After his daily morning prayer, Dr. Yontan Tsering receives a group of patients at his private practice in Shigatse. Tsering was one of the lay students of Tashilunpo Monastery’s school in the 1950s. In addition to his private practice he tours the countryside and is sometimes consulted by doctors and pharmacists at the monastery hospital.
Despite the growth of university degrees, official titles, and government-run hospitals, which increasingly define the setting in which Tibetan medicine is practiced in the People’s Republic of China, the importance of renowned private doctors has not vanished. Receiving practical knowledge directly from a famous teacher remains a crucial aspect of a Tibetan doctor’s fame and reputation.