|Monday:|| 10:00am to 4:00pm
|Wednesday:||10:00am to 4:00pm|
|Saturday:||10:00am to 4:00pm|
In 1978, when the retreat centre at Namo Buddha was established, there were some monks practicing there, but there were no health care facilities. When the monks got sick they had to walk to the nearest city, as they had no transportation. Some of the monks in the shedra, such as Lama Wangdue, Lama Pema Tsewang, and Lama Dawa, kept some common medicines on hand to give to monks and villagers when they got sick. The villagers were happy to know that the monks could provide them with medicine.
After a while, some of Rinpoche’s disciples began coming to Namo Buddha to meditate and would bring medicines with them. In this way the monks were able to help the local people. Rinpoche thought that the monks at Namo Buddha as well as many villagers were being benefited by this.
In 1994 Lama Yonten joined the shedra, and Rinpoche told him that because of his family medical heritage it would be best if he could take care of patients at the same time. Soon, foreign volunteers began coming from time to time to offer their help, working with the monks and teaching them about medicine. In 1994 Rinpoche decided that there should be a clinic at Namo Buddha and began to look for sponsors.
A disciple of Rinpoche’s from Germany sponsored the construction of a two-room clinic near the shedra building. A local doctor was hired, and volunteers would sometimes come to help. Lama Yonten, Jamyang Dorje, and Tsering Gyurmey treated the villagers but faced great difficulty: The clinic building had no running water and no toilet. Lama Yonten explained the problems to Rinpoche, who said that if funds could be raised from sponsors, a new clinic building could be built near the gate, at the edge of the monastery grounds. This would avoid creating a disturbance at the monastery and also make it easier for elderly patients because they wouldn’t have far to walk.
In 2004 Lama Yonten requested Rinpoche’s permission to go into retreat. He was replaced by Jamyang Dorje, who had been working at the Vajra Vidya Dispensary, and several monks from the SMD Branch School. Jamyang Dorje staffed the clinic, contacted sponsors, and worked with Rinpoche’s general secretary, making great efforts without getting discouraged. The first donations were collected by the volunteer doctor Diana Lucas. Donations were also received from disciples in Canada and the United States, in particular through Dr. John Barnhill, Dr. Dawn Hutchinson, and the Himalayan Children’s Fund. Construction began on the new clinic, and four years later it was completed. When Lama Yonten came back from the retreat center, Rinpoche asked him to work as the director of the clinic.
Lama Yonten, Choe Bhuchung, Dorje Thutop, and Gompo Lhasung are now working in the clinic. They are assisted by volunteer doctors and acupuncturists who come from abroad to provide medical care as well as training. The new clinic has very good accommodations for volunteers, clinic monks, and staff. There is also a nice waiting room, a pharmacy, an examination room for patients, and much better facilities than the old clinic. In the future there are plans to have a lab and offer dental care.
The clinic currently has one room devoted to the practice of Tibetan medicine, including acupuncture. At present, Nyima Tashi and Ngawang Dorje are doing treatment. They are having training in India. Nyima Tashi is from a lineage of Tibetan doctors and was also trained by his grandfather. The vision is to develop a full-fledged Tibetan medical and astrological facility (men tsi khang) that would provide training as well as medical and astrological services, and more space is needed for this. If the funds can be raised, a new building will be built, adjacent to the existing clinic, devoted to the entire range of Tibetan medical/astrological practice, with an examination room, a room for preparing medicines, a classroom, a room for astrology, office space, living quarters, and a public toilet (which the new clinic does not have). The doctors plan to produce Tibetan medicines for distribution and to teach all aspects of Tibetan medical practice to many people—both monks and lay disciples thus providing vast benefit to beings.