Dr. Pema Dorjee “Compassion and love are intrinsic in Tibetan Medicine”

Massage Around the World talked with the world famous Tibetan Doctor Pema Dorjee in Dharamsala (“Little Tibet”), India, last July about Tibetan Medicine. Here we share some of his answers from the interview. Read about if only Buddhists can practice Tibetan Medicine, or about how a human life is formed…


MATW: What are the main differences between Tibetan and modern medicine?

Pema Dorjee: Modern medicine is very quick, very fast in treating diseases, and it works great especially in emergencies. But for chronic diseases I would definitely recommend Tibetan Medicine, as it has a long-term perspective and does not produce any side effects on the patients. I would say that the base for both medicines is the same, but the means are quite different.


MATW: How is a human life formed according to Tibetan Medicine?

Pema Dorjee: In Tibetan Medicine we say that certain conditions need to be present for human life to be formed. First, consciousness accompanied by the five elements (earth, water, fire, air, space) is very important. Secondly, the karma plays a vital role in the formation process as it determines the possibility of the creation of this human being in this particular female body, and third, the conditions of the father and mother such as the five elements present in their reproductive seeds, the lifestyle they lead, etc. When all the pieces of the puzzle come together in a correct manner, then a healthy human life is formed. As you can see it is not an easy process, and many times, because of an “error” in some of the necessary conditions, a miscarriage takes place, a child is born with deformations, etc. So we need to be grateful for our health!


MATW: Would I need to be a Buddhist in order to practice Tibetan Medicine?

Pema Dorjee: No, not necessarily…actually you only need to be a human being. I say this because as human beings, we possess important qualities such as compassion and loving-kindness. In order to become a Tibetan doctor or carry out therapies related to Tibetan Medicine, you need to actively practice compassion and love, as these characteristics constitute the ethics of our medicine.


MATW: Can Tibetan Medicine and modern medicine be combined?

Pema Dorjee: I don´t think they can be combined as such, but I do believe that they can be integrated. What I mean with this is that both medicinal systems could be present in the same hospital, and the patients would be referred to either a Tibetan doctor or an allopathic doctor according to their needs.


We are thrilled to have Dr. Pema Dorjee as our collaborator and thank him for his time and willingness to share his valuable knowledge on Tibetan Medicine, that he has been practicing for the last 40 years of his life. He has served as Chief Medical Officer at various branch clinics of the Men-Tsee-Khang in India and has travelled around the world giving consultations to patients and health-care talks. Besides being a successful medical practitioner, Dr. Pema Dorjee has many achievements to his credit such as being a successful author, a keynote speaker to many conferences and a recipient of many honors.

Wishing you a lovely day ahead,

César Tejedor

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