The Four Treatises contain the sowa rigpa theoretical system and practice of Tibetan medicine developed since the 8th century AD combining the pre-Buddhist Bon knowledge and practices with Chinese, Indian and Persian medical traditions. It was further advanced in the 12th century to become more detailed and complete. Over the years it was translated into English, German, Mongolian, Japanese, Russian and other languages.
The texts consist of four xylograph versions, known as Drathang (1546), Tadan (1640), Chagpori (1892), and Gadan Phuntsok Ling (1662) and one gold-ink handwritten version (1942), all stored at the Mentseekhang Traditional Tibetan Hospital in Lhasa. The wood blocks of all except Chagpori were completely destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. Among the five versions, the four xylograph versions of the Four Treatises, which were handed down from generation to generation, were the greatest treasure among all the ancient sowa rigpa texts collected by the Chagpori Sowa Rigpa School from all over Tibet in 1698. They were kept there until 1916, and have been well preserved in the Mentseekhang Traditional Tibetan Hospital since then.
It is noted that if other alternate versions or related documents are identified, they could be eligible for addition to the inscription at a later date.