Tibetan Medicine

 

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The Four Tantras

The basic text of Tibetan Medicine is called the "Four Tantras" and was taught by Buddha himself. All Tibetan physicians study it. Tantra means "lineage". It is composed of four books:

The First Tantra is called "Root Tantra" and it contains very briefly an explanation of all diseases. It is like a seed.

The Second Tantra, composed of 31 chapters, is called "Explanatory Tantra". It explains all about the anatomy and physiology of our body; the process of birth and dying.

The Third Tantra, composed of 92 chapters, is called "Oral Transmissions Tantra" and deals with the cause, the nature, the treatment of diseases and their classification.

The Fourth Tantra, composed of 25 chapters, is called "Last Tantra" and it explains the 18 methods of diagnosis, pharmacology and support, or external treatments.

The entire text includes 156 chapters. Buddha gave the teachings of the Four Tantras in Benares (Varanasi, India) when he was 71 years old. He gave them in order to benefit sentient beings, not to allow doctors to become rich.

At the basis of the general theory, we come to the three humours: wind, bile and phlegm. These three humours exist in all of us, whether we be healthy or sick. The cause of their existence are the three poisons: hatred, attachment and ignorance. The three mental poisons are the roots of the three humours and the three humours are the fruit of the three mental poisons.

In the medicine tree, blue is the colour for wind, yellow for bile and green for phlegm. Inside our body, there are 7 constituents and 3 excretions. The essence of food, when transformed, produces these constituents. Waste is expelled through the three excretions. When this system works well, we are in good health.

The number of chakras, three, five, nine and so on, varies according to the Tantra that explains them: each Tantra has a different chakra system. In the Tibetan medical system we consider five 5 chakras: the chakra of the head, throat, heart , navel and secret chakra (at the genital organs).

Furthermore, we have 5 types of wind, 5 types of bile and 5 types of phlegm. Wind, Bile, Phlegm

The 5 winds are:

The 5 biles are:

The 5 phlegms are:

To be in good health all these humours have to be balanced. When a humour becomes weak or too strong it creates unbalance and therefore, disease.

How to prolong life

There is a method to prolong life: by saving the life of many beings in danger. For example, by buying and the let free animals that are going to be killed. In India people go to fishermen, buy fishes and let them free. Saving the life of living beings is the best method to prolong life. This behaviour is followed both by Buddhists and by Hindus. Also the Nagpo Gutup pill, which is made of 9 substances and contains many blessings, from the point of view of Tibetan Medicine has the potency of prolong life and makes us more happy.

from article - Four Tantras The basic text of Tibetan Medicine


The Science & Lore of Tibetan Medicine by Dr Yeshi Dhonden

Our extract comes from Chapter Six

The Accumulation, Arousal and Pacification of Humoral Disorders

The Explanation of the accumulation, arousal and pacification of humoral disorders deals with (I) the causes, (II) the essential natures, and (III) the seasons for these phases of illness.

The Causes

Food and medication having rough, light, subtle, hard and motile qualities, when conjoined with the potency of warmth, cause wind to increase in its own locations, such as the bones, and wind disorders are thereby accumulated. While the qualities of roughness and so on increase wind (due to their correspondence with the characteristics of wind), their conjunction with the potency of warmth suppresses wind, so the disorder cannot manifest. When those qualities of roughness and so on of one's food and medication are conjoined with the potency of coolness, wind disorders that have accumulated in their own location are aroused. The unique combination of those qualities and that potency counteracts the suppression of wind disorders. Eventually, when wind disorders aroused by those causes are counteracted by food and medication having oily, warm, heavy, soft and firm qualities, wind disorders are pacified in their own location.

Likewise, food and medication having sharp, oily, odorous, purgative, and moist qualities, when conjoined with the potency of coolness, cause bile to increase in its own locations, such as the blood and sweat, and bile disorders are thereby accumulated. While the qualities of sharpness and so on increase bile (due to their correspondence with the characteristics of bile), their conjunction with the potency of coolness suppresses bile, so the disorder cannot manifest. When those qualities of sharpness and so on of one's food and medication are conjoined with the potency of heat, bile disorders that have accumulated in their own location are aroused. The unique combination of those qualities and that potency stop the suppression of bile disorders. Eventually, when bile disorders aroused by those causes are counteracted by food and medication having dull, dry and cool qualities, bile disorders are pacified in their own location.

