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Rest In Peace: Founder of Tibetan Medical College, Padma Shri Doctor Yeshi Dhonden dies at 92 years

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Dharamshala: Renowned practitioner of Tibetian medicine and Padma Shri Awardee, Dr Yeshi Dhonden, passed away at the age of 92 in McLeodganj in Himachal Pradesh on Tuesday.

Speaking to media persons here, a family member informed that Dhonden complained of respiratory difficulties on Monday, after which they called Dr Tsetan Dorji of Delek Hospital for consultation.

Aside from the respiratory problem, he had no other health issues. He died at home on Tuesday at 2:53 am, with family members at his bedside, the family member said.

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The cremation will take place on Friday morning in McLeodganj.

Renowned Tibetian doctor Dhonden has been in the past, the personal healer to Dalai Lama. Earlier this year he announced that he would no longer be treating patients.  Citing his old age health reasons, Dr Yeshi has given up his practice and has decided to shut down his medical centre at Mcleodganj.

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Read Also: Padma Shri awardee doctor gives up practice

The 92 years old doctor Dhonden was known as the foremost expert in a Tibetan medicine, known as Sowa-Rigpa,  that draws on centuries-old techniques such as blood-letting, cupping, and moxibustion — burning herbs on energy points of the body — to try to heal ailments. The practice draws on aspects of traditional Chinese medicine and India’s Ayurvedic system as well as its own unique theories and treatments. It also features spiritual practices including meditation and Buddhist prayer. His Tibetian medicine treatment his attracted devotees from all over the globe, hoping for help with conditions from back pain to cancer and degenerative diseases. Dhonden is also the founder of Men-Tsee-Khang or the Tibetan Medical College.

Born on May 15, 1927, at the age of 11, Dhonden joined the Chakpori Institute of Tibetan Medicine, in the Tibetan capital Lhasa, where he studied for nine years.

After the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959, he accompanied the 14th Dalai Lama to India and lived in Dharamshala.

Dhonden was appointed director and chief medical officer when the Dalai Lama started Men-Tsee-Khang, a charitable institution, in Dharamshala in 1961. He served in that capacity till 1966.

The elderly monk served as the personal physician to the Dalai Lama from 1963 to 1980.

Dhonden started his own private clinic in McLeodganj in 1969. He is best known for curing cancer patients, who have shared their testimonies of the success of his treatment.

Last year, the Government of India honoured the elderly monk with the Padma Shri, the country’s fourth-highest civilian award.

He ended his practice in April this year due to advancing age and declining health.

Dhonden has authored three books – Health Through Balance: An Introduction to Tibetan Medicine (1986), Healing from the Source: The Science and Lore of Tibetan Medicine (2000), and The Ambrosia of Heart Tantra (2006).

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