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Tibetan Medicine

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Item Code: IHL226
Publisher: Sri Satguru Publications
Author: Vem. Rechung Rinpoche
Edition: 2001
ISBN: 8170307066
Pages: 430 (Illustrated Throughout In B/W & Color)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 10.0 Inch X 7.5 Inch
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Book Description
From the Jacket

Protected by the world’s highest mountain ranges, Tibetan medicine has preserved an unbroken tradition since it s introduction from India in the seventh century. The Venerable Rechung Rinpoche has here provided translations of the most important Tibetan medical texts, including indexes of plants, other medical texts and persons, and a brief history of Tibetan medicine, supplemented by a bibliography of western works on the subject. A major part of the volume is occupied by the biography of the Great Physician-Saint g Yu-thog the Elder (C.E..786-911), who spread medical science throughout Tibet. Poetic and imaginative features characteristic of Tibetan literature compose this narrative. The volume also includes translations from the Second and Forth Books of the rGyud-bzhi, a work that is thought to have been derived from Sanskrit sources, but survives only in Tibetan and Mongolian, the Mongolian version being clearly a translation from the Tibetan one. Illustrations, including a series of intricate Tibetan anatomy diagrams, lend further appeal to the volume.

The Venerable Rechung Rinpoche was born in Lhasa into an aristocratic family and was acknowledged at the age of thirteen as an Incarnation of former incumbent of Rechung Monastery South of Lhasa. He is thus recognized as he fourteenth Incarnation of Rechungpa, who told the story of the great Yogi Milarepa (C.E.1140-1223). He is also one of the most distinguished members of the Tibetan religious hierarchy and has been Director of the Sikkim Research Institute of Tibetology at Gangtok, Sikkim, until his retirement in 1994.


The chief part of this book is a translation of the biography of the Elder gYu-thog yon-tan mGon-po, the famous court physician of king Khri-sron-Ide-btsan who lived during the eight century A.D. The Elder gYu-thog Yon-tan mGon-po visited India three times. He met and had discussions with many learned Pandits, and thus widened his knowledge of Buddhism and especially of medicine. On his return to Tibet he spread medical science throughout the country and shared his knowledge with many.

The first edition was published in hard covers by the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, London, and the University of California, Berkeley, in 1973. In 1976 the University of California republished the book in a paperback edition. The present hardback edition published by the Indian Books Centre is an enlarged and revised edition. Bibliographies of the most recent books and articles on Tibetan Medicine have been added. The book has been provided with indexes of plant names. As the plant names in the text are usually Latin, (or else English where a plant is well – known in English), so as to be accessible to the non – Tibetan reader, there are Latin/English-Tibetan; and Tibetan-Latin/English indexes. The introduction has been replaced by a new introduction.

The first block print or xylograph of the Biography of the Elder gYu-thog Yon-tan mGon-po was made by Dar-mo sMan-pa acquired the manuscript of the Biography of the Elder gYu-thog Yon-tan mGon-po from a descendant of the latter, whose name was Lhun-grub bKras-shis. Having corrected the manuscript, Dar-mo sMan-pa had the first block prints made during the seventeenth century. Until the Communist Chinese occupied Tibet the blocks were preserved at the Lhasa Zhol par-khan (printing house). This is the text used for the present translation (Wellcome Tibetan 4 and India Office Library Lhasa J12). It is printed on both sides of 149 leaves, each 51.5 by 10cm or 21.35 by.4.15 inches, with six lines on each side. A second print was later made in sDe-dge in the district Khan. The date is unknown.

In the introduction I have include the following:
(a) The History of Tibetan medicine from its origin up to modern times, which has not been written in English before.
(b) A slightly shortened adaptation of the bShad-rygud, with added passages from the Blue Beryl written by sDe-srid Sans-rgyas rGyas rGya-mts’o.
(c) A similar adaptation of the two importance chapters from the Phyi-rgyud; the examination of the pulse and urine, forming the basis of Tibetan medicine and medical practice.
(d) A series of Anatomy diagrams.

First and foremost I owe my deepest gratitude to the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine for awarding me a Research Fellowship enabling me to achieve my wish to carry out and complete this work. The Wellcome Institute has contributed a great deal towards the preservation of Tibetan culture since much has been lost since the Chinese Communist occupation of Tibet.

My greatest thanks go to Miss Marianne Winder, former keeper of Oriental Manuscripts in the Wellcome Institute, for her unfailing assistance and help throughout my work of translation. Miss Winder, a scholar, has knowledge of several languages including Sanskrit, Pali and Tibetan. I was very fortunate to have had her assistance, and it was indeed a pleasure to work with her.

My gratitude goest to the two Tibetan doctors, Dr. hJam-dbyans Legs-pa’I bLo-gros from Ladakh and Dr. hjam-dbyans Sen-ge from sDe-dge in Kham, whom I consulted in order to clarify my doubts and difficulties during the translation of the Commentary to the bShad-rgyud and the Phyi-rgyud.

I thank Rai Bhadur Densapa, a learned Buddhist scholar, for giving me the loan of his manuscripts from his vast collection of rare manuscripts for reference during my work.

I should also like to thank the late Rhenock Kazi Tse Ten Tashi, Sikkim, who has assisted me greatly in identifying the botanical names.

I thank the India office Library, London, for lending the Wellcome Institute the block print of he Biography of the Elder gYu-thog Yon-tan mGon-po before a copy was discovered in the Wellcome Library itself.

I must thank the late Yapshi Pheunkhang Sey Gompo Tesering for his help and assistance in the collection of materials. Last but not the last, I must thank my wife Rinchen Dolma for her continous help in translation of the medical portion.


Preface vii-viii
Part – I
Introduction 1-7
History of Tibetan Medicine 8-28
Tibetan Medicine (Chapters from the Second Book of the rGyud-Bzhi, called Bshad-rGyud) 29-97
Bibliography of European Works of Tibetan Medicine 98-102
Illustrations 103-144
Part – II
The Life of the Great Physician-Saint gYu-thog the Elder 147-327
Index of Plant Names and Mineral Names Latin of English Tibetan 328-337
Materia Medica Index 338-349
Index of Personal Names 350-370
Index of Texts 371-379
Words Not in Glossary 380-390
Materia Medica (Latin/English) as in the First Edition 391-400
Materia Medica (Tibetan) as in the First Edition 401-407
Index of Places 408-415
Selected Articles on Specific Subjects Connected with Tibetan Medicine 416-418
Bibliography of some of the more recent books on Tibetan Medicine 419-420
Glossary 421-422
**Sample Pages**

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