MIND AND MEDICINE
by H.E. Shenpen Dawa Rinpoche
The Life of Philippus
Theophrastus Bombast of Hohenheim Known by the Name of
Paracelsus and the Substance of his Teachings, by Franz
Los Angeles, California
Tibetan medicine is a very large subject, so it won't be possible to cover it in just a few hours; however, I'll try to cover some of the main points of these teachings, which were given by Lord Buddha, and from there it might be useful to learn how to examine the urine in order to recognize the various symptoms of an illness, and learn how to prescribe various medicines and test their effectiveness. It is very difficult to learn the pulse diagnostics, and if I feel there is a future connection, I might cover that subject as well.
There are two ways to view Tibetan medicine: from absolute truth and from relative truth. According to absolute truth, medicine is only a concept. The nature of the mind goes far beyond medicine, is beyond verbalization and limitation, and is recognized as enlightenment awareness. From this point of view, healing is an aspect of relative truth within which this mind shows certain imbalances according to the five elements that we are composed of, and therefore appears to need healing. According to this view, all the teachings that the Medicine Buddha gave arose from none other than the wisdom skillful means of the absolute nature of mind.
When we talk about treating an illness, treatment must relate to both absolute and relative truth. From an absolute point of view, meditation is an important part of healing, because it is the nature of the mind as it is, without contrivance. This has to be understood very clearly. The different methods of healing -- plants, herbs, medicines, astrology, geomancy, divination, etc. -- are wisdom means which exist to support the brilliance of the absolute mind.
Basically, there are three different kinds of illness: planetary, karmic, and seasonal, or behavioral illness. There is also demonic and water element, or naga illness. The root of illness is as vast as the mind is infinite.
The reason we experience so many kinds of illness is because we don't understand the nature of our mind. Basically, all illness arises from the three poisons: hatred, ignorance and attachment. These three poisons manifest the three humors: phlegm, bile and wind. Outerly we recognize them as illness of phlegm, bile and wind, but innerly as illness which arises from the obscuration of the nerves, essential fluids and winds -- tsa, lung and thigle in Tibetan, and prana, bindu and white in Sanskrit.
According to the secret Vajrayana teachings, illness arises because we don't understand the essential flow of the vital nerves, winds and essential drops. Illness remains because it has developed a separate consciousness, so to speak, and is separate from the mind, and when the mind and body become separate, and imbalanced, illness arises.
The Kangyur and Tengyur contain many different branches of medicine. Many Buddha emanations came to Tibet and gave very great, extensive teachings on medicine. In the Nyingma lineage, there were many great tertons who revealed some particular aspect of medicine, and Guru Rinpoche himself gave many hidden terma teachings on the subject.
One of the most important things about Tibetan medicine is that it is applicable to future illness, as well as present day illness, whereas typically, the science of medicine in other countries is geared just to the present time. The teachings on Tibetan medicine prescribe the diagnosis, treatment and preparation of medicines for 450 future illnesses which will predominate during our era. Of these future illnesses, there will be psychic illness, space disbalancing and environmental illness, and central channel illness, which is a reversing of the central channel, like epilepsy. The Medicine Buddha also predicted cancer and AIDS.
It takes nine years to train in Tibetan medicine. Many of those years are spent memorizing the root text. Bodhisattva training is also an important part of training, and so is training towards relative and absolute enlightened awareness. One must also perfect the four joys and the six paramitas.
It is very important to have a correct attitude and motivation towards the patients we treat. Healing depends on it. Motivation and aspiration come together. There are two kinds of motivation: relative and absolute, or relative truth and absolute truth, coexisting simultaneously.
Until now, our medical training has been of the conventional type. Conventional training can be useful, and can open our wisdom mind, but at the same time this kind of training is secondary to achieving an inner, absolute, open mind. In other words, it is more important to train in the four joys and the six paramitas. According to absolute truth, and the teachings of Lord Buddha, conventional training is training in concepts, but illness arises due to relative understanding and the three poisons, so we need to purify these concepts.
The first thing a doctor or healer needs to do before he treats a patient, is to expel the three poisons from his own system. This is very important. If these poisons are not expelled, then we ourselves can develop the illness of our patients. Why? Because we didn't create a clean space in ourselves, and didn't have the right motivation, attitude, view and training.
The method of cleaning one's channels, called Bum Chung, are secret teachings and make the readings we take of the patient's illness arise from clear wisdom awareness, instead of from the intellect that kind of dreams of medicine. To be correct, a diagnosis must come from the wisdom mind, since the intellect is not sufficient to penetrate the cause of an illness. But penetration can only be achieved when one's channels are balanced correctly. This is very important. Wisdom arises after one expels the three foul airs of hatred, desire and ignorance, and brings in the right air, which is the wisdom of all the Buddhas. Buddha is just a name here, but it means to breathe correctly.
