Traditional Tibetan Medicine
The Medicine Buddha

An introduction to the Tibetan Medical System by Dr Barry Clark Physician of Tibetan Medicine.

Tibetan Medicine is the Buddhist medical system which flourished in ancient India between one thousand and two thousand years ago. Historically, the system is held to have originated with Shakyamuni Buddha who manifested as the Medicine Buddha Vaidurya (King of the Aquamarine Light) and taught the Four Medicine Tantras at the holy place of Uddiyana in eastern India. In addition to teaching a formal spiritual path to Enlightenment, the Buddha taught the medical system both as a dynamic path to attain the Enlightened state and as a means of achieving both ordinary and extraordinary health upon the path.

In this age of catchy slogans, the best expression of the lasting value of Tibetan Medicine could be "tried and tested for thousands of years". The fact that this ancient science has stood the tests of time and still affords immense benefit to millions of people in Central Asia and many other countries, is an indication of its efficacy in treating a wide range of human sufferings, both mental and physical.

In the ninth century AD, as the various Buddhist sciences went into decline in ancient India, they were gradually transmitted, translated and preserved beyond the Himalayas in Tibet. In the treasure of the medical science, the Tibetans received a system which encompasses a unique view of the human organism and of living in the human world. Its most essential principles are harmony and balance.

In expounding various methods of achieving physical equilibrium and mental harmony, it conveys timeless truths for attaining an exceptional harmony between the internal aspects of the microcosmic organism and the external world. Both the underlying Buddhist principles and the medical system itself possess an inspiring relevance to the stresses and conflict of the modern world.

In its holistic outlook, the Tibetan system makes no artificial distinction between dietary and behavioral factors on the one hand, and formal medicine on the other. Rather, these are combined in an integrated way to restore and prolong lasting health by balancing the subtle energies of the body. Disease is dispelled in the course of this balancing and harmonizing process.

To this end are practiced the profound diagnostic techniques of pulse and urine analysis together with myriad principles of right diet, right lifestyle, and behavioral factors. For the purpose of healing is also brought to bear by a treasure of knowledge about the beneficial application of spices, herbs, plants, minerals, gems and the like.

The translation of The Quintessence Tantras of Tibetan Medicine (published by SnowLion/Shambala Publications, USA), by Dr. Barry Clark, forms a solid basis for "Health through Harmony".