Health = Harmony
In Sowa Rigpa (Tibetan Medicine),* the basis of health is dependent upon the harmony, or balance, of the elements within oneself. Disease arises as an imbalance of the five elements and occurs due to primary causes and secondary conditions.
The three primary causes of disease are greed, aversion, and ignorance. These are also known as the three unwholesome states of mind. When we are identified with any of these three states, we are no longer “whole” or “complete,” but our mental state is fragmented as our attention is fasten-ated with some idea in our mind that attracts, repels, or stupefies us.
If we are stuck in our identification with any of these three primary causes of disease, then it is simply due to not recognizing our Nature of Mind. Therefore, the root cause of disease is in us not recognizing our Natural State; in other words, when we are not abiding in Natural Ease. The more we recognize our own Nature of Mind, the healthier we can be.
In order for dis-ease to arise, the primary cause of disease needs to meet with a secondary condition of disease. According to Sowa Rigpa,** there are four of these conditions:
3) Seasonal changes,
4) Spirits (not the alcoholic type!)
By maintaining a nutritious diet, a healthy lifestyle, adapting to seasonal changes, and acknowledging the presence and activity of unseen beings,*** we can prevent the causes of disease to arise. These can be accomplished through various practices involving “balancing the elements” within oneself.****
In short, we can regain and maintain our health by
1) Abiding in Natural Ease, and
2) Balancing (harmonizing) the Elements through diet, lifestyle, seasonal “tune-ups,” and compassionately working with unseen beings.
*This blog is an extremely general and simplistic exposition of a few ideas contained in The Root Tantra (the chief medical text of Tibetan Medicine), and its elucidation by Dr. Nida Chenagtsang, in Yuthok Yonten Gonpo’s The Root Tantra (Men-Tsee-Khang Publications, 2018) and The Tibetan Book of Health: Sowa Rigpa, the Science of Healing (Sky Press, 2018), respectively.
**The conception of the arising of disease in Tibetan Medicine is similar to that of Ancient Greek Medicine, which will be expounded upon in a later blog post.
***An excellent book that explores this topic is Erik Jampa Andersson’s Unseen Beings: How We Forgot the World is More Than Human (Hay House, 2023).
**** This, also, will be expounded upon in a later blog post.