Tag Archives: Tibet

TIBETAN MEDICINE ~ A Lu Jong New York Learning Series – Part 3

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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.

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THE THREE HUMORS (INTRO)

 
Having briefly touched upon how the Mind is the ‘behind the scenes’ power for the Body to exist, we move into the realm of the Three Humors as they are the basis of the theory and practice of Tibetan Medicine.

 
The humors are the vital substances of the body responsible for all bodily functions. They rule physiology, anatomy and morphology, regulate the functioning of the body, its organs, the brain, nerves, bones, blood circulation, lymphatic systems, digestion etc. The three humors also produce the temperament and quality of a person’s body and mind. In effect, they weave together the physical and subtle levels of the Body.

 

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The Three HumorsLung (Wind), Tripa (Bile) and Beken (Phlegm) carry both subtle and physical energies in and out of the body from birth to the end of life. They are also inherently delicate by nature and thus can easily become unbalanced. All diseases are described in terms of an imbalance of one or more of the humors.

Since the three humors are an integral part of our bodies, in Tibetan Medicine, it is said that we carry the seeds of disease within us. As soon as there is a cause and a condition, the unmanifested disease will become apparent.

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Taking this one step further … each humor is also linked to one of three mental poisons. When Tripa (Bile) is out of balance it causes anger, unbalanced Lung (Wind) causes attachment or grasping, and unbalanced Beken (Phlegm) creates delusion or ignorance. It is precisely this association that creates the link between imbalances of the mind/emotions and those of the body.

 
For example, if someone is always angry (bile), no matter what is done to treat the liver (gallbladder), if the anger is not addressed as well the liver will continue to ail. Healing the Body also means Healing the Mind.

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In sum … Balanced humors give positive health and harmony to the body/mind, and provide a good base for the development of the immune system. On the contrary, the loss of balance among the humors causes energy disharmony, either physical and/or mental disequilibrium, which may appear at any time and become the cause of diseases.

************* In the next installment we take a closer look at each of the three humors.

 

TIBETAN MEDICINE ~ A Lu Jong New York Learning Series – Part 2

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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.

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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.

THE MIND

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:

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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.

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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.

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TIBETAN MEDICINE ~ A Lu Jong New York Learning Series – Part 1

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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 usually get many questions about Tibetan Medicine so why not, in the spirit of ‘Back To School’, take a brief look at what 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 Buddhist master.

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TIBETAN MEDICINE – WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?

Tibetan Medicine is one of the oldest medical systems practiced in Asia, along with the Indian Ayurveda and Chinese medicines. All of them have several thousands of years of history and practical experiences and offer combined aspects of spirituality, philosophy and psychology.

By the 7th century AD,  Tibet had become the center of cultural, artistic and spiritual development. Tibetan kings specially recognized three foreign medical systems (Persian (Galenic), Indian and Chinese) and allowed them to be practiced and diffused along with the native Bon Medicine. From that historical background and from the Buddhist ‘Four Medical Tantras‘, the Tibetan art of healing developed and shaped its own characteristics, evolving into that which today is called Tibetan Medicine.

Tibetan Medicine is a holistic system that honors the interconnectedness between the body, mind and external environment. Each of these areas must be addressed to live a  healthy life. The basic concept of the cause of disease and its symptoms, or suffering, as being part of life and its evolution; and the method to cure and prevent suffering temporarily and permanently, are the foundation of this system.

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The first official training systems were established from the 7th century AD to the 9th century, however until the 17th century, the education offered among the schools in monasteries and those of family traditions were probably not similar.

During the 5th Dalai Lama’s reign, his regent Desid Sangye Gyatsho (1653-1705) built the Chakpori Medical College and made an official curriculum for medical training and certification system. Even if changes in curricula have happened over time, the present Tibetan Medicine trainings in Tibet and India are still made on this basis.

By their practice, based on Buddhist ethics and a doctrine without discrimination of caste, race or wealth, Tibetan physicians quickly won the hearts of the Tibetan people and spread this precious art to the central Asian countries, keeping it alive until now.