Once you have brought in the wisdom air, next visualize the central channel. This is very important. The central channel is the basis of our memory, and reflects the three kayas. Basically, the three kayas -- dharmakaya, sambhogakaya and nirmanakaya -- refer to the purity of awareness which, from beginningless time, has no concept of form. From there, form arises and we are caught in the subtlety of form and no form; this is the sambhogakaya. From there, we lose our stream of awareness and fall into the nirmanakaya; the nirmanakaya is the full, manifesting body.
These three kayas reside in the central channel, called uma, the main meridian nerve. The five elements are fully purified in this nerve. The five wisdoms move in and feed the wisdom mind. They are the wisdom mind. But in order to develop, one performs the practice of filtering impurities, called "bum chung," in order to understand the nature of this purity.
To make a correct diagnosis, your wisdom mind must be open, but this can only be achieved if you have the right attitude towards those you are healing. If you have the correct motivation, an open mind, and perform the breathing practice, then sometimes even before you meet the patient, he will appear in your dreams and you will be able to subtly read the signs of his illness. This is common. Sometimes, intuitively, the wisdom mind will let you know what the illness is. But sometimes an illness hides behind another illness, or its root cause changes into a secondary cause. Recognizing an illness is not as easy as it seems, and to get at the root requires a very open mind.
It is also important to maintain the bum chung while treating patients. This practice makes your breath arise from the wisdom mind. This wisdom awareness prevents you from being contaminated by the illness of your patient, and if you are reading a patient's illness, it will prevent your mind from being influenced by negative entities which can give you a wrong reading. It will also prevent whatever energies or impurities you might have from being given to your patient. This is very important too.
It doesn't matter if you believe in the central channel or not. The nature of the absolute mind is there, there is just nothing to verbalize about it. If you do the bum chung practice once or twice, you will see for yourself that the central channel is self-arising. It is important to practice.
At the base of the ring finger there is a meridian nerve called "tsin tsa" in Tibetan. Tsin tsa is the root channel through which all negative influences and illnesses enter the body. The first thing to learn is how to protect oneself from negative influences coming in, which we do by blocking the tsin tsa, and the second thing to learn is how to develop and keep positive influences from going out, which we do by breathing correctly.
To block the tsin tsa, put your thumb on top of it, then close lightly around it. Next, bring your hands down onto the base of your thighs. On the outside of your palm visualize a sun disk, and on the inside of your palm a moon disk. The reason for the sun and moon is because the nature of our mind, from beginningless time, is so perfect, that as a support to this perfect nature of mind, skillful means and wisdom present themselves in every sentient being. Every being, according to the teachings of Lord Buddha, has the healing potential. The healing potential has never been separate from this mind.
Next, put your hands on the sides of your thighs, palms facing up, and push out. When you push out, visualize that the sun burns away the impurities of the nerves. Then turn your hands around, palms facing down, and as you bring your hands back, visualize that the moon cools the nerves.
Next, still with your palms facing down, bring your hands up across the side of your chest. According to Tibetan medicine, on the side of your chest there are two complimentary nerves called "roma" and "kyangma." Throw your hands out in front of you, then slowly bring your left hand down so that it rests on your knee, palm facing down. With your right hand, make the circular "offering of lotus" to the Buddha. This offering can also be made to the nature of your own awareness. Then press the right nostril and exhale through the left nostril. When you exhale through the left nostril, exhale completely the air of hatred. At the time of death, the nostrils collapse before any other breath collapses. This is why, in yoga, you press the right and left nostrils.
There are two ways to dispel obstacles: consciously and unconsciously. Consciously one uses the power of meditation to feel that negativity is dispelled. Unconsciously, the nerves themselves dispel negativity. When you throw your hands out, remember to keep your mouth slightly open, and place your hands on the nerves. Then the nerves will open completely to dispel the air of hatred.
When you make the "offering of lotus," this means recognizing your own awareness. The absolute nature of mind can never be contaminated in samsara or improved in nirvana. Remain in the absolute nature of mind which is uncontaminated, beyond verbalization, free from limitation or extreme, which has never been found yet is inherently present all the time. The lotus symbolizes this perfect visualization of mind, free from any boundary.
As you know, the lotus grows in stagnant water, but the color, brightness and growth of the lotus is not affected. The "offering of lotus" is a symbol of our own mind, which is clouded with emotions and poisons but is never obscured. Make this offering to the Buddhas, or simply to the nature of your own enlightened mind.
