CONTINUING with our exploration of Tibetan Medicine …
When I teach LU JONG I explain the practice has its origins in the merging of three sources of wisdom: Tibetan Medicine, Bon, and Tibetan Buddhism.
I get many questions about Tibetan Medicine so why not, in the spirit of ‘Back to School’, take a brief look at what some of this is all about?
**Before we proceed any further I would like to clarify that I am NOT a doctor of Tibetan Medicine, nor do I diagnose and/or treat people in this area of expertise.
My knowledge comes from what I have learned from my teacher and Root Lama, the venerable Tulku Lobsang Rinpoche, who IS a doctor of Tibetan Medicine in addition to being a high Tantrayana Buddhist master.
TIBETAN MEDICINE – THE CONCEPT OF BODY/MIND
The Tibetan Medical system is a body/mind medicine where the mind is considered to play an essential role in physical health. The mind creates good health and is also the cause of disease.
How can this be possible? Let’s start by looking at The Mind, The Humors and then The Body.
Unlike Western Medicine, all oriental sciences place their foundations at the level of the mind because the mind is considered to be the Core of everything.
The Natural Mind is the Materia Prima – the creator of the ‘self’ as well as of the external world as we perceive it. It is considered to be boundless and without beginning.
The mind is accompanied by an energy which contains the energetic principles of the five elements (earth, water, fire, wind and space). This energy is called the ‘Vehicle of the Mind’.
The elemental process of creation has a specific order originating from the Natural Mind through to completion of the physical Body:
Space > Wind > Fire > Water > Earth (from lightest to heaviest element)
The energetic principles of the five elements also qualify HOW we view the world around us. Their immediate effect is that of illusion, the inability to see things clearly by virtue of our emotions or mental faculties. This disconnect from the original pure state of the Natural Mind is considered to be the Root of the Disease.
THE THREE POISONS
There are three qualities that are like ‘poison’ to the mind:
Attachment – Desire and attachment are the principal causes of happiness and sorrow. Attachment creates a temporary pleasure which inevitably leads to jealousy, dissatisfaction, loss, and creates an imbalance in the heart, lungs, colon and lower part of the body. It is said that attachment is like seawater: It increases thirst instead of solving the suffering from thirst.
Anger – Anger is also the emotion of hatred and a destructive state of mind. It diminishes the peace and happiness of the self and of others. Generally anger manifests itself through pride, ambition, power, jealousy, stupidity, fear, etc. The liver, gall bladder and middle part of the body are the physical organs and areas that produce the body heat and psychological fire elements (anger) that burn happiness and freedom.
Ignorance – ‘Close Mindedness’ or lack of awareness occurs when the human being stops his ability of judgment and his mental state falls into darkness. Closed-mindedness produces doubt, fear, delusion, lack of concentration, and selfish actions. Ignorance is believed to be the root of ALL other afflictions, sufferings, and bad karma.
The head is where the sensory consciousnesses and emotions rise and dissolve. These in turn depend upon brain functions, therefore it is believed that ignorance is manifested from the brain.
At the center of The Wheel of Life: Attachment (Bird) > Anger (Snake) > Ignorance (Pig)
THE THREE LEVELS & LOCATIONS OF THE MIND
- Gross Mind – Functions from the Crown chakra
The Gross Mind resides in the brain and depends upon the mechanical duties of the brain cells to function. It is in charge of memory, sleeping, interests, stress, tension, sensory perception etc.
- Subtle Mind – Emotions from the Heart chakra
The Subtle Mind is found in the heart in energy form. Its primary function is to receive data from the Gross Mind. The Subtle Mind allows us to feel emotions such as fear, anxiety, sadness, love, compassion, and joy. It also produces deep contemplation and dreams.
- The Very Subtle Mind – Located in the Naval chakra
The Very Subtle Mind receives and stores all experiences from the Gross and Subtle Minds. It is mostly inactive except during the process of dying and conception. The Very Subtle Mind carries memories for next lives and can only otherwise be reached by deep meditation, shock, or a high spiritual realization.