In a corridor at the Qinghai University Tibetan Medicine College—which is the first ethnic medical institution that can award a doctoral degree in Tibetan medicine—an undergraduate student named Drolma-ke, who has been at the school for only two months, is reciting the Four Medical Texts with his classmates.
“The Four Medical Texts is an encyclopedia of Tibetan medicine and the book we reference the most. You need to reite it and then it is easy to use,” Drolma-ke said.
Drolma-ke is from Guinan County in Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province. His parents raise yaks and sheep. This year, he was the only student from his village to be accepted to university, and he chose to study Tibetan medicine. “In my hometown, medical care is not very good. People have to go very far to bigger cities in order to get medical treatment. Studying medicine is not only good for myself, I can also use it to help cure people around me of disease.”
Carrying a large volume of the Tibetan Medicine Classics, a reference book, Phuntsok Lhatsang from Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai province says that for nomads on the grassland, everyone trusts Tibetan medicine because “it is in touch with the common people, has obvious effects, and fewer side effects.”
After graduating from college as an undergraduate, Phuntsok Lhatsang came to the Zadoi County Tibetan Medicine Hospital in Yushu Prefecture to work. “During the cordyceps digging season, we organized a medical team to travel far to various towns and villages and give checkups. On average we receive more than 60 people and work everyday until one or two o’ clock in the morning.”
“But I found that at the time, I didn’t understand Tibetan medicine theory so much and was thinking too simply to solve problems.” After working for one year, Phuntsok Lhatsang returned to her alma mater to study health care and public health in Tibetan medicine for postgraduate studies. “Tibetan medicine pays attention to diet and lifestyle for holistic care.”
Phuntsok Lhatsang studied under a mentor, studying professional vocabulary in the traditional texts. As her studies progressed, “I had a growing sense that the system of Tibetan medicine is huge. I must spend more effort to continue studying.”
Drolma-ke admiringly looks at the “Manthang” (a medical thangka chart of Tibetan medicine) hanging on the walls of the classroom. He said that the Tibetan medicine system, which has been passed down for thousands of years, is huge, though even today it is still very scientific. “The senior students in the college work very hard. Some people get up at five or six in the morning to recite the classics.”
Thanks to policies from Qinghai Provincial Government, Drolma-ke and his classmates can study Tibetan medicine for free, and after graduation, according to an agreement, they will go to designated places as menba (Tibetan medicine doctors). “I hope we can do a good job in the future.”