Tibetan medicine practitioners strongly suggest in the belief
Holiness the Dalai Lama said: 'Like the traditional Indian
and Chinese systems, Tibetan Medicine views health as a
question of balance. A variety of circumstances such as
lifestyle, diet, and seasonal and mental conditions can
disturb this natural balance, which gives rise to different
kinds of disorders. Tibetan Medicine is deeply influenced
by Buddhist practice and theory that stresses the indivisible
interdependence of mind, body and vitality.'"
According to Chapter 8 of the Explanatory Tantra ofTibetan
Medical Text, the cause of all our disorders is ignorance
and Ignorance as the inability to understand the non-existence
of the self. Buddhism on the other hand, believes that root
cause of all our suffering is ignorance. His Holiness the Dalai
Lama said: “Like the traditional Indian and Chinese systems,
Tibetan Medicine views health as a question of balance. A variety
of circumstances such as lifestyle, diet, and seasonal and mental
conditions can disturb this natural balance, which gives rise
to different kinds of disorders. Tibetan Medicine is deeply
influenced by Buddhist practice and theory that stresses the
indivisible interdependence of mind, body and vitality.”
Tibetan Medicine states that ignorance gives rise to three
main mental afflictions-attachments (I call this because it
is stronger than mere desire, meaning clinging on a beautiful
object), hatred and delusion. These mental afflictions gives
rise to rLung, mKhrispa and Badkan disorder are mere causes
that do not produce illnesses unless met with four factors relating
to: change of time (season), attack of evil spirits, wrong diet
and behavior. Tibetan medical text explains that there are four
types of remedies for our illnesses, which are correct diet,
lifestyle, medicine and minor surgery. These remedies are adopted
either to prevent illnesses or heal disorders. In the behavior
chapter of Tibetan medical texts, three sections are explained:
daily behavior, lifestyle according to change of seasons (summer,
winter, autumn, spring etc) and occasional behavior.
One should always mindfully avoid the two main contributing
factors of a unwholesome diet and behavior. One should refrain
from excessive physical movement, verbal speech and mental thought;
and moderate the use of these actions. Never misuse one’s
senses (eyes, nose, ears, tongue & body). Sensory misuse
includes not using at all, wrong usage, excessive usage or using
to full pleasures.
Those who desire to live a happy and long life should avoid:
- Sailing in unsafe boats/ships in order to avoid disasters
- Riding on untamed animals such as horses
- Visiting places where theft, robbery and killing of animals
- Swimming in oceans orcrossing mighty rivers
- Moving about places near fires
- Undertaking adventurous trekking on rocky precipices in
the rains and climbing on the tree tops in winter.
Properly check before sitting anywhere and learn in advance
about the path on which you intend to take the journey. Live
in a secure place and avoid wandering or moving around at night.
If necessary, wear shoes, take sticks and only proceed with
faithful friends. These measures will overcome possible attack
by thieves, animals and will ensure the safety of sensory organs.
Take sufficient sleep at night. Improper sleep develops roughness
in the body, which disturbs the body ad gives rise to rLung
disorder. It causes variable bodymind discomfort.
If one misses a night’s sleep due to work or other factors,
one should remain hungry the next morning (this helps to balance
the Badkan energy) and sleep half the actual period of a night’s
sleep (4hrs of sleep if you normally sleep for 8hrs in the night).
Due to roughness created by shorter nights in the early summer,
the body loses its strength and complexion and has an increase
in rLung. In such cases, one should sleep a little in the afternoon.
Those who are alcoholic, physically weak and tired, mentally
grieved, verbally exhausted, aged and easily frightened should
also sleep a little in the daytime. This cures rLung imbalances,
improves strength, oiliness and heaviness in the body. Other
than the above cited conditions (those are alcoholic, physically
weakened etc), sleeping in the daytime (afternoon) develops
excessive Badkan, causes swelling, mental obscurity, headache,
lethargy, common cold and epidemic/contagious diseases. If one
sleeps heavily, one should reduce Badkan (which is the cause
of oversleeping) by application of emetics, fasting and enjoying
the company of women (also by indulging in sexual intercourse).
If one suffers from sleeplessness, one should drink (warm) milk,
curd, Tibetan wine (Chang), meat soup etc. (which is warm and
nutritious in potency) and apply sesame oil on the head and
pour a little drops of warm oil in the ears.
Those who are sexually active should avoid sexual intercourse
with: Non-humans (such as animals), woman/girl friends of others,
ugly woman/girl, pregnant woman, woman/girl of a very weak body,
pained by illness and distress and woman/girl having her menses
(it reduces strength and complexion, causes hurdles to one’s
life and other variety of sufferings).
The body strength and sperms develop rapidly in winter and
one can indulge in excessive sexual pleasures with woman/girl.
The body strength in autumn and spring is medium so one should
indulge in sex after every two days. During the rainy season
and in early summer, one should indulge in sex after every fifteen
days. If one engages in sex other than the days recommended,
one will suffer from unclear perception of sensory organs, dizziness
and other unbearable illnesses that causes uncertain demise.
One should thus remember the consequence of untimely sex and
avoid it accordingly.
Regular application of oil (massage) on the body yields numerous
benefits such as:
- Protects oneself from the disorders of old age
- Subdues old age,lengthens life span
- Induces proper sleep
- Clears sensory perceptions
- Softens the skin
- Increases body strength and
- Cures rlung disorder and tiredness.
One should occasionally apply oil on the head, palm of the
hands and soles of the feet with sesame oil and put seed oil
(mustard oil) in the ears.
physical exercise reduces excess fats; gives magnificent
look and specifically develop digestive heat (this is responsible
for proper digestion of our food). It also strengthens,
stabilizes and toughens the body. Excessive exercise leads
to improper condition of the body. Aged people who suffer
from rLung and mKhrispa disorder or both must avoid such
unwholesome life styles."
Proper physical exercise reduces excess fats; gives magnificent
look and specifically develop digestive heat (this is responsible
for proper digestion of our food). It also strengthens, stabilizes
and toughens the body. Excessive exercise leads to improper
condition of the body. Aged people who suffer from rLung and
mKhrispa disorder or both must avoid such unwholesome life styles.
Strong and Badkan people and those who eat oily foods should
exercise in the winter and spring.
Rub the body with flour of pulses (like dal- lentils) after
a massage or mild exercise. This alleviates Badkan, helps in
digesting fats, clears complexion of skin, stabilizes and softens
Take frequent baths with hot and cold water. Bathing with flowing
cold water in August (autumn) boosts sexual energy, strength
and maintains the internal-external heat of the body. It also
lengthens life span, clears complexion and is a good remedy
against itching, foul smell (due to sweat), and lethargy, thirst
and excess body heat. Avoid washing your head with warm (also
hot) water as it weakens the complexion of the hair and eyes,
and causes hair loss and impaired vision. It also causes diarrhea
due to fever, distension of stomach, common cold, indigestion,
nasal and eye disorder. You should also avoid washing your head
and body with extremely warm water immediately after meals.
Tsering Dhondup is the author of How to Study Tibetan
Medicine: A Commentary on the Root Tantra and Tibetan Medicine:
A Unique & Comprehensive Amalgamation of Science, Art
& Philosophy. He lives in Toronto, Canada.