© 2017 Galina KOPELIOVICH, Lobsang Tenzin RAGDO
2017 – №1 (13)
Key words: Tibetan traditional medicine, Sowa Rigpa, India, Tibet, medical anthropology, Central Council of Tibetan Medicine, organization of health, Buddhism, western medicine
Abstract: Currently, there is an increase in interest in traditional medical systems in Russia, in particular in Tibetan medicine. A conversation with Professor L. T. Ragdo addressed the processes of integration of Tibetan medicine into the health care of India, as well as issues related to education in the field of Tibetan medicine. Dr. L. T. Ragdo spoke about the principles of functioning of the Central Council of Tibetan Medicine, shared his thoughts on the prospects of integration of Tibetan medicine into Russian healthcare. It was discussed how to apply the new name of Tibetan medicine “Sowa Rigpa” and the reasons for its occurrence.
Lobsang Tenzin Ragdo was born in 1956 in Kham (Eastern Tibet). Here he studied Tibetan medicine from 1974 to 1978. In 1985, he graduated from the Institute of Mentsikhang in Lhasa, after which he worked there as a clinical doctor and researcher. In 1988, Dr. Ragdo moved to India. During 5 years he worked there as a teacher at the Mentsikhang college. Subsequently, he was assigned the responsibility of establishing a Sowa Rigpa Department at the Central University for Tibetan Studies (CUTS) (Varanasi, India). It was opened in 1993. Tibetan medicine and astrology are taught at this department. Later on, Lobsang Tenzin Ragdo became Professor of Tibetan Medicine at the Central University for Tibetan Studies (Varanasi). He also worked here as a leading lecturer, examiner and member of the Academic Council. Since 1996, Professor Ragdo has become the Dean of the Faculty of Chikitsa Vidya of the Central University for Tibetan Studies, as well as the chairman of the Central Council of Tibetan Medicine.
Abstract of Ragdo Lobsang Tenzin speech
Sowa Rigpa is a Tibetan word. It can be said that the concepts of Sowa Rigpaand Tibetan medicinehave the same meaning. Tibetan medicine was called Sowa Rigpa, because this collocation corresponds to the value of Tibetan medicine. If we divide the term into two words, then each one has a very deep meaning. When translated into English, they are translated as “Tibetan medicine”. The word “Rigpa” can be translated as Vedaor science, knowledge. The word “Sowa” means healing. When we talk about Sowa Rigpa, we always talk about the state of balance. And when we talk about the state of balance, we are talking about the balance of three energies: wind, bile and mucus. The science of Sowa Rigpa is a balancing science, the science of what and how to heal or restore. The term “Tibetan medicine” gives you an idea of where this medicine comes from, but it does not say what it means.
Tibetan medicine in India has been practiced illegally for sixty years, it has benefited not only ordinary people, but also high-ranking people, scholars, etc. Therefore, in 2004, the Central Council of Tibetan Medicine was founded. He was created by the Tibetan Government in exile (now the Central Tibetan Administration). His Holiness the Dalai Lama, with the help of the Tibetan administration, sent a request to the governing bodies of the Government of India to legalize Tibetan medicine.
In 2008, the Tibetan Administration established contact with the AYUSH Department. And AYUSH created an expert advice which consisted of scholars who should have checked everything. In 2010, the federal government agreed with the need to recognize Tibetan medicine, and passed the results of the study to parliament.
The education system in India is roughly the same as in the whole world. During four and a half years, a student attends lectures. After that, he studies what can be called an intensive course, or internship. To sum up, education lasts for five years. To apply for the program a prospective student should have finished twelve classes of the school, and a course in biology and chemistry at eleventh and twelfth grade. If we compare Tibetan medicine and Ayurveda, then the later has a slightly different system, but a student of Tibetan medicine has to finish 12 classes. It is very important for us that the student should know Tibetan language and a little philosophy. Therefore, speaking of our university, there are two preparatory years prior to admission, during which there is training in Tibetan language and philosophy. And even if a person has completed 12 classes but has not completed a two-year training course, it will be very difficult for him to enter the university. And also in these two years the study of astrology and astronomy is included. After this entrance examinations are held. And if a person was accepter, then he begins training.
It is very important to carry out research in order to have the opportunity to legalize Tibetan medicine in any country. Because, if you show the real results of the research, then people will take it seriously. Therefore, from all that I saw, the work of researchers of scientific institutes was the most important to integrate Tibetan medicine. I think that in order to popularize medicine, to integrate it, there is nothing better than research.
Earlier it was be possible to say that this teaching was given by Buddha or God, and people would have believed, but time has changed. Now no one believes it without results, without proof that it works. And if there are results, and people still do not believe it, then these are their problems.
In an ideal situation Tibetan medicine should be fully integrated as a holistic system. But this can not be accomplished in one day. Therefore, it is necessary to begin with some aspects, for example, to start studying the effect of individual drugs. And in the end, of course, I would like it to be a holistic system. We do not think that if only some parts are integrated, it will be one hundred percent useful. But, of course, you need to start with something, and if people have an interest, they will want to learn more.
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