Assume the first posture again, push out, burn the impurities of the nerve with the sun, cool with the healing power of the moon, then bring your hands up across the side of your chest and push out, keeping your mouth slightly open. Place your right hand on your right knee and with the left hand press the left nostril. Exhale through the right nostril all poison connected with attachment and desire.
Bring your hands back to the starting point, and push out again. Burn with the sun, cool with the moon, then bring both hands down to the knees, exhaling through both nostrils the air of delusion. Come back to the starting point.
As soon as you bring your hands down, begin breathing in very gently through the nostrils. At the same time that you are breathing in, suck the air up from the bottom with the anus muscle, until you feel the bottom air mingle gently with the top air four fingers below the navel and four fingers above the navel. At this point, contract the anus muscle once and relax. Once the air is inside, just breathe normally on top of it. This is the formation of the small vessel, the bum chung. This breathing purifies the outer air.
You have now expelled the three negative airs. Now you must learn to respect the air you breathe, which contains both samsara and nirvana. Air contains the qualities and power of Buddhas and sentient beings, and the strength and power of animate and inanimate objects. Everything is within the space of this air. So instead of taking the air for granted, and thinking there is nothing in it, just breathing normally, learn how to filter this air with this small vase breathing.
It is very important for healers to do this bum chung breathing. It expels the three poisons and leaves nothing but clean wisdom air. We normally breathe 21,600 breaths per day, most incorrectly, because we don't hold the small vase which opens up wisdom and skillful means. So here we try to open up to these qualities.
We breathe three kinds of air: external air, internal air and secret air. The bum chung practice helps us to fully breathe the external air, which contains the manifestation of samsara and nirvana, all sentient beings, their positive and negative energy, and their vital power. By filtering the external air, then whatever we breathe on top of that generates the wisdom heat. If you are aware of this wisdom air, then this air is the ground of all manifestation. So bum chung is a subtle introduction to tummo. Tummo proper is the wisdom heat generating practice.
Internal air breathing, "bum chen," is quite different from this external air breathing. The internal body and channels themselves contain subtle air, which is available only when you stop breathing the external air. This subtle air is nothing other than the movement of energy. The secret is how to cause the combustion of all the airs within the central channel, and to recognize this energy as the nature of your own mind. This is why in the bum chung practice, you maintain the wisdom air of all the Buddhas. This is very important.
Presently there is a conflict between your nerves and mind. Your nerves have become independent and have developed their own specific awareness, so to speak. The practice of bum chung allows the mind to command the nerves and winds, instead of the other way around. Bum chung establishes who is in command for the first time. This is important.
A sign of having accomplishing bum chung is to realize that your nerves have been so free, so habituated to forming in their own way, that there is almost a double mind there: the mind of the nerves and the mind of yourself. For example, sometimes you say "I can't do this," or "I am forced to do this." This is the strength of the nerves telling your mind how to function. Bum chung changes this order, and acknowledges that the mind is the innate manifestation, the basis for the arising of the nerves, wind and essence. Bum chung is an attempt to get the mind to command the nerve.
It is very common to experience certain bodily changes when you first begin to practice bum chung. This is because bum chung changes the air patterns inside, and makes the wisdom air penetrate the organs. This is very important. There are other energy centers inside us that need to be changed, and because the nerves and mind are in conflict, symptoms will manifest, such as severe headaches, nausea, loss of memory, spaced-out feelings, or feeling light or ungrounded. These are all symptoms caused by the mind air changing into the wisdom air.
Also, in males, the texture, smell and quality of the semen will improve. Females may experience delayed menstruation, or a heavier than usual blood flow, or their secretions may be in different colors, like green. These are signs of purification, nothing else. Bum chung is the air of purification, therefore these purifications are natural. Since we've been breathing very artificially up until now, surviving on that, and because now we are trying to survive on wisdom air, these changes will naturally occur.
What are the signs of accomplishing bum chung? It is not just a method, there are also signs that relate to its accomplishment. According to Buddha's teachings, bum chung brings the full power of healing into yourself, and causes the union of relative and absolute truth. It promotes and rejuvenates the father and mother cells, improves complexion, extends one's life, and helps one develop intuition and the ability to psychically heal. Bum chung has many qualities that you can experience, but don't accept my word for it. Confirm it with your own experience and that will be very beneficial.
There are five airs which are psychically locked within the central channel. Outwardly, we recognize these five airs as the five elements, inwardly as the five airs, and secretly as the five wisdoms or five dakinis, meaning they have the qualities of the five wisdoms. The secret filtration of these five airs is none other than the enlightened awareness itself, breaking the dualistic concept of grasping to self. This innate awareness is the essence of the tatathagarba.
