History and Sources
Buddha Sakyamuni (563–483 BCE), who spread Buddhism throughout India, also gave medical teachings to his students at several locations. He taught Buddhist Medicine in the Medicine Forest near present day Bodhgaya (Bihar, India), in Udhiyana (now Afghanistan) and other places in India. Buddhist medical science (Tib. so wa rig pa) has been passed down through an unbroken lineage of great Buddhist masters that includes Manjushri, Jivaka, Saraha, Nagarjuna, Chandrabiananda, Bibyi Gahbyed and Belha Gahdzesma (also called Bimala Lhatse), Vaghbata I, Vaghbata II, Yuthog Yönten Gönpo the Elder, Shantirakshita and Padmasambhava. It was the great Indian master Padmasambhava (Tib. Guru Rinpoche) who brought Buddhism, and along with it, Buddhist Medicine, to Tibet in the 8th century and taught it there, aided by his Tibetan consort Yeshe Tsogyal.
Some sources report that the first Buddhist Medicine teachings reached Tibet as early as the 2nd century CE. There is mention of four medical transmissions: two early ones in the 2nd century by Bibyi Gahbyed and Belha Gahdzesma and in the 8th century by Padmasambhava and Yuthog Yönten Gönpo, the Elder (708-833 CE); and two later ones in the 11th century by Atisha and in the 13th century by Yuthog Yönten Gönpo, the Younger.