Himalayan Medicine

History and Lineage

Buddha Sakyamuni gave medical teachings to his students near Bodhgaya, Udhiyana and other places in India. Buddhist medical science has been passed down through an unbroken lineage of Buddhist masters including Manjushri, Jivaka, Saraha, Nagarjuna, and so forth, on to Padmasambhava, Guru Rinpoche (Tib). It was Guru Rinpoche who brought Buddhism and Himalayan Medicine to Tibet in the 8th century and taught it there, aided by his consort, Yeshe Tsogyal. It was also Guru Rinpoche who brought Buddhism to the Dho-Tarap Valley where it has remained a mainstay of its culture and religion for 1,300 years until the present.


The cause for any imbalance or disharmony in the way sentient beings experience things lies with mind/perceiver. This fundamental ignorance is the source and basis for every kind of suffering, both mental and physical. From this ignorance arises the illusion of the existence of a self or ego which gives rise to the three major disturbing emotions: attachment, aversion and confusion. These bring about the experience of suffering. Buddha Sakyamuni recognized this and gave methods for how to overcome and transform suffering. The result is enlightenment. One achieves enlightenment by putting Buddhist teachings into practice and using their methods, meditation and behavior in everyday life.


The meaning of health in Himalayan Medicine is defined as the mind and body existing in harmony. Illness is defined as a disharmony of mind and body. The Buddhist text that describes this process and the treatment methods and applications to alleviate these imbalances is called “The Four Tantras,” or Gyu Zhi (Tib). Himalayan Medicine incorporates a variety of modalities and treatment methods to re-establish a proper mind/body connection. Himalayan Medicine practitioners most commonly include in their treatments: meditation, behavior, nutrition, exercise, herbal medicine, massage, moxibustion, hot fire treatment, hot stone treatment, baths, cupping, blood-letting, and the golden-needle technique.

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