Sowa Rigpa: Tibetan Healing with Dr. Nida Chenagtsang
In this excerpted interview, Dr. Nida Chenagtsang discusses the foundations of Sowa Rigpa in Buddhist history.
Sowa Rigpa : The Science of Healing
The Yuthok Nyingthik, or ‘Heart-drop of Yuthok’, is the secret heart precious and special teaching of the King of Doctors, Yuthok Yonten Gonpo the younger (1126-1202). Of these, the Four Tantras are Sowa Rigpa, the Science of Healing of the system of the rishis or sages. This is a science of medicine that keeps oneself and others well when not sick and that heals them when ill without looking down upon or discriminating against anyone by virtue of their religion, race, ethnicity, or status, and that also teaches how to bring about the religious insights, wealth and happiness desired by common disciples.
The Four Tantras of Sowa Rigpa Comprise: The Root, Explanatory, Pith Instructions & the Subsequent Tantras
The Four Tantras of Sowa Rigpa are the most famous medical texts in Tibetan medical history. They were composed by the King of Doctors Yuthok Yonten Gonpo (the Elder) in the eight century and re-edited by Yuthok the Younger in the twelfth century. The Four Tantras of Sowa Rigpa are the basis for all of the practices and original sources for the entirety of Tibetan medical culture, and so they have become nothing short of an indispensable foundation for an education in Tibetan medicine.
The Root Tantra clearly lays out a summary of all these: the basic nature of disease according to an uncommon tree trunk-like model, the identification and diagnosis of diseases, and methods for curing them.
The Explanatory Tantra contains the more essential aspects of traditional knowledge truly needed for the study of medicine. It teaches: the production, maintenance, and destruction of elements and constituents in the human body and how sickness enters the body in that regard; expert methods or technologies for remedying disease; about diet, lifestyle, and medical treatment; about ways to protect healthy people from disease (i.e. preventative medicine); methods of diagnosis; the basics of curing; and doctors’ ethics.
The Pith Instructions Tantra deals with the science of the elements of disease. It teaches in fine and extensive detail about diseases of the three humours, about the causes and conditions (etiology) of bodily and mental diseases, about symptomology, and cures and preventative measures related to the fourfold antidotes.
The Subsequent Tantra: This teaches the primary explanations on practice, methods of pulse and urine analysis, formulas for pacifying diseases, purifying functions, and the science of treatment and cure.
This is an excerpt from 2017 Interview with Dr Nida from www.perfumedskull.com. Group Photo from the Tibetan Secrets of Longevity Retreat 2015.
To learn more about Tibetan Medicine, Sowa Rigpa, and The Four Tantras, please join the next annual Tibet House US Retreat with Robert A.F. Thurman + Dr Nida Chenagtsang by visiting www.menla.us.