These five airs are psychically blocked in the central channel because they respect the fact that we relate to relative manifestations. At the time of death, these five air spaces shatter, and the final dissolution of the body, and the mingling of the mother and father luminosities, then occurs. As the kayas dissolve into each other, death occurs, and also the fulfillment of the dharmakaya. The five elements then dissolve outwardly.
The main point of practicing bum chung is to safely reactivate these five spaces of air. But unless you have realized an absolute stage of meditation, it is very dangerous to mix these airs. Bum chung reactivates and keeps these energies in balance.
For example, if the upward thrusting air shoots into the air in your mind, you will certainly go crazy. Anytime there is an imbalance in the air, there is a corresponding imbalance in one of the body's elements. When there is an imbalance within the central channel, illness arises.
What is healing power? It is the skillful means to understand both absolute and relative truth. It is very important to generate the wisdom mind within the central channel, because if you don't, you will be susceptible to all the contaminations that arise from ignorance. Concentrate on the central channel, reactivate it, keep it clear, and this central channel cannot be obstructed. It pervades all space and is realization itself. When we talk about memory, or karma, or the wind shifting, this is the wisdom mind using what has been imprinted on the wind by the central channel. The central channel imprints all your karmic actions there. These imprints can only be purified through skillful meditation, and by looking into the nature itself. This is the only way purification can be accomplished.
According to Tibetan medicine, there is a definite way that the mind awareness, or life force, moves. This life force is very important. It is the vitality and strength of realization. A person's well-being depends on the vividness of the life force.
The life force goes through a monthly cycle as it moves inside the two channels. From the 1st to 5th days it resides in the crown center: from the 5th to the 10th day it moves to the throat center: from the 10th to 15th day it moves to the heart center: from the 15th to 20th day it moves to the navel center: from the 20th to 25th day, depending on the individual, it moves down to the lower center.
During the time that the life force is moving, it is very important that no acupuncture points be given to the area it has moved into: otherwise, it can create an opening through which negative influences can enter, and it can reduce a person's life span. Also, it can block symptoms, and instead of freeing an illness, it can freeze it there.
Also, when you do acupuncture, it is good to know a little astrology, so you will know when a person is in a high or low period, having a good, bad or neutral day. If someone is in a period of very low energy, and nine black circles fall exactly on that day, if you puncture any part of their body, you will make an opening for all the negative forces to enter that person, and he will be more ill than ever before. Sometimes, it can even cause death.
Also, when you do acupuncture or blood-letting, it is very important to dispose of the blood very carefully, because the blood relates to a person's energy. If you handle it carelessly, it can bring a lot of harmful vapors back to a person, and it can also harm yourself. Even a small drop of blood on a piece of cotton contains a lot of energy, and can bring harmful vapors. The best thing to do is to burn it, or throw it in the sea, or put it in a remote place. But don't think that you will contaminate the sea by doing this. The water purifies whatever is put into it every one span, according to its strength. I'm not talking about toxic waste, but blood and so forth is purified.
Never throw blood on a cross-walk, or on any place where people walk, and don't put it in the garbage. If you do, it will completely bring the power of that person down. You should respect this blood, since blood is formed from the purest aspect of our food. Even if the blood is contaminated, it still has good blood within it. If the blood is over two weeks old, then it doesn't matter, but if it has just been taken, it is important to dispose of it correctly.
If you are a healer, it is very important to practice bum chung, and to look at the nature of your own mind, your own wisdom, and your own protection. It is also advisable to wear a black thread around your ring finger. This will protect you from developing the illness of your patient, and will prevent your patient from developing your illness. Because your patient is absolutely open to you, and trusts you, this openness creates a situation where it is very easy to infect either your patient or yourself.
You might also want to wear a ring on your finger made from iron, or from a blade that has taken someone's life. The reason for this is because a blade like this has entered a person's nerve in a very special way, and it has a lot of energy in it. It has touched the freshness of the blood, and this has empowered the blade. That is why if you see someone carrying a blade that has just taken someone's life, you react so strongly, because the blood energy is still flowing through the steel. If you use this energy in the right way, it can create a lot of benefit for people.
According to Tibetan medicine, different stones have different healing powers. Rubies are good for purifying blood, and also for epileptic diseases. Diamonds are good for people with weak or confused channels, or poor memories. In Tibet, healers used a stone called Zi to cure epilepsy. Zi is a black stone with white lines on it. It forms naturally, and is very good for healing, but is very expensive and hard to find. Sapphires, and other stones, support the brilliance of the mind's nature, so each of these stones contains healing power. The Buddha said that when our wisdom merit degenerates, these rocks will lose their power and potency.
