The Great Medical Conference of Tibet 

During the 8th century, Tibetan king Trisong Deutsen invited several great physicians for the first-ever medical conference at Samye, Tibet.* This was known as the “Great Medical Conference” and was the beginning of Tibet sponsoring several conferences in which physicians from various countries gathered together to share their knowledge. 

In the 8th century the Tibetan government began sponsoring conferences where doctors skilled in the medical systems of India, Persia, Greece and China presented and debated their ideas regarding health and the treatment of illness. Those with superior understanding of medicine and abilities in the diagnosis and treatment of illness were invited to stay and contribute to the country’s medical knowledge base. In the 11th century, this knowledge was codified into a unique system. The Four Medical Tantras (rGyu-bZhi; རྒྱུད་བཞི) – thought to have been originally compiled by Yuthog Yontan Gonpo, the Younger (1126–1202) – were established as the basic texts of Tibetan medicine, containing the principals of [mind-body] medicine, imbued with key influences from the Buddhist tantras. 

The resulting holistic and ecologically-minded medical system acknowledged how health and illness resulted from the interdependence of mind and body; the laws of nature, and an individual’s ability to understand and achieve balance with the natural environment; and a spiritual understanding of the nature of existence.**



*Beckwith, C. I. (1979). The Introduction of Greek Medicine into Tibet in the Seventh and Eighth Centuries. Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 99, No. 2 (Apr. - Jun., 1979), pg. 297-313. 

**Tibetan Medicine. Educational & Clinical Resource by Eliot Tokar est. 1998.