Tibetan Herbs: From Tibet with Love with Eric Rosenbush
On a physical or subtle-body level, disease is understood in Tibetan medicine as an imbalance of the three principles: “rLung” (air or wind), “mKhris-pa” (fire), and “Bad kann” (earth and water). On the spiritual level, illness is described as resulting from three afflictions in Buddhist belief: ignorance, attachment, and aversion. Beyond these principles Tibetan medicine is a vast system that, according to Rosenbush, who is a student of the eminent Dr. Nida Chenagtsang, has strong clinical efficacy to treat disease. “The Tibetan doctors that are practicing throughout the world are for the most part very highly trained and skilled in their diagnostic techniques and use of different substances. [Tibetan medicine is] really a gem within medical systems in the world today.”
Meet Eric Rosenbush
With a home base in Himalayan India, not far from the Tibetan border, Rosenbush works for an NGO that helps local farmers and villagers preserve and cultivate high-elevation plants used in traditional healing. Many of these are the same unique, endemic plants that are sourced to create the herbal substances used in Tibetan medicine, along with Indian and Chinese herbs introduced through centuries-old trade networks.
At Menla, where he’s been training Dewa Spa’s therapists in Tibetan KuNye massage and related therapies, Rosenbush has plans to cultivate local plants and flowers for traditional medicine-making in future Tibetan healing programs, to be offered several times a year. During these retreats, participants engage in mild fasting, skipping at least one meal a day.
“In place of a meal,” says Rosenbush, “you learn to absorb vital energy from special herbal substances mixed with ghee or honey or different kinds of herbal pills,” many of which he creates. Called Chulen, or “extracting the essence,” the practice is combined with breathing, visualization, meditation, and simple yoga to help cleanse and rejuvenate the body and mind. “It’s quite profound, and it’s another great example of how the Buddhist tradition and the medical tradition work together.”
Meet Your Inner Blue Healer
Rosenbush concurs that it all goes back to the Medicine Buddha—the “originator” of the Tibetan medical system and the source of all healing. “The Medicine Buddha is not necessarily a blue person or a blue alien that taught this medical tradition,” he says lightly.
“It is the enlightened essence of the perfectly realized potentiality of healing. Within everyone there is, we say, the Buddha nature. This is your own enlightened essence, the wisdom essence of your soul. In Tibetan medicine, the Medicine Buddha is really the heart, and can manifest in different ways as your highest potential for healing.”
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