When you wear these various stones, as in rings, it is important to have the stone open at the bottom. If the bottom is blocked, the energy can't radiate into your nerve and give you protection, and it will be quite pointless to wear it. So the bottom must be open.
When you first start to practice bum chung, you won't be able to really hold the air as such. It will be more like you are just thinking about the practice. Still, you will be holding the air in a subtle way. As you continue to practice, like in the second week, you will know that you are holding the air because you will have an uncomfortable feeling in your stomach, like gas. This is the formation of bum chung. What is happening is the air is turning into wisdom heat, which is being pushed into different parts of the body. Then you will experience those different reactions I spoke of, such as nausea, giddiness, headaches, etc. But until you have these reactions, nothing much has happened, and you are not holding the air correctly, but the moment you hold it correctly, like after a week's time, all these symptoms will develop.
When you start to experience these sensations, you shouldn't think the practice is harmful and abandon it. Your mind will tell you all kinds of things, like "relax, the practice is not good for you, why do you want to go through all these painful experiences," etc. This is just the mind playing its discursive game. It is important to go through these experiences and clean them up. Then you will notice that your thinking process, which is normally foggy, will be much clearer. Since the five airs within the central channel are being renergized, you will feel light, and you will be able to cover great distances while walking. Then nothing can contaminate or penetrate the central channel, whether it be astral, demonic, naga, or whatever. If you forget about the bum chung, it is good to do it again. Later on you should get to the stage that just by being aware of it, it is there.
It is important to relate to the wisdom mind, because then there is kindness, equanimity, compassion and love. All of these qualities are inherent in the wisdom mind. The bum chung practice brings these qualities out, making you into a much softer person, into a person who is concerned with his patient's suffering. These feelings will be so intense that you will be inseparable from your patient's suffering.
Until these qualities arise, there is no basis for medicine. Medicine is not based on something external, like taking this or that medicine, this or that treatment. It is based on truly helping someone be free from suffering. It is almost the same as a spiritual search. The cure is healing and freedom from suffering. Therefore, you must develop these qualities.
When you practice bum chung, don't be concerned that the tip of your tongue touches the roof of your mouth. This is important only if you are practicing a longer meditation. This tongue touching is important because it separates the absolute and relative airs. It is part of what is called the Seven Point Posture of Vairocana Buddha.
Tibetans believe that at the time of conception, there are five inner and five outer airs which combine with the strength of the mind to form life. It takes ten months for each air to stabilize, which is why gestation occurs for nine or ten months. Since the air of intellect is the last air to form, a premature baby will normally lose this quality. Normally, this type of child becomes more intuitive, more withdrawn. But from the point of view of being aware, this is not the point.
The three poisoned airs of anger, attachment and ignorance also join in at the time of conception. This is called "inborn ignorance." These airs either manifest grossly or just simply dissolve. These are the three airs which we try to expel through the practice of bum chung: hatred through the left nostril, attachment and desire through the right nostril, and ignorance through both.
You should try to do this breathing practice as much as you can, perhaps two or three sessions a day, but not more than ten or fifteen minutes a day. Don't do it in the middle of the night, like past 12:00 a.m., because according to the teaching, the wisdom channel reverses at this time. But until midnight, you can do the practice. Then, when you breathe normally, the air will be filtered by the wisdom heat energy you have generated. It is like a pot that is constantly cooking, filtering all impurities. This practice, which is a subtle form of tummo, is important, because tummo is the main cure for the 450 future illnesses spoke of.
Hold the bum chung and then just go about your day. Don't reject your thoughts, just let them come and go. Don't try and change anything, just be yourself. Sometimes you will feel more spacious than usual, because bum chung grounds you in the five purifications.
The practice of bum chung causes a continuous awareness, even through sleep, and it can help you remember your dreams. It releases the tension inside you which is caused by fear and not letting the air be, and gives you strength to let the air be what it is. You can't cut the sky with a knife, and in the same way your thoughts are not going to hurt anybody. Start off the day with a bum chung and try to maintain that awareness throughout the day.
In Tibet, there were many practitioners called "fast foot walkers," who would hold the bum chung and move at such a tremendous speed that it was very difficult to even see them. What happens is that the bum chung activates the wind in the feet channel. Every year the Tibetan government would sponsor a demonstration, and these fast foot walkers would move so fast you couldn't even see them, you could only hear the sounds of their bells. But they weren't trying to move fast, it was just that the gross body and intellect had dissolved into the wisdom mind. It is this wisdom mind that we are trying to accomplish with bum chung, not some extraordinary feat. That is not the point of the practice.
