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         Empower the Monks as Medics

Shambhala Studio expeditions observed the plight of rural and nomadic families lacking access to proper medical treatment. A clinic can cure or prevent many illnesses and address accidents. It can also determine in first instance who may need more complex treatment at larger township or urban facilities.

 

Traditionally medical clinics were in Tibetan monasteries where traditional Tibetan medicine flourished. Over the years for historic reasons this disappeared. Shambhala Studio recognized the importance of rural monasteries being able to outreach to rural and nomadic populations faster than other institutions and began a program of establishing medical clinic.

Tashi Gang Monastery Clinic and Incense

Shambhala Studio’s first rural medical clinic was established in Tashi Gang Monastery about one hours drive outside of Lhasa along the Lhasa River. Offering Tibetan medicine, monks were trained as paramedics and the clinic provided medical treatment to rural villagers in the area. In addition an incense production line was established under the clinic producing incense made of natural Tibetan medicinal herbs and provided to villagers.

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                Drigung Medical Clinic

Near Drigung Tri Monastery, located 4,200 meters above sea level, along the hot spring riverbed that was an important meditation site for Guru Padmasambhava and Khandro Yeshe Tsogyal, Shambhala Studio established its second medical clinic offering both Tibetan medicinal treatments as well as dentistry. While first providing services for the local nomad community, soon the clinic was offering medical treatment to many pilgrims coming through the area given its sacred history. It is said that Yeshe Tsogyal later stayed in the area and cured many pilgrims coming to visit her. The clinic was opened in the spirit of this history. A traditional medicinal incense production line was also established at the clinic.

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                Damkar Monastery Clinic

A traditional Tibetan medicinal clinic was opened at Damar Monastery in 2009, on the request and invitation of Demo Chugi Rinpoche. However, this clinic was destroyed in the Yushu earthquake of 2010. At that time Shambhala Studio coordinated provision of food and medical supplies to Yushu. The clinic was re-built and re-opened on a much larger scale in 2019 together with an medicinal incense production line.

A traditional Tibetan medicinal clinic was opened at Damar Monastery in 2009, on the request and invitation of Demo Chugi Rinpoche. However, this clinic was destroyed in the Yushu earthquake of 2010. At that time Shambhala Studio coordinated provision of food and medical supplies to Yushu. The clinic was re-built and re-opened on a much larger scale in 2019 together with an medicinal incense production line.

A traditional Tibetan medicinal clinic was opened at Damar Monastery in 2009, on the request and invitation of Demo Chugi Rinpoche. However, this clinic was destroyed in the Yushu earthquake of 2010. At that time Shambhala Studio coordinated provision of food and medical supplies to Yushu. The clinic was re-built and re-opened on a much larger scale in 2019 together with an medicinal incense production line.

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 Choze Kuchen Monastery Nomadic Clinic

Located 4,000 meters above sea level, is in a nomadic region where people have no access to medical treatment. This clinic was established in 2018 and has both western trained and traditional Tibetan medicinal doctors in residence. During autumn and winter months when nomads come back from pasture the clinic receives approximately forty patients per day. It is the main rural clinic in this nomadic region.

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                Yushu Eye Clinic

In 2009 Shambhala Studio raised funds to support establishment of an eye clinic in Yushu, Qinghai Province to provide eye care to the nomadic population in the surrounding area. The management of the clinic was under supervision and operation of SEVA, a medical organization that focuses on eliminating unnecessary blindness in developing regions. The clinic was physically destroyed during the 2010 Yushu earthquake. Doctors on duty however, were present and able to outreach and provide immediate care to many people suffering in the aftermath of that tragic earthquake. 

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       Buy a Tiger Rug and Save a Tiger

Traditional Tibetan rug weaving was disappearing from Lhasa where markets were flooded with factory made rugs from other locations not made by Tibetans. In 2006 Shambhala Studio decided it was time to revive traditional rug weaving. Wool was collected from nomads in the Drigung area where Shambhala Studio has a wilderness lodge. During winter months the wool was spun, dyed and dried on the rooftop of our Lhasa guest house. In spring, summer and fall rugs were woven on the premises.

 

The Tiger became our single rug design. Tiger rugs emerged during the 19th Century. In past times, the skins of tigers were nailed onto the wooden doors of protector temples, in the belief that the animal’s spirit would help serve as protection for the energies within However, that all changed when the British Raj in India had bounty hunting for tigers. Soon there were no more tigers in the Himalayas. So Tiger rugs were woven as a replacement item for the original skins.

 

Shambhala Studio adopted a slogan for our Tiger Rug weaving program. The British Raj hunted Tigers, the Tibetans wove rugs. Buy a rug and save a tiger!

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             Give the Children a Chance

A two story rural school with lunch kitchen facilities and library was built in Nyetang village providing free education to over 100 children including daily lunch. To broaden the scope of education, Tibetan teachers were trained by Montessori and Montessori volunteers came to the school to offer training and supervision. The school has been a model for education in rural regions. Most children graduating from the school have gone on to higher education.

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             Mala Bead Breakfast Club

To help support the income of nuns the Male Bead Breakfast Club was established in 2006. Shambhala Studio would provide nuns with beads and they would design and string the mala beads into patterns. Then bless the beads. Devotees would then purchase the beads and the income would be received by the nuns.

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                  Let the People See

Unnecessary blindness is common on the Tibetan-Qinghai plateau where nutritional imbalance from lack of vitamins and unprotected eyes are vulnerable to the strong ultra-violet sunlight. Cataract is the largest cause of blindness and retina disorder the second. From 2007-2009 Shambhala Studio working with the medical NGO SEVA supported over 3,000 eye operations in rural areas of the Tibetan-QInghai plateau. Nepalese eye surgeons volunteered and trained Tibetan doctors. Rural and nomadic “eye camps” were established. UV protected sun glasses were also widely distributed throughout the region.

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Textiles Crafts by Tibetans with Disabilities

From 2007 Shambhala Studio established an artisan training program for Tibetans with disabilities making textile products. Training was offered and design creativity encouraged. Vocational skill training was the main focus. All pillows, bed sheets, coverings, lanterns, and clothing used at the Shambhala Studio guest houses in Tibet and at

the Great Wall were made by this artisan program for Tibetans with disabilities.

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                     Nomadic Puppets

From 2006 a program was established for Tibetans with Disabilities to make puppets of rural animals: Yak, Sheep, Tibetan Mastiff, Wolf. Montessori volunteers wrote a book “Summer on the Grassland” that told the story of these animals and their interaction with each other and the environment. The book was translated from English into Tibetan and Chinese by Tibetans living in Lhasa. Tibetan artists illustrated the book. The program brought both income and empowerment to the disabled who were making the puppets and became an educational tool for children to understand their environment and animals living on the Tibetan plateau.

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