A group of medical volunteers, under the auspices of the Choskyi Jungne Buddhist Center in Taiwan, made their second visit of the year to the Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö Institute in Chauntra, India in late summer. The group, 29 people in all, included dentists, ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctors, Chinese medical doctors, physical therapists, nurses, water and electrical engineers, kitchen instructors, and family members who worked as assistants.
Compared to our visit in March, 2007, many fewer monk-students sought dental treatment. The dentists concluded that this was the result of the treatment that they received during our last visit, and also because they were taught the correct way of brushing their teeth and using dental floss.
The ENT doctor discovered that many of the monk-students used their fingernails to dig into their ears, causing damage and infections. Also, the students debate sutra in the evenings. Their long debates and loud voices can damage their vocal cords. If they catch cold and develop a sore throat, recovery can take a long time.
The Chinese medical doctor commented that the students’ physical condition had also improved a great deal. He was especially pleased to see the students diligently practicing Chinese exercises (切腹功) in the big hall before breakfast.
The physical therapist provided great relief to those suffering from stiff neck and shoulders, back pain, and knee and foot injuries.
Based on our previous experience, we had arranged for plenty of supplies this time, including medical equipment and instruments, medicines, and even health food to meet the needs of the students at the Institute, as well as neighboring monks and lay people.
With the help of a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Taiwan University and a very experienced water and electrical engineer, an important project was finished: a big water filtering machine was installed at the entrance to the canteen, which filters out all the bacteria, heavy metals, and other harmful impurities in the water. Hopefully this installation will improve the health of the students by minimizing stomach and intestinal infections, hepatitis, gall stones, kidney infections and kidney stones, and so on.
We also examined the students’ meals as well as their eating habits, and we discovered that their meals were not nutritionally balanced, not appetizing, and seemed boring. Therefore the students took a lot of food on their plates because they were hungry, but most of it ended up in the trash can. After discussion with the Khenpos, it was decided to hire a more experienced chef at a higher salary to prepare delicious and nutritious food for the students. Talks were given on the concept of not wasting food, as well as on cherishing one’s blessings, and we heard that big improvements have already been made.
Constructive suggestions were also made about other environmental issues, such as methods of garbage disposal and how to maintain the cleanliness and orderliness of the public areas–gardens, common spaces, bathrooms, and dorm rooms.
Considering the small size of our group, huge efforts were contributed during this visit. The group members made additional pledges to donate a basketball court for the school, a bean curd machine, and more water filtering machines.
Khenpo Kunga Wangchuk showed his appreciation and gratitude for the medical group’s donations and work by performing a Green Tara initiation for us, with scarves for souvenirs.
(Translated into English by Florence Yeh.)