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the-south-asian.com                         January  2001

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Tibetan medicine

HISTORY AND BACKGROUND


buddha.jpg (7042 bytes)

 

Tibetan medicine is an assimilation of the Ayurvedic medical

tradition, which it imported with Buddhism from India; and many forms of Chinese

medicine which were gradually incorporated. These layers of medical knowledge

and traditions merged with pre-Buddhist shamanic traditions and have continued

to develop up to the present as a thriving and highly effective indigenous

medical system.

 

The philosophical basis of Tibetan medicine is rooted in Buddhism. The

historical Buddha Shakyamuni, sometimes called the Supreme Physician, is said to

have first taught a healing system in India during the 6th century BC. In many

of his teachings, the Buddha used disease and healing as metaphors to illustrate

his philosophy of the human condition. From the Buddhist perspective, physical

illness is inextricably bound with mental, social and spiritual illness. Thus

the Buddhist medical system is more than studies of anatomy, physiopathology and

pharmacopoeia. It is a guide to 'right living' and involves the spiritual

aspects of healing as well.

 

During the first half of the 7th century, Buddhism was adopted in Tibet by King

Songsten Gampo. It was during his reign that physicians from India, China,

Nepal, Byzantium and Persia were invited to Tibet for an international medical

conference and to translate their medical texts into Tibetan. This became the

basis for the founding of a sophisticated medical system in Tibet, and led to

many years of academic and intellectual exchange.

 

To this spiritual and philosophical core, based on the unique concept of healing

as developed by Buddhist philosophy, (which sees the mind as inextricably linked

to all phenomena, including illness and wellness), the Tibetans added a whole

array of ideas and concepts along with actual treatments and medications. This

original blend created a complex system of healing which interweaves spiritual,

'magical' and rational healing practices based on the view of health as a

harmonious balance between Man's deep relationship with his physical, mental,

spiritual and natural worlds.

 

The Tibetan medical system developed a vast body of medical literature, the

oldest surviving written system of medical psychiatry, an enormous herbal

pharmacopoeia and a complete system of diagnosis and treatment. The diverse and

complex elements that constitute Tibetan medicine -- its highly refined ethical

principles, its philosophical and psychological structure -- deserve serious

attention, study, documentation and preservation by the international scientific

community.

 

(Courtesy ProCulture Inc)

______________________________________

-

H.H. The Dalai Lama on Tibetan medicine

What is Tibetan  medicine

- History & Background

- Basis of Tibetan Medicine

- Tibetan medicine - How   and Why it works

- Future of Tibetan   medicine

 

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