Participants from Tibet, Nepal, India, Europe and the United States gather for an international workshop entitled “Producing Efficacious Medicine: Quality, Potency, Lineage, and Critically Endangered Knowledge” in December 2011 in Kathmandu. Organized by the the International Association for the Study of Traditional Asian Medicine (IASTAM), the event facilitated an open exchange of practical knowledge across borders—a rare occasion, especially for the Tibetan participants, who often struggle to get permission to participate in such conferences.
International conferences have a long tradition in Tibetan medicine. According to hagiographic accounts, the history of Tibetan medicine started more than a thousand years ago with an international meeting in Lhasa that assembled doctors and experts from China, India, and Persia. Just as with any dynamic system of knowledge, exchange and cross-cultural contact was and is crucial to the development of the Tibetan “Science of Healing.”