If you practice massage therapy, and you want your hands to turn into healing hands, hold the bum chung, then visualize the sun and moon in your hands, slap your hands together once, then rub your hands together. This will cause the wisdom fire and skillful means to blaze, and will immediately empower your hands with the self nature of your central channel. The Buddha said that the power of healing is in every being, that there is perfection and realization in everyone's nature. So the potential is there, whether you use it or not.
The ability to heal depends on the openness of your mind. You have probably noticed that some people have more patients than others, and that sometimes two people will use the same healing technique, but one person will be able to heal with it and the other one won't. If you hold the bum chung, then you will be able to help beings in the six realms in an infinite way.
Air combusts within the main channel, but it doesn't matter how much fuel you put in, what matters is how skillfully you maintain the heat without losing it. That is where bum chung comes in. Bum chung allows you to adjust the energy automatically, because sometimes we use too much energy. Bum chung creates the right movement of energy so we never run out.
The best thing is to practice bum chung in the morning when you first get up, because the morning sky has the strength to purify all our projections. If we practice bum chung at night, then all the disturbances that we projected into the sky during the day come back to us, since the sky reflects back exactly the same energy that we put out. So in the morning, not much has been reflected into the sky yet, so we feel sharp and open. If we breathe the air and practice bum chung in the morning, it can be very powerful.
A sign that someone has practiced yoga extensively is that there will be a lump protruding from the center of their belly. It is similar to a growth of skin, and is known as the large vessel, bum chen. This lump is a sign of having perfected the winds. What has happened is that the relative wind has given rise to the absolute wind. But don't think that just any stomach protuberance is a sign of having accomplished bum chen.
The practice of bum chung is a basic wisdom teaching, and anyone can transmit it. I try to transmit it to everyone. At first this teaching was secret, but later on my father made it available to everyone. He said it could help a lot of people, and the more people that knew it the better.
In the practice of bum chen you no longer breathe the outside air, but instead you breathe the internal air which is within the channels. Bum chen does not depend on the external air for support at all. When you practice bum chen, your physical body goes into a state of dying and decomposition, but internally the mind is sharp and you will be able to spontaneously watch the flow of your mind. Your meditation will be vivid and clear and you will also gain the ability to really help people. But you must learn bum chung before you learn bum chen.
So when you practice bum chung, remember to observe several things: keep your mouth slightly open, and move your hands in a fluid way, not too fast. Also, when you burn with the sun and cool with the moon, be sure and touch the nerves which are on the right and left side of the thighs. According to Tibetan medicine, these two nerves start at the top of the crown and go down to the soles of the feet, and are important because they hold the consciousness. When you push on those nerves, you activate and bring together the life force, which can otherwise be scattered, destroyed or possessed through negative actions. The movement of these nerves also feeds many other subtle nerves, so make sure you feel the strength of the hands pushing down, and don't do it too light. At the end of the practice, when you breathe the wisdom air, just breathe a little bit. You don't need to breathe any more, because the air is already in there. Leave three-fourths of the stomach empty so you can breathe other air on top of it. This teaching comes from the nature of the mind itself.
There are five types of winds, and each has its own function. They are the upward wind, downward wind, all pervading wind, wind holding to the force of life, and wind that helps heat. Basically, from an outer perspective, our mind moves on these five winds, but from an inner perspective these five winds are the five dakini principles, or essences.
Bile does five things: it causes digestion, improves the complexion and lustre of the body, gives satisfaction, causes vision, and produces skin.
There are five kinds of phlegm: sustaining phlegm, decomposing phlegm, experiencing phlegm, satisfying phlegm, and unifying phlegm.
In addition to wind, bile and phlegm, five other components are factored in. These are: constitutes of the body, impurities, sensory organs, solid organs, and hollow organs.
There are seven constitutes of the body: kyangma (no translation), complexion, blood, flesh, fat, marrow, and semen, or female internal secretion.
The three impurities that come from the seven constitutes are: feces, urine, and sweat.
The basis of all illness is the three poisons: hatred, attachment, and desire. In Tibetan iconography, these are symbolized by a red cock, a green snake and a black pig. There are also four secondary causes which promote illness, and they are: time, demons, nutrition, and behavior.
The solid organs are: heart, liver, lung, spleen, and kidney. The hollow organs are: large intestine, gall bladder, urinary bladder, small intestine, stomach, and seminal vessel, or uterus.
