medical skill has been handed down from generation to generation
in families and in the monasteries. In addition doctors
used to undertake medical training at colleges like the famous
Chagpori Medical Collage in Lhasa. Tragically during the communist
occupation of Tibet, traditional medical colleges and monasteries
were destroyed in Tibet interrupting the traditional passage
knowledge. They have been re-established in exile in India and
doctors at Sacred Land received their education from the Chakpori
Medical College, which was re-established in Kalimpong, Shikkim.
trained more than seven years under Trokgawa Rinpoche and received
their graduation certificates at MenTseKang in Dharamasala, with
blessing of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
A Tibetan doctor is known as an Amchie, and a community health worker
as a Men-pa. The knowledge and training of Amchies and Menpas can
vary tremendously. The formalisation of training through medical
colleges has become increasingly important as Tibetan medicine
becomes more wide spread. Doctors who qualify from colleges such as
Chagpori have studied at least seven years. For the first five years
they study the Four Medical Tantras in winter and in summer they
study and collect medicinal plants. They then spend at least two
years doing practical training before they are qualified. After this
some doctors choose to take extra studies in clinical practice or in
medical plants and the art of making medicine.
The two Amchies working for Sacred Land are Sherab Tenzin Barma and
Lhakpa Nurbu Sherpa. Dr Sherab mostly runs the clinic in Namche
Bazaar with his wife Pema. Dr. Lhakpa is in charge of the pharmacy
and medical herb gardens in Techo. Tashi is the medical assistant or
Menpa, who is gaining further experience at the clinic along with
Pasang, and Rinji who help at the pharmacy.
In the more distant future, we envision a medical school being set
in Techo, located near the pharmacy and plantation. The goal of the
medical school would be to provide formal, traditional training in
Tibetan medicine in a setting favourable for learning about medicine
and medicinal plants in their natural environment. Since most Tibetan
medical knowledge is not being disseminated in an academic setting
other than at a couple of large city-based institutions and such
education has been predominantly unattainable in remote areas, our
proposed medical school will aim to provide opportunities for
interested monks, nuns and lay people to train as "men-pa,"
(traditional community health workers).