Monday, October 6, 2008

Desi Sangye Gyatso

Desi Sangye Gyatso was the regent of the Fifth Dalai Lama who founded the School of Medicine and Astrology on Chags-po-ri Hill in 1694 and wrote the ''Blue Beryl'' treatise. The name is sometimes written Sangye Gyamtso.

By some accounts, Sangye Gyatso is believed to be the son of the Fifth Dalai Lama. He ruled as regent, hiding the death of the Dalai Lama, while the infant Sixth Dalai Lama was growing up, for 16 years. During this period, he oversaw the completion of the Potala palace, and also warded off Chinese politicking. Eventually, the discovery of this deception was not taken kindly by the Chinese emperor Kangxi.

Iron Mountain

The medical college at Chags-po-ri was designed for monastic scholars who would, after learning esoteric arts of medicine and tantrism, mostly remain in the monastery, serving the public as would other monk scholars and lamas. In 1916, Khenrab Norbu, physician to the Thirteenth Dalai Lama, sponsored the construction of a second secular college of Tibetan medicine and Astrology, the Mentsikhang. Mentsikhang was designed as a college for 'laypersons' who would, after receiving training, return to their rural areas for work as doctors and educators.

Six herbs

Six medicinal substances were in common use in Tibet when they appeared in the ''Blue Beryl'' Treatise:
* Arabic frankincense (Burseraceae} ;
* Mongolian garlic ;
* Chinese quince ;
* Indian embelic myrobalan ;
* Tibetan ginger ;
* South Chinese Kaempferia galanga ;