Illness enters the body in six ways. Through: skin, flesh, veins, bones, solid organ or hollow organ. The difference between skin and flesh is that skin is the outer skin, and flesh is the inner fat and gristle.
Disease moves through the body in six ways. It: spreads in the skin, expands in the flesh, circulates in the veins, descends into the solid organs, accumulates in the hollow organs, and settles firmly in the bone.
Illness resides in either the upper side of the body (the brain), the middle side, or the lower side. Phlegm disorders reside in the upper side, bile disorders reside in the middle side, and wind disorders reside in the lower side. Usually, old persons will be afflicted with wind diseases, young people with bile disorders, and children with phlegm disorders.
Weather can also affect illness. If it is windy, wind disorders predominate, if it is hot and dry, bile disorders predominate, and if it is damp, phlegm disorders predominate.
Energy is alive, so illness changes according to time and season. During the rainy season, in the afternoon and dawn wind disorders arise, at noon and midnight bile disorders arise, and at dusk and morning phlegm disorders arise. During the winter season, either bile and phlegm, or wind and phlegm combine to produce illness.
From a yoga perspective, it is important to keep all your organs intact. If you have had an organ removed, you don't qualify for yoga at all. Each organ is vital, and reflects a particular buddha field. All the organs together are called the perfect buddha field, because from beginningless time they have been perfectly arranged together. The solid, semi-solid, and semi-hollow organs are thought to be transparent and translucent, and this luminous quality reflects a certain understanding and realization of the central channel. If you don't respect the whole body mandala, and you just remove some organ, it creates a vacuum and distortion of energy, and that energy will reflect back and extensively hamper your progress, and you won't be able to get the yoga transmission at all.
According to Tibetan medicine, certain organs will reproduce themselves, but only due to strenuous yoga practice, mantra recitation, or meditation. The Buddha said that every organ in our body is a living organism. That is true. Every organ has a function.
Take, for example, the appendix. It has a function, and although sometimes it breaks, since it is such a small organ, this is not a major thing for yoga, although it is still necessary not to remove it. The major organs for yoga are the uterus, kidney, heart, liver, and other organs.
Tonsils are also important from a yoga perspective, because they clean a lot of the negative flow of the channels. This is the reason they get infected, because in cleaning up those negative influences a lot of acid gets deposited on them. These acid deposits can be cleaned by drinking a glass of saffron water at room temperature. All medicines should be taken at room temperature.
As far as circumcision goes, I don't think it affects anything, although according to the Tibetan teachings, the tip of the penis contains 64 major and subtle nerves. Circumcision does cut and damage some of these nerves, but I don't think it damages them all.
What about organ transplants? The energy of the person whose organ it was will come into you through the organ, but it's not your energy. The same thing happens when you wear someone else's clothes. Energy can remain in clothes for years.
If a child is born in a hospital, then according to Tibetans standards, it is not a normal birth. A child should be born at home, because at birth, seven things should be performed in order for the child to develop properly. In the hospital, these things aren't done because they don't have the view. Also, a hospital is a place where many people have died, and it is not a light environment at all. Babies should be born at home, no matter what. The fear of being born at home is just a gimmick to make you lose your confidence.
Women have periods for purification purposes, and towards the end of their period, the flow will be lighter. This light flow is like the male semen. According to the inner teachings on medicine, of the seven constitutes of the body, semen, or female internal secretion, is the basis of all illness.
Certain internal illnesses of awareness can also reduce your life, cause incurable disease, or cause illnesses which cannot be transcended, like mental suffering. These internal awareness illnesses are caused by engaging in sexual misconduct, not understanding the male and female principles of method and wisdom, or what union really means, not respecting the mother and father luminosity in your parents or in yourself, and lacking understanding of karma.
According to Tibetan medicine, there is no difference between male and female. If you look at their chromosomes and genes, they seem to be separate, but actually they are the same, and if you break them down, there is male in female, and female in male.
For example, females become emotional during their periods, and males experience these emotions too because their organs respond to that cycle too. There is no difference between their channels either. The difference is that from beginningless time, wisdom and method have been separate, but according to the Medicine Buddha, there is no division. We made the division, we separated from the one united awareness which wasn't divisible. From there method and wisdom divided to become male and female. Even then, although they were separate, there was a union of life between the two so there was no grossness of sexual organs at all.
If you go back to the time of the first tantra, at this time there was such a high state of realization that there was no sex at all -- bliss and emptiness was achieved simply by light merging with light. Then we degenerated down to the second tantra, where forms complemented each other in such a way that bliss and emptiness was understood. During the third tantra, touch was important, but it was only hand to hand touch, and in this way energy was transmitted so there was total understanding of bliss and emptiness. Now we are at the fourth stage of tantra where the physical body is important, and now, I think, nothing much is happening.
