The Treasury of Lives

Pasang Yonten Arya (Menrampa) trained at Men-Tsee-Khang in Dharamsala, where he graduated first of his class in 1977 and served as assistant pharmacist, professor, and college principal until 1989. After lecturing at the Central Institute for Buddhist Studies (Ladakh, 1989-1991), he moved to Europe, where he acted as guest professor in Tibetan medicine for DÄGfa (the German Medical Association for Acupuncture) for more than two decades. He co-founded and directs the New Yuthok Institute (Italy) as well as TME – Tibetan Medicine Education Center (Switzerland), through which he has instructed many students on clinical, yogic, and tantric knowledge and practices that balance the body-mind. His recently published handbook New Light on Tibetan Medicine: Volume I – Foundations (2022) is based on his lifelong teaching experience.

Jan M. A. van der Valk (PhD, University of Kent) is a scholar-practitioner specializing in Sowa Rigpa (Tibetan medicine). Drawing on a multidisciplinary training in anthropology, ethnobotany, and biology, his interests revolve around Eurasian medicinal plants and other potent substances, traditional pharmaceutical processes, more-than-human ecologies, and knowledge transmission. He mainly conducts ethnographic fieldwork in the Himalayan valleys of Ladakh (India) and Kathmandu (Nepal). Besides working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies (University of Vienna), he has a private Tibetan medical practice in Belgium, while also collaborating with his teacher Gen. Pasang Yonten Arya as the editor in chief of Bedurya Publications.

Barbara Gerke (DPhil, MSc, University of Oxford), has been based at the University of Vienna since 2015 and works across the disciplines of Medical Anthropology and Tibetan Studies, researching medico-religious interfaces in Sowa Rigpa across the Himalayas. Her open-access monograph Taming the Poisonous: Mercury, Toxicity, and Safety in Tibetan Medical Practice (Heidelberg University Publishing, 2021) examines the use of refined mercury in Tibetan medicines and related safety and toxicity debates. Her first monograph Long Lives and Untimely Deaths (Brill, 2012) analyses long-life rituals, as well as vitality and life-span concepts among Tibetans in the Darjeeling Hills.

Published August 2023


Aschoff, Jürgen C., T. Y. Tashigang, and Jacob Maier. 1997. "Clinical Trial in Migraine Prophylaxis with a Multicomponent Tibetan Jewel-Pill: Transfer Problems of Tibetan into Western Medicine, Demonstrated 'Pars pro Toto' on the Aconite Plants in our Tibetan Prescription." In Tibetan Medicine: "East Meets West, West Meets East". Proceedings of the International Symposium (University of Ulm, Germany, 19-20 July 1996), edited by Jürgen C. Aschoff and Ina Rösing, 21–38. Ulm: Fabri Verlag.

Aschoff, Jürgen C., and Tashi Y. Tashigang. 2004. Tibetan Jewel Pills: The Rinchen Medicine. Ulm/Donau: Fabri Verlag.

Blaikie, Calum. 2014. "Making Medicine: Pharmacy, Exchange and the Production of Sowa Rigpa in Ladakh." PhD dissertation. Canterbury: University of Kent.

Gerke, Barbara. 2021. Taming the Poisonous: Mercury, Toxicity, and Safety in Tibetan Medical Practice. Heidelberg: Heidelberg University Publishing. doi:

Gerke, Barbara. 2015. "Biographies and Knowledge Transmission of Mercury Processing in Twentieth Century Tibet." Histories of Mercury in Medicine Across Asia and Beyond. Special issue, edited by Dagmar Wujastyk, Asiatische Studien/Études Asiatiques 69 (4): 867-899. doi: 10.1515/asia-2015-1041.

Kloos, Stephan. 2008. "The History and Development of Tibetan Medicine in Exile." Tibet Journal 33 (3): 15–49.

Pasang Yonten Arya (Pa sangs yon tan arya). 1988. Bod kyi gso ba rig pa'i lo rgyus kyi bang mdzod g.yu thog bla ma dran pa'i pho nya. Leh, Ladakh: Yuthok Institute of Tibetan Medicine.

Pasang Yonten Arya (Pa sangs yon tan arya). 2022. "Some Famous Tibetan Doctors: Dr. Tashi Yangphel. In memoriam."

View this person’s associated Works & Texts on the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center’s Website.