Eminent traditional medicine master bows out to new rules

I, Dungtsho Sherub Jordan, a practitioner of traditional Sowa Rigpa medicine, in Hongtsho would like to make the following statement to all patients with whom I have a longstanding connection.

Since the age of eight in 1943, I was admitted to the Lhodrak Monastery and at the age of 17, sent by His Holiness the 6th Namkhai Nyingpo Rinpoche and Lhodrak Monastery to study medicine at Chagpori Medical College in Lhasa, where I studied very hard to become a traditional physician.

In 1959, I accompanied Namkhai Nyingpo Rinpoche to Bhutan and since then I have been practicing medicine here to help the common people. In 1967, when His Majesty, the Third Druk Gyalpo established the indigenous medical services in Dechenchholing, I was assigned to work on it along with Drungtsho Pema Dorji.

In 1977, I submitted a proposal for the extension of indigenous hospital, and graciously received His Majesty’s command through the late Home Minister Tamji Jagar to shift the Indigenous Hospital from Dechencholing to Kawajangsa.  One more indigenous doctor popularly known as Lhadhak Amji who also studied medicine in Lhasa Chagpori with late Dungtsho Pema Dorji and me joined me in 1977. It took more than 3 years and on completion of the construction, the same was shifted to Kawajangsa in 1981.

I have been personally involved in collecting and making about 95% of the medicines.

Meanwhile with instructions from the government, we recruited few young Bhutanese selected from Semtokha School as apprentices. Under the supervision of Ladakh Amji, the studies and training of indigenous medicines were undertaken in Dechencholing while Dungtsho Pema Dorji and I shifted to the newly constructed Indigenous Hospital which is now expanded and has become vibrant Indigenous Hospital with all modern facilities today.

The facts narrated above are known to all and can be ascertained from the existing indigenous doctors still serving in the hospital. This can also be testified by many people over 75 years of age today. Between 1967 and 1997, I have given my time and dedication to promoting traditional medicine and providing treatment to the sick in Bhutan.

Since my retirement in 1997, I have been living as a simple religious person in a hermitage and I have not practiced for commercial gain and profit as mentioned in the government order no MHH/BMHC/11/2015/503 sent on 19.8.2015.

However, I have provided medical services to people in need as a lot of the people, who know my experience and healing ability flock to my hermitage. They claim that my treatment is beneficial and that they cannot afford to get expensive treatment abroad. In response to such request and pressure, I have been treating people between 12 and 2 pm.

These groups of people are mostly the ones who could not afford to travel outside the country for medical treatment where a substantial amount of money is required. I have been collecting a nominal fee of Nu 200 per patient and the money so collected are offered and donated for annual Moenlam Chhenmo, fasting rituals and Drupchen performed for the welfare of the country and its people which can all be ascertained from the money receipts kept with me.

I may mention here that I have been practicing this medical profession for over 56 years since I was 24 years old and had the opportunity to render medical services to great personalities such as Her Majesty the Late Royal Grand Mother Ashi Phuntsho Choden, Dudjom Rinpoche, Dilgo Khyentshe Rinpoche and other important religious figures in Bhutan besides the general public but I have not received complaints or heard of any person complaining that the medical treatment given by me had a harmful and detrimental effect on them.

I am now eighty and recently, I have been served with the letter from the Medical Council disallowing me to practice this profession failing which the matter would be dealt in accordance with the Medical Council Act.

Although it is disheartening and sad to get such a letter at this age, nevertheless, from my personal point of view it is indeed a source of big boon and a blessing in disguise. This is because it would enable me to remain in solitude in my resting place with peace and tranquility and without disturbances. With this, I humbly express my sincere gratitude to the Medical Council of Bhutan and I would like to fervently request all the concerned patients suffering due to imbalance of elements not to visit me and leave me alone so that I can fully devote my remaining life of 1-2 years to a purposeful and meaningful life of prayers and meditation.

In conclusion, I would like to apologize for not being able to serve you and I will pray particularly for those who have received medical treatment from me in establishing a karmic link to congregate in the suffering free state of the non-dual realm and the mandala of Medicinal Buddha of enlightenment.

By Dungtsho Sherab Jorden,

Flower Garden Hermitage, Hongtsho

The Letter was originally in Dzongkha but was translated by the Dungtsho’s patients for public information.

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