Tibetan Medicine explains that everything existing or non-existing in the world derives from the mind and the five elements of space, wind, fire, water and earth.
The mind and the elements manifest particular energetic qualities that, in their densest states, also take on their familiar forms:

  • Wind has the quality of movement.
  • Fire has the quality of heat and transformation.
  • Water has the quality of fluidity and cohesion.
  • Earth has the quality of solidity and stability.
  • And space is the balance of the other four elements in addition to being responsible for creating separation—space—between things.

 

 

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On a more subtle level, the mind and the five elements manifest in the form of energy and gross materials into three aspects – Body, Energy and Mind, which in the human body are reflected in the form of ‘three principles of function’, or three Humors:  Lung (Wind), Tripa (Bile) and Beken (Phlegm).
The three humors are the vital substances of the body and collectively are responsible for all bodily functions. They are the energy that constantly flows in the human body and sustain physical health with mental awareness.
Tibetan Medicine first puts forth a specific definition of health in its theoretical texts:

To have good health, Tibetan medical theory states that it is necessary to maintain balance in the body’s three humors.

 

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Speech & Breath Training

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OM AH HUM Meditation

This brief mantra represents the transformative blessings of the Body, Speech & Mind of all the Buddhas. Mantra literally means ‘mind protection’.
With this mantra we request their blessings to purify our own Body, Speech & Mind.

Feel the vibrations as you chant. Feel the connection with your breath. This meditation is also very helpful for lengthening the breath as you calm the mind.

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PREPARATION

Sit comfortably and relax your body. Let your breath and energy flow naturally.
Relax your mind by letting go of any other thoughts. Don’t think “I’m meditating”, “I’m humble”, “I’m bad at this”. Don’t think anything – just BE.

Decide to keep your attention focused on the meditation for the duration of the session.

Close your eyes and envision a white OM at your third eye, a red AH at your throat, and a blue HUM at your heart.

PURIFICATION OF BODY

Concentrate on the white OM at your head and see it as the energy of the body of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
Make the sound “OM” and recognize it as the sound of Universal energy, the representation of enlightenment.
Visualize a white light emanating from the syllable filling your entire body with radiant, white light energy cleansing and purifying you.
FEEL it as you continue making the sound “OM” several times.
When you stop, don’t do or think anything. Remain perfectly still, aware without expectation.

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PURIFICATION OF SPEECH

Concentrate on the red AH at your throat and see it as the pure speech of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
Make the sound “AH” several times and recognize it as the energy of speech as you call forth the manifestation of enlightenment.
Visualize a radiant red light emanating from the syllable filling your body completely as impure elements are cleansed and purified.
Again, when done just sit and be. No need to interpret sensations.

There are two ways to meditate at this stage: One is to place strong awareness on the stillness of the mind. The other, when distractions arise, is to direct awareness of loving kindness upon yourself. You can alternate between the two.

Then, you visualize your loving kindness manifesting as a full moon at your heart.

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PURIFICATION OF MIND

At your heart, on the full moon, concentrate on the blue HUM and recognize it as the wisdom of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas manifesting enlightenment within your body.
Make the sound “HUM” several times and visualize a blue light from the moon and HUM emanating from your pure heart filling your whole body.
All indecision and narrow thoughts disappear, there is only a blissful sense of universal love and compassion.
FEEL and BE without expectations … allow your awareness to embrace all of universal reality.

Meditate like this for as long as you wish.

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CONCLUSION AND DEDICATION

There are two experiences we can achieve with this meditation: Wisdom and Method.
The Wisdom experience is the intense awareness of your own consciousness.
The Method experience comes when you get distracted, and use that as a resource to re-generate loving kindness.
When your concentration is good, place your attention on wisdom; when you are distracted, generate loving kindness (method).

Finish your meditation by dedicating the merit, or positive energy of this practice, to all sentient beings: May they too be free of suffering and its causes, and may they attain perfect peace and happiness.

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May all beings be happy, healthy and whole.
May they have love, warmth and affection.
May they be protected from harm and free from fear.
May they be alive, engaged and joyful.
May all beings enjoy inner peace and ease.
May that peace expand into their world and throughout the entire universe.