Similarly, food and medication having heavy, oily, dull, smooth, stable and sticky qualities, when conjoined with the potency of coolness, cause phlegm to increase in its own locations, such as the nutriment, flesh and fat, and phlegm disorders are thereby accumulated. While the qualities of heaviness and so on increase phlegm (due to their correspondence with the characteristics of phlegm), their conjunction with the potency of coolness congeals and "freezes" phlegm, so the phlegm disorder cannot manifest. When those qualities of heaviness and so on of one's food and medication are conjoined with the potency of warmth, cool phlegm disorders that have accumulated in their own location are aroused. The unique combination of those qualities and that potency stops the containment of phlegm disorders. Eventually, when phlegm disorders aroused by those causes are counteracted by food and medication having rough, light, sharp, and motile qualities, phlegm disorders are pacified in their own location.

The Essential Natures

Under the influences of one's diet, conduct, environment, and the seasons, wind, bile, and phlegm gradually increase in their own locations, and disorders are thereby accumulated. Due to those contributing conditions, the bodily constituents are disturbed and agitated, and one then craves food and drink having qualities opposite to those of the disturbed humours. For instance, when wind disorders are accumulated, one craves things having oily and heavy qualities and so on, which are the opposite of wind; likewise, when bile disorders are accumulated, one desires things having cool and dull qualities and so on; and when phlegm disorders are accumulated, one longs for things having light and rough qualities and so on. That is the essential nature of accumulation. Under the influences of one's diet, conduct, environment, and the seasons, humoral disorders that have accumulated in their own location enter other areas of the body, such as a wind disorder invading the locations of phlegm and bile. This gives rise to discomfort, and the individual symptoms of those disorders manifest in the pulse and urine. That is the essential nature of arousal.

By devoting oneself to a healthy diet, conduct, medical treatment, and environment, and due to the influence of the seasons, the humours are once again balanced in their own locations, and the symptoms of discomfort and so on disappear. That is the essential nature of pacification.

The Seasons

During the early summer (May-June), due to a light and rough environment, humoural constitution, diet, and conduct - all having similar characteristics - wind disorders are accumulated; but due to the warmth, they are not aroused. During the summer (July-August), they are aroused by rain, wind and cold, and in the fall (September-October), they are pacified by the oiliness and warmth of that season. If wind-dominated people eat food and medicine having a bitter taste and light and rough potencies, and engage in light and rough conduct, due to the homogeneity of all those factors, wind increases in its own locations, and wind disorders are accumulated . . .


 

Channels or jing luo (meridians) and xue (acupoints)

by: Joe Hing Kwok Chu

Jing luo (meridians) are the channels in the body through which the qi flows. Xue (acupuncture points) are the points on the surface of the skin that connect to the jing luo (meridians).

Meridians and acupuncture points are bad translations since jing luo are physically real but meridians are imaginary lines of the earth; and xue are just points on the skin that can transfer signals into the channels or jing luo (meridians) and are not necessary only used for acupuncture. Research on channels or jing luo was done by Shanghai Fu Dan University, Shanghai Bao Shan Acupuncture Hospital, Shanghai Sixth People Hospital, Second Army Medical School, and Shanghai Chinese Medical School. MRIs (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), CAT scans (computer axial topography scans), and autopsies were used in the research. The discoveries on the characteristics of meridian (jing luo) are :

1. Jing luo and xue (acupuncture points) are basically complex structures, aggregates of connective tissues, lymph ducts, blood vessels and nerves that possess complex biological functions.

2. The connective tissues deep under the xue (acupuncture points) contain larger amount of the elements like calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, zinc, manganese, chromium than other tissues. Among them, the amount of calcium is proportionally higher than in any other tissues except bones, about 10 to 100 times higher. Calcium ions are important messengers in the regulating the functions of the body.

3. The collagens in the connective tissue of jing luo and xue are highly efficient in transmitting infrared signals. This suggests that the human body may possess an optical system that controls the functions of the body.

 

Tantric mysticism of Tibet (Lamaism) is a branch of Buddhism which is popular in Mongolia and certain areas of China, including and not limited to, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Manchuria, and other provinces like Sichuan, Qing Hai, Yun Nan, Si Kang, Gan Su, etc..

It is said that Tibetan lamas can travel hundreds of miles in seconds, possess the magic of telepathy, and magical sexual power, and that they are formidable martial artists because of the "qi" they have developed through their mystical training. To what extent are these true? Qi is the biological signal carried by electrical energy that controls the various functions of the body. Qi training can be used for helping to heal different illnesses, including different types of cancer.

Qi is being used to enhance psychic powers as in clairvoyance and psychic healings. It can also be used to improve the speed of motor nerve transmission and is a valuable tool in sports.

The Tantric Buddhism, especially the Highest Yoga differs some what with other Buddhist sects in that it emphasizes the training of essential energy9 converting the body and spirit, and to attain longevity. Its ultimate goal is to become Buddha (enlightened) and still being able to possess the physical body, while the Ch'an (Zen) sect maintains that the heart (mind) is the Buddha.

