Foreword I II III IV V VI VII Conclusion

V. Tibetan Studies Are Flourishing, and Tibetan Medicine and Pharmacology Have Taken On a New Lease of Life

Old Tibet had no Tibetan studies in the modern sense. But today, great progress has been made in Tibetan studies in Tibet, and Tibetology has been universally acknowledged as a newly developed discipline worldwide, being highly valued in international academic circles. It covers most of the basic subjects in the social and natural sciences, including political science, economics, history, literature and art, religion, philosophy, spoken and written language, geography, education, archeology, folk customs, Tibetan medicine and pharmacology, astronomy, the calendar, ecological protection, sustainable economic development, and agriculture and animal husbandry, breaking the narrow bounds of the "Five Major and Five Minor Treatises of Buddhist Doctrine" of traditional Tibetan culture. Thus Tibetology has become a grand system of comprehensive studies of Tibetan society. According to statistics, there are over 50 institutions of Tibetan studies and more than 1,000 experts and scholars in this field in China at present.

Tibetan studies in Tibet started after the peaceful liberation of the region in 1951. A number of special organizations on Tibetan studies have been established in Tibet since the 1970s, represented by the Tibet Academy of Social Sciences. In the past few years, the Academy has made a breakthrough in Tibetan studies by completing a sequence of important monographs, including A General History of Tibet (Tibetan and Chinese editions), A Political History of Tibet by Xagaba (Annotated), A Communications History of Ancient and Modern Tibet (Chinese edition), The Inference Theory in Tibetan Philosophy (Tibetan edition), A Dictionary of Tibetan Philosophy (Tibetan edition), and Index of the Catalogues of Tibetan Studies Documents. Tibetan Studies has become one of the 100 leading Chinese periodicals on the social sciences. Especially in recent years, unprecedented development has been made in social sciences research in Tibet, a great number of experts and scholars with outstanding accomplishments have emerged, and many scientific research achievements have filled important academic gaps in various fields of Tibetan studies, making important contributions to collating, exploring and saving the precious Tibetan historical and cultural heritage, promoting and carrying forward the fine aspects of traditional Tibetan culture, and enriching the treasure-house of traditional Chinese culture.

Great achievements have also been made in the collection and collation of Chinese documents and historical materials relating to Tibetan studies. A total of over 200 works in more than five million copies have been compiled and published, producing a great impact both at home and abroad, and providing rich evidence and reliable historical materials for research in Tibetology, the history of Han-Tibetan relations, and the history of the relations between the central and Tibetan local authorities. Extensive academic exchanges and cooperation have been carried out between Tibetologists in China and foreign countries, with China receiving more than 200 foreign experts and scholars, and often sending experts and scholars to other countries to give lectures and carry out cooperative research.

Tibetan medicine and pharmacology, with distinctive Tibetan characteristics, occupies an important position in traditional Tibetan culture, and forms a unique part of the treasure-house of Chinese medicine and pharmacology. However, there were only two medical organs in Tibet before 1959-the "Mantsikhang" (Institute of Tibetan Medicine and Astrology) and the "Chakpori Zhopanling" ( Medicine King Hill Institute for Saving All Living Beings) in Lhasa, the conditions at which were very simple and crude. They had a combined floor space of only 500 square meters for the outpatient clinics and a total staff of fewer than 50. They handled 30-50 outpatients a day, and mainly served the nobles, feudal lords and upper-strata lamas.

The state has allocated over 800 million yuan to promote the development of Tibetan medicine and pharmacology since Tibet carried out the Democratic Reform over 40 years ago, giving a great boost to this sector. At present, there are a total of 14 Tibetan medical institutions in Tibet, and over 60 county-level hospitals have established Tibetan medicine sections. In 1959, the working personnel involved in Tibetan medicine in Tibet numbered only 434, while in 1999 the number had increased to 1,071, including 61 chief physicians and associate chief physicians, 166 attending physicians and 844 resident physicians and doctors. The "Mantsikhang" and "Chakpori Zhopanling" have been amalgamated to become the Tibet Autonomous Regional Hospital of Tibetan Medicine, with a floor space of over 100,000 square meters and a staff of 438, of whom 290 are health technicians. The hospital has 250 beds and provides free medical care for the broad masses of the Tibetan people, receiving 230,000 outpatients annually. The hospital has set up outpatient and inpatient departments, a pharmaceuticals factory, and research institutes of Tibetan medicine, astronomy and the calendar. It has a department of medicine, surgical department, department of gynecology and obstetrics, tumor department, gastrointestinal department and department of pediatrics to cater to outpatients. In addition, it has set up more than 20 special outpatient departments, such as the department for disease prevention and health protection, oral hygiene department, ophthalmological department and department of external Tibetan therapeutic medicine, and some modern medical and technical departments such as the departments of radiation, ultrasonic wave examination, electrocardioscopy and gastroscopy.

The hospital has adopted the method of combining Western and Tibetan medicine to treat diseases, thereby enriching and developing Tibetan medical therapies and theories.

Due attention has been paid to scientific research and education concerning Tibetan medicine. Tibetan medical institutions at all levels are actively carrying out scientific research on Tibetan medicine, and have collected and collated nearly 100 related documents and monographs. New achievements have been made in studies relating to the history of Tibetan medicine, medical documents, pharmacological theories, medical ethics, the inheritance of the teachings of the masters, and Tibetan materia medica. Thirty-two monographs have been published, including the Four Medical Classics (Tibetan-Chinese bilingual edition), Blue Glaze, A Complete Collection of Wall Charts of the Four Medical Classics, Diagnostics of Tibetan Medicine, Newly Compiled Tibetan Medicaments and Biographies of Famous Tibetan Doctors. The College of Tibetan Medicine has trained 615 qualified personnel of various levels and categories since it was established 10 years ago. The production of Tibetan medicine has been put on a standardized, normalized and scientific administration track. The Tibetan Pharmaceuticals Factory of the Tibet Autonomous Region, one of a dozen similar factories in Tibet, has two production lines, turning out over 110 varieties of products and boasting an annual output value of 46.1 million yuan.

Tibetan medicine is now taking its place in the world, arousing the attention of international medical circles. Many foreign experts and scholars come to Tibet every year to study Tibetan medicine. Tibetan medicine and pharmacology has also been introduced to the United States, Britain and Germany, and some countries have sent students to Tibet to study Tibetan medicine.

With the development and progress of the times, the old science of Tibetan medicine and pharmacology is now full of vigor and vitality, playing an important role in improving the health conditions of the Tibetan people and bringing benefits to mankind as a whole.