Building Upon The Five Elements …

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Lu Jong is an ancient Tibetan Movement Practice developed for the purpose of self-healing.

This unique Yoga lineage consists of a combination of simple movements coordinated with deep rhythmic breathing.

The Five Elements Movements are a concise method to unclog energetic blocks and restore internal balance via connection with the elements of Space, Earth, Wind, Fire and Water.  However, there are many more movements and aspects to this ancient style of yoga:

The Five Body Parts Movements, which work on improving the mobility of the head, joints, spine and hips.

The Five Vital Organs, which work the kidneys, heart, lungs, spleen and liver.

Learn these gentle yet powerful movements which are designed to be accessible to all ages and abilities … no prior knowledge is necessary.

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WHERE?   GOOD GROUND YOGA ~ Hampton Bays, NY

WHEN?  THURSDAY, AUGUST 186:30 TO 7:45 PM

 

Need More Info? Joelle@LuJongNewYork.com

 

Lu Jong in The Hamptons

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An Invitation From Lu Jong ~ New York

 

What do you have to lose? …  A little STRESS ?

 

Lu Jong is an ancient Tibetan movement practice from the Tantrayana and Bon traditions with origins dating as far back as 8,000 years.  It is a form of Meditation in Motion.

Join us in the incomparable Hamptons for a special opportunity to learn how this gentle practice can have a positive effect upon your Body and Mind!

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Learn the Movements of The Five Elements, a sequence that nurtures the spine in addition to removing energy blockages from your chakras as you focus and calm the mind.

This gentle yet powerful practice is designed to be accessible to all ages and abilities … no prior knowledge is necessary.

 

WHERE?   GOOD GROUND YOGA Hampton Bays, NY

WHEN?  THURSDAY, JULY 286:30 TO 7:45 PM

 

Need More Info? Joelle@LuJongNewYork.com

Lu Jong at Tibet House US, NYC

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Lu Jong Yoga & Meditation – NYC

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Satisfy your curiosity and see what Lu Jong is all about!

When:  Friday, August 22nd ~ 7 – 9 pm

Where:  Tibet House US, NYC

More Deets:  http://tibethouse.us/programs/full-calendar/view/706615/114

 

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Where There is Tummo, There is Bliss

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Ahhh Tummo—so esoteric, so mysterious, so powerful, yet so natural! No particular beliefs are required because these practices work with our body’s natural systems.

Several traditions teach practices for awakening the body’s dormant energy and raising it up the spinal column, but they usually stop there and leave out what happens once the energy is raised. Life seeks balance, and Tummo—the inner fire of compassion—also has its counterpart. The other half of the equation is Bliss.

When we cultivate our inner fire, it burns away many subtle blocks and has amazing benefits physiologically and energetically. But that’s not all! Our inner fire ignites our natural bliss. Bliss is so much more than pleasurable feeling. Bliss takes us beyond the conceptual mind and heightens our awareness. The result? Profound wisdom and realizations. The combination of Tummo and Bliss enables us to recognize the union of emptiness and emptiness. Wow.

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Perhaps that sounds a bit beyond a 4 day retreat … indeed, it is a practice to be cultivated over time. However, no matter your prior experience, Tulku Lobsang skillfully guides his students and offers a complete practice that can grow with you. He provides the motivation, background and experiential taste we need to receive immediate benefit and then safely continue our practice at home.

Come experience Tulku Lobsang’s phenomenal energy, charisma and profound wisdom for yourself! To receive this ancient teaching is an opportunity of a lifetime.

 

WHAT: Tummo & Bliss Retreat
WHEN: August 17 – 21
WHERE: Menla Retreat Center, NY
DETAILS: menla.org/programs.php?sub=menla_169

Losar

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Losar is the Tibetan word for “New Year” (“Lo” meaning year, and “Sar” meaning fresh or new) and it is THE most important holiday in Tibet.
The first day of Losar in 2014 will fall on March 2nd, which by the Tibetan calendar will be the first day of the Wood Horse year of 2141.

