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Doctor From Lhasa CONTENTS Author’s Forward 1 1 Into the Unknown 7 2 Chungking 23 3 Medical Days 42 4 Flying 58 5 The...
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Doctor From Lhasa
Into the Unknown
The Other Side of Death
When The World Was Very Young
Prisoner Of The Japanese
How To Breathe
WHEN I was in England I wrote The Third Eye, a book
which is true, but which has caused much comment. Letters
came in from all over the world, and in answer to requests
I wrote this book, Doctor from Lhasa.
My experiences, as will be told in a third book, have
been far beyond that which most people have to endure,
experiences which are paralleled only in a few cases in
history. That, though, is not the object of this book which
deals with a continuation of my autobiography.
I am a Tibetan lama who came to the western world in
pursuance of his destiny, came as was foretold, and en-
dured all the hardships as foretold. Unfortunately, western
people looked upon me as a curio, as a specimen who
should be put in a cage and shown off as a freak from the
unknown. It made me wonder what would happen to my
old friends, the Yetis, if the westerners got hold of them—
as they are trying to do.
Undoubtedly the Yeti would be shot, stuffed, and put in
some museum. Even then people would argue and say that
there were no such things as Yetis! To me it is strange
beyond belief that western people can believe in television,
and in space rockets that may circle the Moon and return
and yet not credit Yetis or “Unknown Flying Objects,” or,
in fact, anything which they cannot hold in their hands and
pull to pieces to see what makes it work.
But now I have the formidable task of putting into just
a few pages that which before took a whole book, the details
of my early childhood. I came of a very high-ranking
family, one of the leading families in Lhasa, the capital of
Tibet. My parents had much to say in the control of the
country, and because I was of high rank I was given severe
1training so that, it was considered, I should be fit to take
my place. Then, before I was seven years of age, in accord-
ance with our established custom, the Astrologer Priests of
Tibet were consulted to see what type of career would be
open to me. For days before these preparations went for-
ward, preparations for an immense party at which all the
leading citizens, all the notabilities of Lhasa would come
to hear my fate. Eventually the Day of Prophecy arrived.
Our estate was thronged with people. The Astrologers came
armed with their sheets of paper, with their charts, and with
all the essentials of their profession. Then, at the appropri-
ate time, when everyone had been built up to a high pitch
of excitement, the Chief Astrologer pronounced his find-
ings. It was solemnly proclaimed that I should enter a
lamasery at the age of seven, and be trained as a priest,
and as a priest surgeon. Many predictions were made about
my life; in fact the whole of my life was outlined. To my
great sorrow everything they said has come true. I say
“sorrow” because most of it has been misfortune, and
hardship, and suffering, and it does not make it any easier
when one knows all that one is to suffer.
I entered the Chakpori lamasery when I was seven years
of age, making my lonely way along the path. At the
entrance I was kept, and had to undergo an ordeal to see
if I was hard enough, tough enough to undergo the training.
This I passed, and then I was allowed to enter. I went
through all the stages from an absolutely raw beginner,
and in the end I became a lama, and an abbot. Medicine
and surgery were my particular strong points. I studied
these with avidity, and I was given every facility to study
dead bodies. It is a belief in the west that the lamas of Tibet
never do anything to bodies if it means making an opening.
The belief is, apparently, that Tibetan medical science is
rudimentary, because the medical lamas treat only the
exterior and not the interior. That is not correct. The
ordinary lama, I agree, never opens a body, it is against
his own form of belief. But there was a special nucleus of
lamas, of whom I was one, who were trained to do opera-
2 tions, and to do operations which were possibly even beyond
the scope of western science.