Curing Cancer, the Tibetan Way: A Tribute to Doctor Yeshi Dhonden

Tibetan medical practitioner Yeshi Dhonden sits inside a room at his Tibetan Herbal Clinic in the Indian town of Dharamsala. Image Credit: AFP

The noted Tibetan doctor Yeshi Dhonden has passed away leaving behind innumerable cancer patients who he cured in his lifetime with his magical touch and immense knowledge of Buddhist medicine.

Yeshi Dhonden was 93 and passed away at his residence in McLeodganj. He had been practicing buddhist medicine all his life and had recently retired from his practice, owing to old age. Yeshi Dhonden started a medical centre in the main market of McLeodganj, Dharamshala and it attracted cancer patients from both India and abroad. 

He was so revered and so well-known that one could see huge lines of patients waiting outside his centre, just in order to get an audience with him. 

Patients who came to him had such profound faith in his knowledge of Tibetan medicine as well as his healing touch that physical distances did not seem to cause any difficulty, people from remote corners of India and the world would travel to be cured by Yeshi Dhonden.

Yeshi Dhonden was known globally for treating cancer patients using the traditional Tibetan style of medicine. 

It was only during the last year that his centre had become less active, owing to many health complications that Yeshi Dhonden had to go through due to old age. 

He was also responsible for promoting health tourism in Dharamshala and had received many prestigious awards during his lifetime including the Padma Shri.

He served as the personal physician to the Dalai Lama for a long time. He is best known for his immense knowledge of the Tibetan medicinal system called the Sowa-rigpa.

Yeshi Dhonden used to attend to over 40 patents on a daily basis but would give each one of the patients his time and attention.

He also served as the former director of the Tibetan Astro and Medical Institute that has global operations now, Dhonden did not rely on allopathy and diagnosed patients based on fresh urine samples and pulse rates.

He created his medicines from fresh herbs and for many cancer patients it meant renewed life energy.

He did not look at X-rays or any other lab report, he would just check whether the urine and the pulse of the patients were normal or whether there were cancer cells in the body that have been effecting it.

One of his disciples had opened a clinic in Garoh to fill the void, but what patients and local inhabitants felt was that what made Yeshi Dhonden special was not just his expertise over Tibetan medicine but also his magical touch and immense warmth towards his patients. 

His careful concern, his wise and empathetic eyes and his sustained spiritual engagement with his patients turned him not just into an able doctor but a holistically empowered healer.

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