Personal Physician To H.H. the Dalai Lama Passes Away

The following article is from the Spring, 2001 issue of the Snow Lion Newsletter and is for historical reference only. You can see this in context of the original newsletter here.



Dr. Tenzin Choedrak,  Master of Tibetan Medicine

One of the most eminent masters of Tibetan Medicine, Dr. Tenzin Choedrak, recently passed away. Born in Shigatse (Tibet) in 1924, he began his study of Tibetan Medicine at the age of 17 under the guidance of Dr. Shekar Tsultrim Tenzin.

In 1941, he joined the Lhasa Men-Tsee-Khang College and graduated in 1952 with a Menpa Kachupa Degree. Three years later he was appointed as the Personal Physician of His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama.

After the Chinese invasion in 1959, he was imprisoned by the Chinese for nearly 20 years in Chow-Chin Prison (China), Sangyip Prison (Tibet), and Se-thue Prison (Tibet) during which he underwent severe mental and physical torture. In September, 1979, after his release from prison, he left Tibet for India and was re-appointed as the Personal Physician to His Holiness in February, 1980.

He served as the Chief Medical Officer, Director of the Pharmaceutical Department, Advisor to the Pharmaceutical Department, Research Department, Materia Medica Department, Herbal Product and Research Department of Men-Tsee-Khang.

Dr. Choedrak first visited the West in 1984. In 1987, he visited New York, Washington D.C., Phoenix and San Francisco. He was interested in working with Westerners to investigate the use of Tibetan Medicine for cancer, hepatitis, arthritis and AIDS.

In the following years, he frequently traveled to other countries to conduct medical consultations, lecture, and exhibit and promote Tibetan medicine at conferences. His passing on April 6, 2001, in Dharamshala, India is a great loss to the world of Tibetan medicine.

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