His Holiness Blesses the Medical Camp in Bodhgaya (December 18, 2007)
18th December, 2007. After attending the second session of the Kagyu Monlam at the Mahabodhi Stupa, the Gyalwang Karmapa went to Birla Mandir in Bodhgaya to bless the activity of the Medical Camp there. This camp is one of the special events offered this year in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Kagyu Monlam. It aims to alleviate the suffering of the local community by providing free medicine and treatment for local people. In spite of the development of tourism in Bodhgaya, the holiest site of Buddhism in the world, many people who in Bodhgaya today are in desparate straits, too poor to afford even the most basic medical treatment or medicine. Poverty, disease and deformity haunt the streets of this small town.
After the Gyalwang Karmapa decided that the Kagyu Monlam should offer a medical camp, his sister, Chamsing Ngodrup Palzom, oversaw the preparations and Dr Liu Chi-Chun, from Taiwan, the founder and president of the Taiwan Root Medical Peace Corps, rose to the challenge of providing a medical team, medicine and equipment. He is very experienced in leading teams of doctors and nurses on mercy missions to different parts of Asia. He is already well-known in the Tibetan community for his medical camp every year in Dharamsala, which he organises in conjunction with Ngari Rinpoche, His Holiness the Dalai Lama's younger brother. Dr Liu Chi-Chun delivered a team of 50 medical personnel, doctors, pharmacists and nurses from Taiwan to conduct the camp. The camp offers allopathic medicine for a wide range of conditions, medical check-ups, and dentistry. A supporting team of Indian students from Fo Guang Shan Buddhist College are working voluntarily as translators for the medical team.
At the Birla Mandir, the medical staff and various guests assembled to greet the Gyalwang Karmapa: Mingyur Rinpoche, Gyaltong Rinpoche , Gen Tenzin of Namgyal Branch Monastery and Lamas representing the variousTibetan monasteries in Bodhgaya, Lama Choedrak, CEO of Kagyu Monlam, Tibetan lay officials, and a small group of local Indian officials. After a brief inspection of the camp, during which the Gyalwang Karmapa met medical staff and some of the patients, he greeted the guests. Then the guests left for a special lunch at the Royal Residency Hotel, hosted by the Kagyu Monlam Organising Committee. The chief guests were Dr Liu Chi-Chun, Master Hai Tao of Life TV, Taiwan, and the Venerable Hye Neung, Tibet House, Korea. In spite of an extremely demanding schedule, Pal Gyalwang Karmapa made the time to attend the lunch, and distributed small souvenirs to all the guests personally. The staff at the medical camp treated 488 patients on the first day. Additionally, they decided to forgo their lunchbreak so that the camp could be open throughout the day, in order for the monks and nuns, who are usually at the Mahabodhi Stupa at other times, to be able to attend more easily. - Tashi Paljor