California.

Going into solitary retreat at this time in Mill Valley, California while living in a little redwood cottage, I began to fast more often, also, I started to study a vast number of subjects, such as: Jungian Psychology, The World Religions, Buddha Dharma, Madame Blavatsky, Astrology, Cultural Anthropology, Mazdaznan ancient healing art from Persia, chanting in my own language as a form of healing myself and others, Zen Meditation, Kundalini Yoga-living at the 3HO ashram in San Rafael California founded by Yogi Bhajan in 1971. I studied a form of Martial Arts called “The Changing Way” founded by Michael Gneck; also Eckankar-Soul Travel, Edgar Cayce, Madame Blavatsky, Alice Bailey and the Ageless Wisdom, Weaving and piano.
A few years later in 1973 I started teaching for the first time in Cave Junction, Oregon at Aunt Billie’s Kindergarten and then a year later took over the Illinois Valley Nursery School. I also offered some of the first Yoga classes in Oregon at the Cave Junction Community Building and foot reflexology treatments, charging $1.00 per class/session.

After attending several junior colleges I received my ScB degree from Oregon State University in 1981 and fled to Stanley, Idaho to do a 14 day trek into the Saw Tooth Mountains with my good friend Maryellen Easom. After that life changing experience both of us were determined to move to Stanley.
I happened to see an ad for a kayak for sale on the poster board of the general store after this epic treck. Anxious to find out about that kayak we followed the map to where it was. Just down the road, on the Salmon River, at the junction from the store, was a very striking, big, log house that made our jaws drop. We rang the bell and a beautiful woman with blonde hair in her early 40s answered, telling us she was the owner of the kayak and the house.
Then the story got interesting, she invited us in and our eyes left where we were standing in awe of every corner of that log house. She then told us that she and her husband ran a cross-country ski touring business in the winter where they took people up into the Saw Tooth’s to stay in yurts, and that they were looking for two cooks.

Maryellen and I looked at each other and together loudly called out, “We are interested!”
We went back to Corvallis, Oregon where Maryellen waited for several months to hear whether we were the lucky ones for the job, and I flew off to Peru for several months.

Then just before I was set to depart we received word that we had been chosen! After my trip to Peru I drove to Stanley where we spent the winter cooking beautiful meals for the ski tours and skiing the food into the yurts on occasion. I ended up staying 1 whole year to manage the lodge during the summer. Maryellen married and stayed in Stanley becoming the 1 room school house teacher and later principle. She is still there to this day.
My trip to Peru inspired me for the next adventure. After leaving Stanley, Idaho I was lucky to have been awarded a small stipend grant from The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago to search for Andean Healers and collect medicinal plants in the Atacama Desert.

After 5 months of living in both the town of Moquegua https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moquegua_Region  and high up in several small villages I returned to the US to live and work at Oregon State University. It was very difficult being back in the states for me then, which was 1983, after spending time studying with several curanderos/curanderos, shamans and brujos; living in adobe huts, sleeping on the dry mud floor, bathing in the local springs . . . life was never the same again for me.

Another lucky break came for me when I applied and was chosen for a teaching post in China at Zhejiang Agricultural University where I would teach Chinese teachers American culture and Anthropology and prepare them to study and teach in the US. This felt like a continuation of my first visit to Peru. Planning for this trip, with very little money I wrote letters to universities in the countries I longed to visit, contacting professors who taught classes in shamanic studies and traditional healing. Soon I bought a ticket around the world, starting with Peru where I continued my study of searching for traditional Andean healers.

From Peru I traveled to La Paz, Bolivia, Buenos Aires, then I flew to Brazil where I caught another plane to South Africa; traveled to Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and then flew to India. In each country I was welcomed and treated kindly by university professors and their families, while being able to learn about the types of traditional healing taking place.

Finally arriving in Hong Kong with my visa to China in hand I bought a ticket on a 3 day cruise trip to Shanghai. . I taught in Hangzhou, China for 5 months and traveled back to Hong Kong in route to live in Japan from 1985 to 1986.
In 1986 my interest in doing a study in education and Buddhism took me back to the states to pursue an EdM, Masters in Education degree-program at The Harvard Graduate School of Education, where in 1987 I received that above degree. Luckily, I was able to also take classes in Medical Anthropology and Mahayana Buddhism at the Harvard Divinity School and do an internship as a nutritionist at the Pain and Stress Relief Clinic founded by Ted Kuptchuk at the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital.


Upon moving to Koh Samui I became a student of the now deceased Venerable Buddhist Monk Scholar Ajahn Bhikkhu Buddhadasa. During my stay in Thailand over the last 31 years I have been working on translations of several of the great teacher's Dharma texts. I teach Dharma of both the Theravada and Mahayana traditions. I also teach the Anapanasati (Mindfulness With Breathing) Meditation practice taught at Suan Mokkh, The Garden of Liberation, located in Chaiya in Suratthani, and Teepawan in Koh Samui.