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Losar is celebrated over 3 to 15 days, with main events occurring on the first three days when the moon is new.  Festivities are a blend of secular and sacred traditions that date back hundreds of years representing the struggles between good and evil.  Though the origin of Losar is not properly known, records state that the history can be dated back to the pre-Buddhist period.

Friends and family will celebrate with special foods and drinks, new clothes, and visits to Buddhist monasteries for prayers and New Year rituals.
Rituals are divided into two parts: First there is a closing of the old year, where we say goodbye to all of its bad aspects and negativity; and then we focus on welcoming the new year, and hopefully invite auspicious abundance into our lives and homes.

During the month before Losar, Tibetans will use white powder to sketch the Eight Auspicious Symbols on the walls of homes and monasteries. These symbols are representations of the offerings that the Gods made to Buddha as he attained enlightenment (a parasol, a pair of golden fish, a conch shell, a lotus blossom, a vase, a victory banner, the Wheel of Dharma, and the Eternal Knot).

New Year’s Eve – Nyi Shu Gu.  On the evening of the last night of the year, the 29th day of the Tibetan calendar, the monasteries perform special rituals to appease the deities and to protect all people for the year ahead.  Nyi Shu Gu is a time to cleanse adversities, obstacles, uncleanliness and sickness.  People serve a special noodle soup called Guthuk, which is actually based upon a traditional noodle soup, Thukpa Bhatuk.

So what distinguishes Guthuk from Thukpa Bhatuk?  Three things:

  • First, that it is the ONLY Tibetan food eaten once a year – on the 29th day of the last month of the year on the Tibetan calendar. “Gu” in Tibetan means nine, and “Thuk” refers to noodles – so Guthuk is the noodle soup eaten on the twenty-ninth day.
  • Second, in keeping with the meaning of “Gu” the soup traditionally has nine ingredients.
  • Lastly, this soup has dumplings. Tucked within each of these dumplings is one of nine fortune symbols: chili pepper, cotton ball, wood, charcoal, sugar, wool, paper, pebble or raw bean. The object that a person finds in his/her dumpling is believed to determine either the character of the person, or her/his fortune in the coming year. Coal is something you don’t want to get!

Day 1 – New Year’s Day – Lama Losar.  The devout Tibetan Buddhist begins the new year by wishing the Dalai Lama good luck for the coming year, and by honoring his or her Dharma teacher.  It is also traditional to offer sprouted barley seeds and buckets of tsampa (roasted barley flour with butter) and other grains on home altars to ensure a good harvest.  Lay people visit friends to wish them Tashi Delek “auspicious greetings” or loosely, “very best wishes.”

Day 2 – Gyalpo Losar.  The second day of Losar, called Gyalpo or “King’s” Losar, is for honoring community and national leaders.  Long ago it was a day for kings to hand out gifts at public festivals.

Day 3 – Choe-kyong Losar.  On this day, lay people make special offerings to the Dharma protectors and to the monks at their monasteries.  They raise prayer flags from hills, mountains and rooftops and burn juniper leaves and incense as offerings.  The monks often bless people by marking their foreheads with white powder.

This pretty much wraps up the spiritual side of Losar, however, the subsequent partying may go on for another 10 to 15 days ending with Chunga Choepa, the Butter Lamp Festival, which occurs when the moon is full.

Two things come to mind as I ponder the start of a New Year:

  • I pray that with this New Year we find continued hope and renewed action in saving the Tibetan people and their heritage.  Maybe this will be the year that the world leaders say, enough, we won’t stand by and watch innocent people die.  Maybe this will be the year that we help others selflessly rather than for how they can benefit us.
  • Losar reminds me that each new year is an echo of the changing cycles and of the true nature of impermanence.  Everything that is born is bound to die. The old year is gone and will never exist again. The new year gives us the opportunity to come together and celebrate; to notice and appreciate each moment, in the moment, and to realize the blessings of the teachings.

Lha Gyal Lo (May the Divine Prevail) ~  Bhod Gyal Lo (Victory to Tibet)
May all beings be happy and well, as we celebrate Tibetan New Year.

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May we strive to walk in mindful Beauty.

Wado,
Joelle