Japanese Holistic Healer in NYC to Build School for Tibetan Orphans in India

August 20th, 2015 by admin

I first met Kazuko Tatsumura, OMD at a Christie’s benefit for Tibet House at Rockefeller Center. We began to chat about Japan, where I had once studied, as well as Tibet and the many Tibetans living along the Chinese border in India. What captured my attention was that she had agreed to help build a school at an orphanage for Tibetan children in northeast India, endorsed by the Dalai Lama. As the founder of a network of orphanages around the world, I was captivated.
The Dalai Lama asked a doctor in NYC to build a school for Tibetan orphans in India.
(Photo courtesy of Dr. Kazuko Tatsumura)
Although Leila and Hank Luce had been supportive of Tibet House and the Dalai Lama, I have never met His Holiness. To meet someone who had taken on such an important project for the Dalai Lama mesmerized me. I wanted to get to know more about this woman, Dr. Kazuko, which happened quickly. She soon invited me to the Japanese Ambassador’s home to celebrate the Emperor’s birthday, and the next week had my partner and me over to her Japanese-style apartment overlooking Lincoln Center where she practices Oriental Medicine. We began to learn more about her efforts in India.
Dr. Kazuko Tatsumura first met His Holiness in 1972 in Dharamsala when she organized the first worldwide tour of Tibetan folk opera.
(Photo courtesy of Dr. Kazuko Tatsumura)
Manjushree Orphanage, she explained to us, is in the village of Tawang, located at the foot of the Himalayas where there has long been a border dispute between China and India. The monastery and orphanage sits at the most north-eastern region of India, sharing the border with Bhutan on its west and Myanmar on its east. Over 10,000 feet above sea level, it is situated where winter is long and severe and summer has a three month-long rainy season.

The Tibetan Buddhist monetary located in Tawang, at the foot of the Himalayas.
(Photo courtesy of Dr. Kazuko Tatsumura)
Dr. Kazuko explained why she was so enthralled with her mission:
“Nature in Tawang is very beautiful. The land is full of deep forests and high, snow-capped mountains with a great river running through it.”
This area is very rich in the culture of Tibetan Buddhism. It carries special significance as the birthplace of His Holiness the 6th Dalai Lama and home to one of the most important Tibetan Buddhist June 4, 2013 monasteries in the world. Thousands of Tibetans now reside there.
Tawang is the place where His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama – today’s Dalia Lama – first found refuge after fleeing Tibet in 1959. He stayed there for a while before he settled down in Dharamsala. The monastery in Tawang honors the great 5th Dalai Lama and has old things such as Buddhist sutras written in pure gold.
There is a wondrous story about Tawang. When 6th Dalai Lama left his house where he was born, he planted a tree at the garden and said, “I will come back when this tree grows as tall above the roof of the house.” When the 14th Dalai Lama was exiled and got to Tawang, this tree had just gotten above the roof!
These children, Dr. Kazuko says, embody compassion, cooperation, and patience.
(Photo courtesy of Dr. Kazuko Tatsumura)
Dr. Kazuko explained to me about the Tibetans in Tawang:

“They are the poorest of all the Tibetans living in India and their health conditions are not good, with many contagious diseases. Many suffer from tuberculosis that medicines don’t cure well. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is very much concerned about this and recently helped to build a new hospital there.”
Lama Thupten Phuntsok, founder of the Manjushree Orphanage, with Dr. Kazuko.
(Photo courtesy of Dr. Kazuko Tatsumura)
In 1998, the young Tibetan monk named Lama Thupten Phuntsok founded the Manjushree Orphanage. It was established with 17 children and as now has 180. The Dalai Lama thinks it is imperative to have a new and bigger school building for them. This is Dr. Kazuko’s task: to raise funds in the U.S. and Japan to implement the Tibetandesigned school at a cost of $360,000.