Outstanding people

Troru Tsenam 1926-2004

khro ru tshe rnam

Troru Tsenam was born on August 6, 1926 in Joda (‘jo mda’) county, Kham, in eastern Tibet. In 1933 he entered the monastery Throru (khro ru dgon) and spent 10 years getting a traditional education. Besides it, he received instruction in Tibetan medicine, including diagnosis by pulse and urine, astrology elements and planets, grammar etc. from various teachers.


Troru Tsenam.

After completing the first stage his education, Troru Tsenam undertook a three-year pilgrimage, first visiting Lhasa, and then Bhutan, Nepal and India. When he returned from that trip in 1946, Kathok Khanpo Legshad Jordan suggested that he should go to Kathok monastery to learn more and to deepen his knowledge in Traditional studies.

At the monastic university Troru Tsenam spent several years studying medicine, astrology planets and elements, poetry and other areas of traditional knowledge, as well as various Buddhist disciplines such as Madhyamaka, Prajnaparamita, Vinaya and Abhidharma, and the Nyingma and Kagyu lineage of Vajrayana Buddhism. His particular focus was on the study of Tibetan Medicine from Doctor Tachung Lama Tsering Chophel (rta chung bla ma tshe ring chos ‘phal), there he learned important skills pertaining to the Tibetan medicinal pharmacopeia. For example, he became one of the few doctors who hold the secret art of making medical purified mercury.

In the Kathok monastery Troru Tsenam received high rank "Khenpo of five disciplines" approximately equivalent to a professorship, confirming his skills in all major fields of knowledge.

In 1956, he was invited to Troru monastery and he went there for teaching and practice of Buddhism and Traditional Tibetan Medicine.

Shortly after the annexation of Tibet by China Troru Tsenam was arrested and spent 10 years in prison. However even in these adverse conditions he worked as doctor treating the other prisoners as well as the military personnel.

He was finally released and allowed to practise again as a normal doctor in the local village, in Pome area (spo mes). Plus his incredible knowledge of medicine was so obvious that he had apologized.

In 1977, for the very first time after the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Prof. Troru Tsenam made some Precious Pills. Then he transmitted the lineage of this Medical tradition to about 200 people. Thus, because of his efforts this ancient method of Tibetan medicine was saved.

Shortly after that, the Lhasa Mentsee Khang invited him to edit the book of collected Tibetan medicines. At that time, he started to teach Traditional Tibetan Medicine, Yuthok Nyingthig, Astrology, Sanskrit and other important medicine-related subjects.

In 1983, the Director of the Lhasa Mentsee Khang invited Prof. Troru Tsenam to teach Tibetan Medicine and Sanskrit at the Mentsee Khang; in1984 he instructed the Tibetan medicine teachers in Sanskrit and Medicine.

In 1987,The Panchen Lama invited Prof. Troru Tsenam to Beijing Tibetan Buddhist College to teach Buddhism and Kagyud tradition. During his time there, he wrote a few books about the history and philosophy of Buddhism.

In the year 1989, he became the vice president of the Tibetan Medicine College in Lhasa, Tibet. There he taught doctors and students from Central Tibet, Qinghai, Gansu, Suchuan, Yunnan, Xingjian and Inner Mongolia.

In 1994, Prof Troru Tsenam was invited to the United Kingdom, where he taught Traditional Tibetan Medicine at Samye Ling Monastery‘s Tara Rokpa Medicine College.

In Chengdu, in the year 1997, he gave all his personal teaching to many students.

Overall, he wrote some great works as well as numerous articles on Tibetan medicine. A list of several texts that he wrote:

  • - in particular a great commentary of the Gyud Zhi (the Four Tantras of Tibetan Medicine) - གསོ་རིག་རྒྱུད་བཞིའི་འགྲེལ་ཆེན་དྲང་སྲོང་ཞལ་ལུང་། (gso rig rgyud bzhi’i ‘grel chen drang srong zhal lung)
  • - the work describes in detail the methods of making medical purified mercury and the details of the manufacture of precious pills. - དངུལ་ཆུ་བཙོ་བཀྲུ་ཆེན་མོ་དང་། ལྕགས་ཁམས་ཐལ་བཟོ། རིན་ཆེན་རིལ་བུ་ཁག་གི་སྦྱོར་ཐབས་ལག་ལེན་བཅས་ཀྱི་ཟིན་བྲིས། (dngul chu btso bkru chen mo dang lcags khams thal bzo rin chen ril bu khag gi sbyor thabs lag len bcas kyi zin bris)
  • - he is the author of the components dosage in the famous text written by Ju Mipham Jamyang Namgyal Gyatso (‘ju mi pham rnam rgyal rgya mtsho) «Menjor Dutsii Thigle» (སྨན་སྦྱོར་བདུད་རྕིའི་ཐིག་ལེ Wyl: sman sbyor bdud rtsi’i thig le lit. «Nectarous drops of medicinal formulations»), containing a description of about 260 different formulations.
  • - an article about the origin of the Gyud Zhi - བོད་ཀྱི་གསོ་རིག་རྒྱུད་བཞིའི་བྱུང་ཚུལ་བརྗོད་པ། (bod kyi gso rig rgyud bzhi’i byung tshul brjod pa)
  • - an article about the relationship between Tibetan medicine and astrology སྨན་རྩིས་གཉིས་ཀྱི་འབྲེལ་བ་ནི་ནམ་ཡང་ཁ་བྲལ་ཐབས་མེད་པ་ཞིག་ཡིན། (sman rtsis gnyis kyi ‘brel ba ni nam yang kha bral thabs med pa zhig yin)

There were also a lot of other medical texts.

Prof. Troru Tsenam passed away in 2004.

1) Dr Nida Chenagtsang “A Tribute to Professor Doctor Troru Tsenam - The Most Outstanding Traditional Tibetan Medicine Doctor of the 20th Century.” TTM Journal Vol. 1 2007 p. 36.

2) Доктор Нида Ченагцанг «Искусство благой кармы» М: «Огниво» 2010, - 196 с.

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