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Lama Yeshe Sees a Doctor

From 1969: Kopan’s Beginning by Adele Hulse, Big Love author:

Around this time Lama Yeshe told Judy Weitzner that he suffered from heart trouble. What? This vigorous young man who had leapt up the path to Lawudo? Judy had noticed his shortness of breath in the mountains but she had blamed it on the altitude. Max had even fainted up there. More worrying, though, were his constant nosebleeds and bouts of vomiting.

Zina took him to the hospital in Kathmandu where tests revealed a serious heart condition. The doctors told her that there was not much they could do about it. He also seemed to be unusually full of water, spitting a lot and bursting out with huge wet sneezes. He didn’t talk much about his heart, but he occasionally pointed to the deep scar on his cheek from the abscess he had had at Sera. He mentioned again how kind the Chinese nurse had been in the clinic he had attended. No one ever heard Thubten Yeshe say a bad word about any Chinese individual.

Life for the little group went on, Zopa Rinpoche bent over his texts day and night, Lama Yeshe scuttling around Kathmandu making friends.

Judy Weitzner: “One time Max and I went to the American Commissary store and bought some marshmallows. We drove out into the countryside with the lamas and handed them around to some village children. They had never seen anything like them in their lives and just stared in amazement. We had to demonstrate that they really could be eaten!

“We enjoyed lots of picnics with the lamas. They were clearly there for us Westerners, even though there were very few of us around with good visas and enough time to spend with them. But we were able to see Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa whenever we wanted to. I related to them more as wonderful friends than as gurus. Lama Yeshe really spoke very little English. He called us all ‘dear’ and exuded this wonderful light. He’d say, ‘Don’t worry,’ and ‘Be happy’ and was always eager to learn more words. Looking back, I think I got as much out of him then as when he spoke English fluently.”

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