In my profession I emphasize inner child work and rebirthing through the fasting process, while utilizing Buddhist psychology and philosophy in healing and education. As fasting is a very necessary practice for guiding students, teachers and practitioners of all kinds into themselves, Buddhist philosophy in education is student centered—all mental and spiritual development and progress is brought about through the student’s ”work” on themselves. For the last 44 years I have been teaching, designing programs and curriculums for individuals and groups following the evolution of my life practice--according to Buddhist principles, incorporating not only fasting but also Iridology, Archetypal Astrology, Bio-Spiritual Nutrition, Psyco/Spiritual inquiry, Meditation, Self-Reiki,Yoga, such as Kundalini, Kriya, Hatha, Pranayama, Karmic, Jyana, The Ageless Wisdom tradition, Ascended Masters, Chakra-Qi, Raw and Healing Foods, Self-Reflexology and devotional aerobic movement such as swimming, Yoga, dancing, running, hiking in the jungle and cycling.
Since 1994 close to 7,000 plus people of Thai and foreign nationalities, of all ages, religious and economic backgrounds have visited Dharma Healing International.

I am truly grateful to the numerous interns, teachers, healers, helpers and fasters who have come to join and assist me in the maintenance, development and spirit of the program over the years, contributing a great deal of time and energy. I want to thank Greg Hitt, Raja Tamaran, my wonderful webmasters Erwin Buse and Kim Carter, Rebecca Andrist, Rod McCormick, Carole Warren Bradshaw, Lynne Pressman-Thill, Winnie Rode, Annabelle Choo, Bruce Schuman, Renee and Chad Conover, Deborah White, Natasha Song, Siri Anand, Anoon (who died in 2007), Gittporn and Doang, Nipapan, Rebecca Welland, Sean Dahlen, Chuck Creel, Noom and Wanida Jitjong; Pim, Su Ton, Pi Boon, Pijit, Pisit, Jumni and Teera Nantapanit, Emmie McMullen, Claire Robinson, Becky Nodding, Sara Avant Stover, Jamie Mushin, Frank Ragusa, Krishnataki, Caesar Musso ( first came when he was 60 and came every year for 20 years), John Robarge, Joyce Curran, Yiorgo Kristos, Siri from Norway, Sandi Johannessen, Tisha Wheeler, Anne Hockett, Meghan Pappenheim, Rebecca Pflaum, Paul Dallighan, Shelley Poplack, Jeanne Lim, Errol Campbell, Cara Appleyard, Kristen Hoye, Jenee Hallick and Billie Mcleod, Ange Tsui, Amy Sharp, Ricardo Neuman, Kylie Terraluna, Sandy Riddhi Wu, Janice Williams, April White, Kum, Pon and Sonia Zit and many, many more.
I am also sincerely grateful to say that Dharma Healing International has inspired many interns, teachers and healers to pursue further studies in the teaching and healing arts of their choice, including a profession of fasting others.

From my deepest heart I am happy to promote the following DHI alumni-friends who offer their own wonderful cleansing-detox-fasting, Yoga, renewal, raw foods and miscellaneous healthy businesses around the world:

Rebecca Andrist www.jivahealing.com

Carole Warren Bradshaw www.imi.com.hk

Anne Hockett www.youhealing.org

Rebecca Phlaum www.nayaubud.com www.chakrama.com

Jamie Mushin www.quitforlifethebook.com.au

Dana Heather www.balancedlivingasia.com

Sara Avant Stover www.thewayofthehappywoman.com

Jasminika Dolfi www.worldcare.dk

Patrick O'Connor www.thefastingpath.com

Becky Nodding www.naturalinstincthealing.com

Dieter Buchner

Patricia Kersulec www.vitaminn.be

Sandy Riddhi Wu www.livingearthwisdom.com

Michelle Ayn Tessensohn www.visionarypassages.com

Ebony P. Allard www.entrepreneurenabler.com

Susan Kee Thulin www.manasa-yoga.com

Suzanne Goodwin www.suzannegoodwinphotography.com

Errol Campbell www.sacredspiritretreats.com

Conni Biesalski www.connibiesalski.com

Helen Mileham www.foodisglorious.co.uk

Paul Crouse www.PaulCrouse.com

Sean Dahlen www.innerstanding.org

Emmie McMullen

Meghan Pappenheim www.balispirit.com

Daphne Tse www.daphnetse.com

Kimberly Werner Garner www.dwellosophy.com

Deb Shearer

April White www.artofaprilwhite.com

Kya Moore http://kinesiologycastlemaine.blogspot.com.au

Elizabeth Coetzee www.rangolihealth.com

Luke Hancock www.sacred-place.com


If you have joined us in the past and I have forgotten you, I am happy to add a link to your website. Please email it to hillaryadrian@yahoo.com. Healthy Blessings to You All!





Hillary Adrian Han, Director
and Co-founder of the Samui
Dharma Healing Center

Hillary and Students at the Sala


In the Open Air Class Room.


Full Moon


Hillary at the waterfall in 1999


Kamala and Hillary


Winnie and John Singing Bowl Class
May 2009


All Images and Text © 2016 Dharma Healing International, Hillary Adrian Han.
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