One of the factors common to
all living beings is the basic wish to achieve happiness and avoid
suffering. The desire for health, for complete physical and mental
well-being, is an expression of this, for everyone wants to be well and no
one wishes to be sick. When we fall ill we take whatever measures we can
to help us recover. When we are unwell we not only feel miserable, but our
ability to function normally is impaired. Consequently, health is
not a matter of merely personal interest, but a universal concern for
which we all share some responsibility.
I believe that the Tibetan
medical system can contribute substantially to maintaining a healthy mind
and healthy body. Like the traditional Indian and Chinese systems, Tibetan
medicine views health as a question of balance. A variety of circumstances
such as diet, lifestyles, seasonal and mental conditions can disturb this
natural balance, which gives rise to different kinds of disorders.
In diagnosing these disorders
the Tibetan physician employs his own senses to examine the patient's
pulses, urine and general appearance. He assesses the individual's general
balance of health as a whole. Treatment involves dietary and behavioral
advice, medication and accessory therapies. Medicines are obtained from
natural sources such as herbs, minerals and organic products and prepared
under controlled conditions. These ingredients are inexpensive and easily
available. The medicines themselves have few side-effects, are not
symptomatic and have a preventive as well as a curative effect.
Tibetan medicine is deeply
integrated with Buddhist practice and theory which stresses the
indivisible interdependence of mind, body and vitality. The ideal doctor
is one who combines sound medical understanding with strong realization of
wisdom and compassion.