(May 15, 1027 – Nov 26, 2019)
Dr Yeshi Dhonden, a doctor of Tibetan Medicine who attracted hordes of patients from across India and abroad and who won a Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian honour, last year has passed away in the early hours of Nov 26 at his home at Mcleod Ganj, Dharamsala, aged 92. He succumbed to respiratory difficulty and had no other ailments.
Born on 15 May 1927 into a popular lineage of Tibetan Medicine practitioners in Lhokha, he joined a monastery at the age of six. At 11 he joined the Chakpori Institute of Tibetan Medicine in Tibet’s capital Lhasa established way back in 1696 by the then regent of Tibet Sangay Gyatso.
After arriving in India in 1959 in the general Tibetan exodus, Dr Yeshi Dhonden became the Director and Chief Medical Officer of Men-Tsee-Khang in Mar 1961. This was a continuation in exile at Dharamsala of a medical college by the same name established in Tibet’s capital Lhasa by the 13th Dalai Lama in 1916. He served on that post till 1966 but continued to remain a personal physician of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from 1963 to 1980.
He set up his private clinic at Mcleod Ganj in 1969. Over the years it became particularly popular among people suffering from all sorts of chronic ailments, including cancer.
He closed his practice on Apr 1 this year, citing his advanced age.
Dr Yeshi Dhonden has written or co-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).