Chogkhang Tibetan Medicine Centre
Chogkhang Tibetan Medicine Centre

Ladakh Jhangthang Medical Camp

Contact Us

Chogkhang Tibetan Medicine Centre (CTMC)
House No. 57/1
Sidhbari - 176057 Tehsil Dharamsala
District Kangra (H.P) India

Tel: 01892 - 234901 (Clinic)
Fax: 01892 - 234609
Mob: 09418017223

Historical Background

Historical Background The traditional Tibetan medical system (Sowa Rigpa) is undoubtedly as old as the Tibetan civilization. The main root of its origin is in the land of Tibet. The origin of Tibetan medicine is attributed to the earliest inhabitants of Tibet who lived close to the nature and whose ingenuity and curiosity about the herbs around them gradually earned valuable healing knowledge and practices concerning their proper uses for various therapeutic purposes. The inherent discernment of these early people led them to discover natural remedies for various health-related problems such as drinking boiled hot water in case of indigestion, using melted butter in order to stop bleeding, cold pebble compress for subsiding painful swelling etc. Such practical knowledge of healing has been discovered, accumulated and then transmitted from generation to generation through many centuries.

During the reign of King Lhathothori Nyentsen, Biji Gajed and Bila Gazema, two renowned physicians from India came to Tibet. Their fame and reputation spread far and wide after successfully treating many Tibetans. The King summoned them to his Palace and acknowledged their generous and kind servicers and offered Princess Yidkyi Rolcha as bride to Biji Gajed. They had a son named Dunggyi Thorchok and later became the first physician of Tibet after successfully learning various aspects of medical knowledge and practices from both the Indian physicians and particularly from his father. Dungyi Thorchok become the first personal physician to the King Lhathothori Nyentsen and later each successive son of the physician became the personal physician to the successive Kings.

In the 7th century, during the reign of King Songtsen Gampo (605-649 Cirsa) when the first Tibetan writing was introduced, various healing practices that were prevalent at that time were put on writing. Many ancient medical invention and discoveries are found in Gyueshi (Four Tantras), the fundamental text of Tibetan medicine and are in use even to this day. The development of the Tibetan science of healing which we are enjoying to this day, is purely a product of efforts and determination of the eminent ancient ancestors of Tibet whose wisdom and intellectual knowledge have founded a strong base of the entire Tibetan medical knowledge and practices.

Based on this sound foundation, the eminent medical scholars, physicians and the Kings have developed the Tibetan medical knowledge and practices by inviting eminent physicians and scholars from India, China, Persia (Greek) and Nepal and cross cultural medical knowledge and practices were exchanged. Later, the traditional medical texts of the neighboring countries were translated into Tibetan and at the same time, training of medical students started simultaneously. During the reign of King Trisong Deutsen (790-844) Yuthok Yonten Gompo - I (708-833AD) emerged as one of the most celebrated of all and is regarded as the father of Tibetan medicine. In order to broaden his medical knowledge, Yuthok Yonten Gonpo – I, went to India several times and met with eminent Indian physicians and scholars. Subsequently, Yuthok wrote the highly acclaimed Gyueshi (Four Tantra) by incorporating the medical knowledge of the Asian medical system including Ayurveda, Chinese medicine and Greek medicine into the already existing indigenous medical knowledge and practices of Tibet. As such, Gyueshi which features many facets of medical knowledge and practices is undoubtedly the best known of all the medical systems. Later in the twelfth century, Yuthok Yonten Gompo – II, (1126-1202 AD) re-organized and rewrote the Gyueshi, making it more complete, compatible, and comprehensive. To this date, the Gyueshi remains the main foundation for the educational training, research works, pharmacopy and the clinical practices of the Tibetan medicine. Although, there have been many ups and downs during the long period of its historical development, especially during the great Cultural Revolution in Tibet, yet, Tibetan medical system was preserved all the way through, without any damage either to its integrity or to the living lineage of the transmission of knowledge from generation to generation.

Prior to the failed uprising by Tibetans against the Chinese illegal forceful take-over in March 1959, Tibetan medical practice was not accessible to foreign lands except in some parts of the Himalayan regions including Ladakh, Lahul, Spiti, Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim and some parts of Arunachal Pradesh. Peop,le from the Himalayan regions go to Tibet for Buddhist studies. Similarly, in order to pursue Tibetan medical degree, people seek enrolment in the prestigious medical institutions like Lhasa Men Tsee Khang (Medicine and Astrology Institution) and Chagpori Institute in Tibet. After graduation, they return home and begin promotion of Tibetan medicine in their regions by establishing medical schools, institutions and practice services. Today, at the beginning of the 21st century, Tibetan medicine joins at par with the other traditional medical systems of the world in the service of humanity. In fact, Tibetan medicine has become very popular among mind-body oriented systems of medicine and is increasingly gaining more attention all over the world. Tibetan medicine is one of the few medical traditions of this time that offers a complete holistic health care model.

Currently, the development and practice of Tibetan medicine is not only concentrated in Tibet, but the transmission of knowledge, research work and practices is being widely prevalent in most part of the Himalayan regions, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Mongolia and in the West. In particular, Men Tsee Khang based at Dharamsala in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh is the premier institution outside Tibet established by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1961 for the preservation, promotion and development of the Tibetan medicine and astrological knowledge and practices. Since then, Tibetan medicine has slowly and steadily flourished not only in India, but it has spread far towards the West. After the legal recognition of Tibetan medicine by the Government of India in November 2010, the future status of Tibetan medicine is bright and its development will be faster than ever before.