EMPOWERMENT

Empowerment (Abhiseka in Sanskrit or Wong in Tibetan) is a ceremony:

1. to authorize the disciples to learn certain Tantric lessons.
2. to cleanse obscurations
3. to confer power to the disciples, and
4. to establish relationship with certain deities in the mandala.

The empowerment ceremonies are borrowed partly from the Bon religion and mainly from the Hindu ceremony of crowning a king where the rituals involved pouring holy water from the top of an elephant onto the head of the enthroning prince. The initiation ritual of the Tantric Buddhism is not an one time event. A disciple can go through many empowerment ceremonies for taking various steps of Tantric lessons and various authorizations such as authorization to teach the Tantric methods, authorization to give empowerments, etc. These rituals can be elaborate or can be simple and symbolic and performed through visualization. Usually the Lama giving the empowerment constructs a mandala where different deities are arranged in a circle. Strips of fabric are distributed to the disciples taking the initiation. The disciples tie the strips over their foreheads, symbolizeing the eyes are being obstructed. After reciting mantras of empowerment, the master performs the watering ceremony where he or his representatives would distribute some holy water which the disciples drink some of it and pour some on their heads. Then each of the disciples is given a flower (or a petal of flower) to throw into the mandala. A tutelary deity is then selected by the master for each of the disciples who have thrown the flower or sometimes if the number of the initiates is too large, a symbolic throwing will be performed and master will select one deity for all of the disciples. Then some color powder or water are distributed to the disciples to be applied to the foreheads, throats, chests, and navel areas to activate the energy wheels. Usually the rituals are accompanied by vajra bells, clapper drums, gongs, symbals, trumpets, large drums, and chantings.

Besides mantras, the chantings include blessings consist beautiful of verses of five or seven syllables. The low tone chantings of the lamas, piercing sound of the vajra bells and the bellows of the trumpets and occasionally exploding sound of the large drums create a serene and stunning effect for the initiates. Ceremonies may last more than three hours. At the end of the ceremonies the strips of fabrics are removed from the foreheads symbolizing the openning of the eyes so that the disciples can see clearly (spiritually). Usually after the ceremonies fruits and cookies are distributed to all of the participants of the ceremonies.

 

Trijang Rinpoche's biography

His Holiness Trijang Dorje Chang was one of the foremost Tibetan Buddhist master of our time, born at the turn of the 20th century and passed away in 1981 at the age of eighty-one. He was the master and personal tutor of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for 50 years. He tutored His Holiness in studies from elementary level up to the highest tantric level. He was also the master of the majority of the Lamas and Gheshes of the Ghelugpa tradition, like Kyabje Song Rinpoche, Lama Gangchen Rinpoche, Geshe Rabten Rinpoche, Gonsar Rinpoche, Lama Yeshe, Lama Zopa, to mention just a few. One year after he passed away his reincarnation was found at the age of three and was officially recognised and confirmed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Since a very early age he manifested all the signs of a Holy Master. At the age of six he entered the Ganden Monastic University. At present he lives in the "Centre d'Etudes Tibetaines Rabten Choeling" in Switzerland.

Trijang Rinpoche's speech Albagnano, June 2000

I am going to say a few words about the reasons why I came here. For a long time the Venerable Gangchen Rinpoche has requested me to come to visit this new place, this new centre. The Venerable Gangchen Rinpoche has a very deep and long spiritual link and relationship with me and my previous incarnation. On that basis, the arrangement was made for me to come to visit this time and so far everything is going very well. I am very pleased to see the environment of the new centre and I am very pleased to meet with the Venerable Gangchen Rinpoche and all the Dharma friends.

To meet everybody here is a very great joy. Until now Venerable Gangchen Rinpoche has made the very great effort of helping sentient beings through Dharma, through medicine and through many other ways. He has worked very much for the benefit of everybody and for that I express all my admiration. Actually, I always pray for the continuation and the flourishing of these activities. Lama Gangchen requests me to give a brief teaching. All of you, for a long time now, have always maintained a deep interest in Buddhism and Dharma and you always maintain your link with Dharma by continuously practising. This is indeed very powerful. You should continue to learn by searching deeper into the Dharma, then you will comprehend anything.

In general the teaching of the Buddha is very vast and profound, it is not so simple as to grasp it in one time. If we had to summarise the complete teaching of Buddha we would see that all is included in two main points, that is: cause no harm to any sentient beings, always try to benefit all sentient beings; or, if we are not able to benefit others we should at least avoid all harmful thoughts and actions. Buddha Himself summarised in a few lines the essence of His teachings: abandon all harming actions and all negative actions, practice all positive actions completely and control your own mind. This is the teaching of Buddha.

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