Dharamshala: President Dr Lobsang Sangay of Central Tibetan Administration expressed profound grief over the demise of world-renowned Tibetan doctor and former physician to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Dr Yeshi Dhonden, who breathed his last at his residence in Mcleodganj at 2:53 AM Tuesday morning.
“Profoundly sad to learn about the demise of globally known Tibetan medicine expert and Padma Shree awardee Dr Yeshi Dhonden,” the President said in his condolence message.
“May he be reborn soon and continue to serve humanity. I had the privilege of meeting him on several occasions. Dr Dhonden’s contribution to expanding the reach of Tibetan medicine and extending its benefits to thousands will be long remembered.”
The Sikyong-led Kashag also expressed condolences on the passing away of Dr Dhonden and paid earnest tribute to his meaningful service to the Tibetan community and the world at large. The Kashag offered prayers for his swift and noble rebirth.
Dr Yeshi Dhonden, 93, was the foremost Tibetan doctor around the world who was widely respected and recognised for his effectual treatment of cancer patients.
Dr Yeshi Dhonden was born on 15 May 1927 to a peasants family in the village of Namro in central Tibet’s Lhoga District. He entered monastic life when he was six years old and, from the age of 12, studied at Lhasa Men Tsee Khang under, among other teachers, his uncle the famous Tibetan doctor and teacher Khenrab Norbu, passing his exams with distinction at the age of 20.
In 1959, Dr Yeshi Dhonden accompanied His Holiness the Dalai Lama when he fled the Chinese invasion of Tibet. In India, Dr Yeshi Dhonden was instrumental in the founding of the Tibetan Medical and Astro-science Institute (Men-Tsee Khang) in Dharamsala. From 1960–80, while he served as personal physician to the Dalai Lama, he also held office as both director and principal of Men-Tsee Khang until 1979. He continued to practice medicine from a small private clinic he established in Dharamsala in 1969 until his retirement earlier this year.
On 20 March 2018, the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, conferred the Padma Shri of Medicine to Dr Dhonden at the Rashtrapati Bhavan for his contributions in the field of medicine through Sowa Rigpa, the traditional Tibetan medicine. Padma Shri is the fourth-highest civilian award in India. Dr Dhonden officially retired from medical practise on 1 April 2019 due to advancing age and health reasons.