While health care is free in Bhutan, its citizens also have the option of choosing from traditional or allopathic medicine. Since 1971, the government of Bhutan has been training traditional physicians at what is now the Faculty of Traditional Medicine (FoTM), based on the ancient science of bSowa Rigpa. As per this text, the Buddha identified medicinal plants in the four directions in the celestial paradise of the Medicine Buddha (Sangay Menlha). This paradise or celestial city was called Tanadugphodrang. Based on an old temple wall painting and ancient texts, a three dimensional model of Tanadugphodrang was built at the FoTM to help students and trainee physicians visualize this spiritual abode of the Medicine Buddha.
In addition, a medicinal herb garden with over 100 medicinal plants was also constructed on the grounds of the training institute. This collection of rare and threatened medicinal plants will help students in plant identification and field collections. As the plants mostly grow in remote locations in the wild, this garden makes it possible for the trainees to observe them closer to their classrooms.
The Bhutan Foundation supports these activities as part of its larger support towards improving health services in Bhutan. Our main partner for this program is the Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan.