top of page
  • _

Origin and Development of Tibetan Medicine (part 5)

                                                 "The Chagpori Medical School


Sangye Gyatso performed another great service when he founded the Chagpori medical school in Lhasa in 1696, in accordance with the wishes of the 5th Dalai Lama, who died ten years previously.  The idea was to clarify medical theory and practice in a code of practice.  Chagpori was the first national Tibetan medical center, built in Lhasa on the so called 'iron hill' close to the Potala Palace, the Dalai Lama's winter residence.  This centre served as a model for other medical schools founded during the 18th century - in East Tibet, Beijing, Mongolia, and Buryat (southern Siberia).


Most of the personal physicians of subsequent Dalai Lamas were trained in Chagpori.  Even in the 20th century many of the monk doctors teaching there, and most of the 70 pupils, were monks from the Gelugpa monasteries, known as the 'Yellow Caps'.


Although the Yellow  Church was the main proponent of Tibetan medicine, a lay tradition formed alongside this.  Teaching Tibetan medicine was no longer a preserve of Buddhist monasteries, and more and more 'worldly' doctors started practising too.  They handed

down their knowledge within their families from generation to generation, a tradition that is sustained to this day.


                                        The Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute


Tibetan medicine's systematic adoption by doctors began at the time of the 13th Dalai Lama, Tubten Gyatso (1876 - 1933).  In order to provide new impetus for the teaching centre in Chagpori, he founded the Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute in the centre of Lhasa in 1916, and appointed his personal physician Khyenrab Norbu (1883 - 1962) to be in charge of it.  The Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute remained the government's medical institute and hopspital up to the time of the Chinese invasion.  Only half of all medical students came from the monasteries, while the other half were lay students from different regions of Tibet.  The institute had the capacity to train up to a hundred students in medicine, astrology and Buddhist teaching at any one time.


The Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution by China."

1 view0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Emulating Children

" Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi" "Someone enquired:  Why is it said in the scriptures that the Sage is like a child?" "A child and a Sage (jnani) are similar in a way.  Incidents interest a child onl


..."An attitude of truthfulness means to try always to see things as they are, to accept the possibility that one may be mistaken in their most cherished opinions, to entertain no likes or dislikes th

Answering Trump, et al

I deserve better - such a dangerous, mad thought for a woman to entertain. Meredith Duran, 'At Your Pleasure' In my heart, I think a woman has two choices: either she's a feminist or a masochist. Glor


bottom of page