The Tibetan medical tradition, known as Sowa Rigpa is an integrated and gentle way of healing. The first line of healthcare is a proper diet and a wholesome way of life. Diagnosis is made by reading the pulse and urine analysis, in addition to physical observations including of the tongue and eyes. Tibetan medicine draws on a vast and comprehensive materia medica of herbs, plants and minerals that are used to make medicine. Surgery is the last resort.
Previously, most doctors undertook the seven-year medical training at the famous Chagpori Medical Collage in Lhasa. After the communist occupation of Tibet, traditional medical collages have been re-established in India. Students are involved in the theoretical study of the four Medical Tantras in the winter and in the summer they study and collect medical plants.
All phenomena are made up of the five elements of earth, water, fire, wind and space. The physical body is also made up of these elements. There are also three principal energies of the body commonly know as Wind, Bile and Phlegm arising from the three poisons of desire, anger and ignorance.
The Buddhist view is that we are a composite of body, speech and mind- the most important and controlling factor being our minds. Everything is interconnected and sickness is caused by an imbalance in psychological, physical and environmental elements and energies. Diet, lifestyle, the seasons, spirits and mental states can affect this balance.
Everything is impermanent and changing. This causes every being at some point or other to suffer. Birth, sickness, old age, and death are part of our very existence. Whether we are at the moment physically healthy or not, in Buddhism we believe the root of suffering is always with us. Like a bird soaring in the sky is never really separated from its shadow.
In order to further preserve and promote this unique and precious medical system, Tengboche Rinpoche, has encouraged Sacred Land to work to establish medical herb gardens, support the traditional doctors and promote general awareness of this precious aspect of our world heritage.