Created by the Center for Spirituality & Healing and Charlson Meadows.

How Can I Use Tibetan Medicine to Improve My Health and Wellbeing?

You can use Tibetan medicine as part of integrative care. Tibetan medicine will help you to bring your energies back into balance and live a healthy, happy life. Conventional health care can be beneficial for acute illnesses and when surgery, pharmaceutical medications, and technology are needed.

As His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama wrote,

Tibetan medicine is far more advanced in the understanding of the nature of mind than Western medicine. In matters of understanding the physical functioning of the human body, Tibetan medicine …is less advanced than Western medicine. Without mixing the two approaches, and without saying one is better than the other, both schools should work together in order to find ways of understanding and thus boost the effectiveness of the two healing techniques. (Men-Tsee-Khang, 2009, back cover)

Practices to heal the three mental poisons

Tibetan medicine teaches practices to heal negative thinking that can poison your mind and life. These practices include meditation, mindfulness, lovingkindness, compassion, and ethical behavior. By healing the mental poisons, you can create and maintain a healthy mind and body. Even when you are on your deathbed, Tibetan medicine can help you to create a healthy mind and die peacefully. Regularly practicing the meditations and behavior below can help you to heal the mental poisons, bring your energies into balance, and live a happy, meaningful life.

Mental Poison:

Energy Imbalance:

Meditation on:

Behavior:

greed, attachments, desire

loong

impermanence

(continuous change)

generosity, lovingkindness, and acceptance

anger, hostility, aggression

tripa

compassion

(yearning for all to be free of suffering)

actions that relieve suffering in others

 

delusion, confusion,

close-mindedness

baekan

wisdom

mindful awareness in the present – Wake up!

More practices to balance the three primary energies

By making informed lifestyle choices, you can bring your three primary energies into balance with your innate constitution. For example, you can increase loong by becoming replenished. You can increase tripa by eating spicy food and engaging in activities that heat you up. You can increase baekan by eating cooling foods, such as potatoes and other root vegetables, and engaging in activities that cool you down.

If any of your energies is too high, you can engage in the opposite behavior. The table below describes how to calm loong that is too high, cool tripa that is too high, and warm baekan that is too high.  

Energy out of Balance

General Treatment

Loong (movement energy):

Calm loong by doing what is warm, grounded, and calming.  For example, listen quietly to calming music.

Tripa (hot energy):

 

Cool tripa by doing what is dry and cool. For example, stay out of the sun on a hot day.

Baekan (cold energy):

Warm baekan by doing what is dry and warm. For example, put on more clothes if you are cold.

 

Tibetan medicine pays particular attention to diet and lifestyle behaviors in order to balance the three primary energies. The term lifestyle behaviors includes types of exercise, choices in environment and climate, leisure activities, sleep patterns, and even spices or tastes in food. The recommendations often are more detailed than the usual considerations about calories, sweets, and fats. You can find more information about these recommendations by completing the  free “Constitutional Self-Assessment Tool” (CSAT) and “Lifestyle Guidelines Tool” (LGT).

The practice of happiness

Tibetan medicine teaches that the purpose of life is to be happy! The way to be happy is to make choices that lead to happiness, rather than suffering. A healthy mind and healthy living create a life in which you can flourish.

The table below lists characteristics of happiness. Rather than engage in mental poisons, increase positivity by practicing these characteristics. Training your mind to behave in this way can heal the mental poisons, your mind, and your body.

LOVE

COMPASSION

KINDNESS

CONTENTMENT

INTEGRITY

RESPONSIBILITY

ALTRUISM

FORGIVENESS

JOY

PEACE

PATIENCE

HUMILITY

TOLERANCE

MEANING

EQUANIMITY

Lasting happiness is within your reach. A beautiful lotus flower must root in mud in order to rise up and bloom. Like a lotus, you can transform the “mud” in your life into nourishment so that you rise up to your best self. As the Dalai Lama teaches, difficult people and situations are your best teachers if you develop compassion and lovingkindness for yourself and others. When you heal your mind, you heal your life.

Accepting death and dying peacefully

Tibetan medicine teaches that death is not separate from life, but part of life. You die like you live. Unless you heal the mental poisons during your life, they will trouble you while you are dying. Therefore, you are best off developing a healthy mind now. Then you can face death with acceptance, peace, and even joy.

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