Outstanding people

Donatas Butkus (1939 – 1.06.2016)

Lithuanian pharmacognosist of Tibetan medicine, Tibetan medical manuscripts researcher.
D. Butkus became interested in oriental medicine while studying at Kaunas Institute of Medicine Faculty of Pharmacy. In 1962 seeking knowledge for his subject he went to the capital of Buryatia, Ulan-Ude. There he discovered the Tibetan medicine and devoted his research to it. In these distant lands D. Butkus engaged in the practice of pharmacy, visited Buddhist monasteries where he studied the stored medical manuscripts.

Донатас Буткус

Donatas Butcus in Aginsk Datsan in 1967.

Later, in 1965-1968 Petersburg (used to be called Leningrad) D. Butkus prepared his thesis "Tibetan medical devices and formulation”, which he continued from 1968 in Buryatia and from 1971 in Lithuania, Kaunas. In 1972 for his tibetology research D. Butkus was accused of sectarian (which may be anti-Soviet) activities and arrested, while his dissertation manuscripts, collection of tibetology and other books were confiscated. This unique material was added to the KGB’s "loot", and D. Butkus was "treated" in a psychiatric hospital in Lithuania.

Донатас Буткус 2010


In 1984 D. Butkus was invited to participate in UNESCO’s global international project to prepare “The Atlas of Tibetan Medicine”. In 1992 the atlas was published in London and in 1994 in Moscow.
The work was assessed positively by the Soviet government which just a decade ago had been persecuting and “treating” the scientist in a psychiatric hospital.
In 2014 Lithuania published the Tibetan medical treatise called "Pure crystal necklace” (tib. shel phreng) which is over 1,000 pages and was prepared from the protected material of the Aginsky monastery (Buryatia) collected by D. Butkus.

Donatas Butcus has passed away on June 1st 2016.

Information provided by Ramunas Kondratas (Vilnius University Museum, Lithuania), Vilma Gudienė, Tauras Mekas (Museum of the History of Lithuanian Medicine and Pharmacy, Lithuania).

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