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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

'Smile' says renowned Tibetan doctor

February 16, 2010

Erin Hatfield
Inside Toronto
February 13, 2010

"The most important thing in life is to smile
three times a day, sincerely from the heart," was
the advice from renowned Tibetan physician Dr. Pema Dorjee.

Whether they came to seek counsel for a medical
problem or out of interest, Dorjee held a packed
room captive with his soft-spoken explanation of traditional Tibetan medicine.

On this, his first visit to Canada, Dorjee made
time to give a presentation on Tibetan medicine
at the High Park Library on Jan. 28.

"I really love to share what I understand with
the people," Dorjee said. "I really know Tibetan medicine is really helping."

Dorjee arrived from Bahamas via New York on Jan.
22. He gave several talks in Toronto: at the
Canadian Tibetan Association, Forest Grove United
Church and Immanuel Toronto Korean United Church,
the University of Toronto and the talk at the
High Park Library, which was organized by Parkdale-High Park MP Gerard Kennedy.

Dorjee also gave talks in Ottawa at Carleton
University and The Wakefield Mills in Wakefield, Quebec.

"It is the wish of the Dalai Lama to preserve
ancient Tibetan medical culture, (which) is why
he established (the Tibetan Medicine and
Astrology Institute of His Holiness The Dalai
Lama) in 1961 in Dharamshala, India," Dorjee explained in an interview.

Based on the centuries-old Buddhist study of the
mind, Tibetan medicine is one of the oldest and
most comprehensive medical systems in existence.
It is a holistic philosophy that seeks to
maintain the harmonious operation and balance of energies.

"Tibetan medicine is part-and-parcel of Tibetan
culture and Tibetan people have lived for the
last 2,500 years with this system of medicine. I
think it is necessary for Tibetan people in the
west, not only in Canada," Dorjee said.

Tibetan medical theory revolves around five
elements: earth, water, fire, wind and space, and
Dorjee detailed the importance of coming to
understand joy and suffering and of food and lifestyle.

But his main message to listeners was as follows:
"Think before you speak, think before you eat,
think before you act and think before you decide.
So that there will be no misuse, disuse and
overuse of your eating, thinking, acting and deciding."

"In my own experience, Tibetan medicine is
helping many, many people suffering from chronic diseases," Dorjee said.

Dorjee lives in India where he is the chief
advisor at the Tibetan Medicine and Astrology
Institute of His Holiness The Dalai Lama. He has
written several books and numerous articles on
Tibetan medicine. Medicine is a field, which he
was able to study thanks to the generosity of a Canadian named Dan Lock.

"Wherever he is, I still remember his
sponsorship," Dorjee said. "He was very gracious
to me and was my sponsor for medical college."

He lost touch with this sponsor; but Dorjee said he continues to look for him.

Although the purpose of his trip to Canada was to
deliver public talks about Tibetan medicine, he
did give a number of consultations, both after
talks and by appointment at the apartment he was
staying at on Jameson Avenue in Parkdale.

"As a part of culture, the communities are
absolutely in need of Tibetan medicine. There are
so many people requesting for me to check their
pulse and diagnosing them," he said. "It is not
only dispensing medicine, but I think this type
of talk should be organized in other areas."

He said it is important this medical system is
practiced in the west, adding some people who are
sick and do not have access to Tibetan medicine go to India.
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