Tag Archives: Tibetan Medicine

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.

 

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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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