Dr. Yeshi Dhonden was born on 15 May 1927 to a poor 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 11, studied at Chagpori Tibetan Medical Institute in Lhasa under Khyenrab Norbu, passing his exams with distinction at the age of 20.
In 1959, Yeshi Dhonden accompanied the Dalai Lama when he fled the Chinese invasion of Tibet. In India, Yeshi Dhonden was instrumental in the founding of the Tibetan Medical and Astro-science Institute (Men-Tsee Khang) in Dharamsala. From 1961–80, Yeshi Dhonden served as personal physician to the Dalai Lama, and 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.
Traditional Tibetan medicine employs a complex approach to diagnosing illness, incorporating techniques such as pulse analysis and urinalysis, and treating ailments through the application of behavioral and dietary modification, naturally sourced medicines composed of herbs and minerals, and physical therapies such as acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, and blood-letting. It also emphasizes Buddhist spiritual practices, including meditation and prayer.
During his years as a physician, Dhonden relied primarily on his own senses to ascertain the health of vital organs and diagnose his patients’ ailments. “I don’t go for tests like X-ray and all. I trust myself. I just test the pulse and the urine,” he once explained, noting that the color, bubble formations, sediment, and smell of urine samples were all taken into account when making a diagnosis.
(source: www.buddhistdoor. net)