Four Medical Tantras
Four Medical Tantras

Some Mongolian and foreign scientists have made surveys on “Four Medical Tantras” and published their works about when it was written, who wrote it, and how it is transmitted to us. For example: Lkhundendash, Darmuu Maaranba Luvsanchoidog (1982, revised version), Vandan (1990), Sh.Bold (2005). We know that the main Tibetan medical creations of the “Four Medical Tantras.” and Ashtanga Hrdaya Samhita are almost the same from their comparision of terms. A comparative study of “Four Medical Tantras,” and “Ashtanga Hrdaya Samhita” is very important not only to understand more about Tibetan medical culture, particularly its unrepeatable features and influence of Tibetan medicine and neighbor countries noted in it, but also further to find traces of the main Tibetan medical creations (S.K. Pathak, Sh. Tenzin and B. Gerke, 1997).

“Four Medical Tantras,” was written by Candranandana, and is the ancient Indian original medical version, which was translated into Tibetan in the VIII century (Clifford, 1984). Candranandana wrote “Four Medical Tantras” in Sanskrit and given it to Vairochana73, a Tibetan translator, on the occasion of his last visit to India. Based on those researcher’s conception (dogmas) and facts of their own survey results, the origin of the “Four Medical Tantras” is without any doubt the concise compilation of 2 books. One is “Charaka Samhitia,” included in multilateral understanding and theory of Ayurvedic medicine, and the other is “Sushruta Samhita,” about surgical treatment, which was written between 200 B.C.E and 200 C.E, and Ashtanga Hrdaya Samhita, in Tibet rGyud bzhi and in Mongolian “Durvun Undes,” written by Bagvat (C.E 550-600). Ashtanga Hrdaya Samhita and Vagbhata’s own explanation “Ashtanga Hrday Nama Baidurya Kabasya,” by Vagbhata was explained by the famous Kashmirian doctor Chandranandana. Then he wrote his book “Vaidya-Astanga-hrdaya-vrttau Bhesaja-nama-paryaya,” and gave it to Vairocana, the great Tibetan translator, in the 8th century. Vairocana translated it from Sanskrit into Tibetan and presented it to Tisrondezan, the Tibetan Khaan (755-759), and his doctor Yutok Yonten Gonpo (708- 833). Later, from the discussion of Padmasambhava, we learned that this book was hidden under the main hall of the printery in Samiya lamasery.
It was written that the main reason for hiding it was when people understood the meaning of this book, all people who understood it would be able to take its secrets and spread them. This creation was kept secretly in that place until the middle of the 11th century. Dava Onshe found it under Samya temple in the hidden place at midnight on the 15th of first month of autumn, in the Yellow tiger year (1038).

The original copy of the book was kept at his home and a copied one was hidden at his home for a year, until at last he gave it to Buidarma (Tibet, Chinese Big Dictionary, 1993, page 416). Later on, the younger Yutok Yonten Gonpo, while he was only 10 years old, treated Rogdon Lama’s leg of scurvy. He went to Lkhasa, and he was thanked very much. After Rogdon Lama discovered he continued his travels. Two years later Rogdon Lama was seriously ill in Lkhasa and no one treated him. But Buidarma heard about it and went there and treated him once again. Buidarma, deigned “Root of Magic,” had some chief significant explanations for Rogdon. On the way from Lkhasa to his country, Rogdon gevsh met with the younger Yutok Yonten Gonpo again and gave him the “Root,” for treating his former scurvy. Likewise, Rogdon and younger Yutok Yonten Gonpo debated about “Astanga Hrdaya“ and held a religious dispute debate. At the end Rogdon gevsh won. So the younger Yutok Yonten Gonpo knew about the great and deep meanings of the “Root,” and respected it. After that he was presented a horse with a saddle and bridle and some gifts for Rogdon (Biography of the Elder and
Younger Yutok Yonten Gonpo”, 1982, page 326-327).
The younger Yutok Yonten Gonpo explained its contents in depth, put them in logical order and compiled it with the diagnostic and treatment methods of the neighboring and other countries. It contained:
– Some chapters on “Root Tantra”
– Diet related parts of “Explanatory Tantra”
-To feel the pulse and diagnosis part of the ’’Lunar King for Medicine and External Therapy,” were added in detail. This is the first major additional explanation on “Four Medical Tantras” and since then it has become two kinds of descriptions, brief and detailed, and the detailed one has been developed further. There were two medical sects (15th century) in Tibet: north and south. Both of the sects wrote about the explanation of “Four Medical Tantras.” and especially Lomig Oidov, compiled the additional explanation, which added the “Root Tantra” and “Explanatory Tantra,” then wrote his book “Oral Instruction Tantra.” The “Four Medical Tantras” were enriched and compiled with those explanations and additional changes and in 1575 it was printed with woodblocks. It is considered that this is the second additional amendment which was made to “Four Medical Tantras.”
The third additional changes on ““Four Medical Tantras,” were made by the V Dalai Lama Luvsanjamts (1640-1682) in the 16th century when he was responsible for the Tibetan state and religion.
Thus, brief and detailed works on “Four Medical Tantras,” were explained with their comparisons and in 1677 “Four Medical Tantras,” was printed in woodblock printing.
This is the “Four Medical Tantras,” which we are studying now. “Four Medical Tantras,” has four basics, 157 chapters and 1002 simple medicines with over 800 prescriptions described with its texts.