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Belated Obituary for Jacques Haesaert - The Pure View - to see with mind unclouded

Sherab Namgyal / October 16, 2014

Belated Obituary for Jacques Haesaert

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Jacques Haesaert. Photo courtesy of Ambroisie Association.

Jacques Haesaert. Photo courtesy of Ambroisie Association.

In September 2014 during the CPMT 2014 meeting, managing editor Laura Miller met with student Françoise Majeste who revealed that a close student of Lama Yeshe and a long-time student of Institut Vajra Yogini in France – Jacques Haesaert – had died over five years ago, but had never been honored in Mandala. We’re happy to now share this tribute to Jacques’ life from his friends and students.

Jacques Haesaert, 67, died in Graulhet, France, July 2009, from a stroke

By Marilyn Magazin and Brigitte Jordan on behalf of the members of the Ambroisie Association

Five years have gone by since our doctor, teacher and friend, Jacques Haesaert, passed on. When he died in July 2009 at the age of 67, we were so unprepared and perturbed that none of his many students in France and Spain thought to send an obituary to Mandala magazine. Jacques was a member of Institut Vajra Yogini in Marzens, France and benefited not only his patients, but also his many students who came to his introductory classes on Tibetan medicine at the institute and his in-depth study programs. Now in remembrance of him, we write this biography as a tribute to him and his work.

Jacques Haesaert was passionate about learning and taught himself to read even before starting school in France. His personal studies of biology, natural medicine, the powers of plants and minerals, archeology, religions, Egyptology, cooking, music, to name a few, surely helped him assimilate Tibetan medicine later on. As well as working in France, Jacques spent many years in Africa and later worked in the Phillipines with local healers.

In 1974, his spiritual search brought him to India where he had his first contact with Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and the medicine practiced in this country. In Nepal he became a disciple of Lama Thubten Yeshe who encouraged him to study Tibetan medicine. Jacques followed Lama’s advice and studied many years in Dharamsala, India with Dr. Ama Lobsang Dolma.

We do not know all the details of his many years of study, treating and accompanying patients in India as a Tibetan doctor, but we do know that he also studied with Dr. Tsering Dinggang and worked for some time with the Missionaries of Charity of Mother Teresa in Calcutta, with the most destitute of people.

In this 1982 forward, Lama Yeshe praises Jacques' work writing "Jaques Haesaert has studied with us for several years ... He has researched extensively into all aspects of Tibetan medicine, culture, mind psychology and religion. His work is authentic, and his style is good."

In this 1982 forward, Lama Yeshe praises Jacques’ work writing “Jaques [sic] Haesaert has studied with us for several years … He has researched extensively into all aspects of Tibetan medicine, culture, mind psychology and religion. His work is authentic, and his style is good.”

In 1981, Lama Yeshe asked Jacques to share his knowledge with the Western world in a way that was adapted to the special needs of the people living in those places in actual times. After returning to France, Jacques treated patients and taught for the rest of his life.

As well as a practicing Tibetan Buddhist, he was also a Christian and Bible scholar. Jacques often made parallels between passages in the Bible and teachings of Buddha.

Faithful to the ethics of a Tibetan physician, he expected no pay for his consultations, only accepting offerings. In his later years, he made only two appointments a day so he could remain for hours with each patient in order to treat the patient as a whole and help the person to understand the cause of his ailments, and not just treat his symptoms.

Jacques always intended to write a book so many people could benefit from the knowledge and wisdom he accumulated over so many years, applying Tibetan medicine to the West. He wanted to help Westerners discover the extraordinary and practical knowledge offered by this system. For him it was important to show, through Tibetan medicine, how people can become responsible for their mental and physical health, conscious of their potential for happiness, love and wisdom, and of the errors that would lead them to suffering.

Just months before passing on, after years of our begging for them, he gave to us, his students in France and Spain, his nearly finished book that he used for his classes. He compiled it over decades and organized the information into chapters used for his teaching. Jacques explains important teachings from the medical tantras and elaborates on many aspects of what is health and disease, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment. Moreover, he explains many aspects of Tibetan medicine from a Western point of view.

We, his students and members of the Ambroisie Association, are in the process of translating it from French to English, Spanish, and German. It was his heart-felt wish to help preserve the extensive knowledge and wisdom that is Tibetan medicine from being lost or diluted.

You can find Jacques’ piece “Nature the Great Healer” in the June 2004 issue of Mandala.

Lama Zopa Rinpoche requests that “students who read Mandala pray that the students whose obituaries they read find a perfect human body, meet a Mahayana guru and become enlightened quickly, or be born in a pure land where the teachings exist and they can become enlightened.” While reading obituaries we can also reflect upon our own death and rebirth, prompting us to live our lives in the most meaningful way.

More advice from Lama Zopa Ripoche on death and dying is available on Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s advice page.

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