What are the father and mother luminosities? These two concepts are introduced only on the path of meditation, but what they really mean is to completely understand the nerves, winds and essences. From beginningless time mind has been all-pervasive. Mind has no form, it is just a movement. Once the mind moves, the wind forms. But this is not ordinary wind, it is the subtle wind of realization. Once the wind forms, the nerves form to compliment that wind. What travels through the wind and nerve is semen, or essence. The winds flowing on the nerve creates language. Language is nothing other than the movement of the wind and nerves.
When we say that semen moves through the wind and nerve, we are not talking about gross semen, but semen that has 14 enlightened qualities, meaning it has the true nature of the Buddha. Tantrically it is known as the cloud of bodhicitta, because it radiates and has all enlightened awareness. The union of emptiness, compassion and skillful means arises through the semen. So at this point, there is still no division between male and female.
So from here a body forms, because the nature of emptiness is expressed in the wind. But this body is not a gross form of aggregates, this form consists only of the central channel. So even at this point we are just a movement of energy. That is why we can perceive the atoms within us and work with them because we are ourselves the nature of atoms and elements.
Before a body takes form, the essence, or semen, separates into two, into the father and mother luminosities. Why? Because one forms blood and the other forms bone. At this point in beginningless time, there is still no differentiation between the sexes. The father essence goes into the syllable "HAM," and the mother essence goes into the syllable "AH." From beginningless time, the syllables HAM and AH have been the father and mother luminosities. We are talking about sambhogakaya here, not nirmanakaya. When the two luminosities separate, because the mother and father luminosities are a neutral state of awareness, there are 76 white, red and neutral perceptions that arise from that.
At the time of death, the mother and father luminosities come together and one experiences dharmadhatu, the nature of enlightened awareness. This is the last sign of having reached the ultimate realization, and this proves the existence of the tathagata. But we practitioners will not recognize this occurrence. What we will experience once these two join together is a near dark realization, which is the same experience we had when we ejected our consciousness into our mother and father when they were in union. This state of darkness, or blankness, is like a dawn, neither light nor dark, and we fall into this state of near darkness in a faint.
If you are a good meditator, you can prolong the dharmakaya realization at the time of death. This is what happens when some lamas die and stay in a state of meditation, keeping the warmth of their body and their internal luminosity awareness. Their body doesn't function anymore, but their central channel does. This is why the body goes into meditation since the body respects the central channel. It isn't that the lama is grasping to his body, because that notion has been cut already. That is why we call it the rainbow body. Some yogis just go into light. So that is an explanation of the mother and father luminosities.
So the movement of the mind goes into the state of emptiness and flows in the nerves. This union of emptiness and nerve is the formation of the seed essence. From beginningless time, certain luminosities have been associated with this movement, because from the pristine cognition point of view, it is totally enlightened awareness that has moved into energy, and energy has turned into luminosity.
At the time of death, you will have to face 25 emotions. What are they? They are the father perception, mother perception, and dark perception.
What is semen? We think it is something white and causes birth, but this is just a biological function. From the Buddhist point of view it has a deeper meaning than that. We need to understand the spiritual, clear realization function of semen.
Blood forms from the best food that we eat. This blood is filtered then goes into the heart. So the blood in the heart is considered the best and cleanest blood. In the heart, the blood is filtered and sent through the bone marrow. There are many cell compartments in the bone whose purpose it is to filter this thigle. So the cleanest blood in the heart goes into the bone, is filtered there, then turns into marrow. So marrow is the essence of blood. In the marrow, the blood is filtered again, and then it becomes semen. Then the semen drops from the crown and begins feeding the wisdom channel.
Semen is defined by taste and color, and is divided into 8 pure semen cells, and 24 and 48 impure semen cells. [Librarian's Comment: And only a real cocksucker can tell the difference.] People who have AIDS have reached the 48th level, which means they have 48 impure semen cells. When that happens, there isn't much you can do, because the semen cells turn against themselves, and attack and destroy themselves.
Semen that has eight pure cells is the purest kind of semen. These cells go into forming intelligence, intuition, complexion, awareness, building up mother sky, son sky, etc. There are many complicated things here, but basically, eight semen cells are considered to be the pure awareness cells. From there, it drops down to 24 and 48 impure semen cells.
When it comes to producing thigle, age is very important. At certain ages one can produce thigle, but at other ages one cannot. Seminal fluid might be there, but the thigle that supports the essence isn't, so the quality of the semen cells is lost. If you examine the semen for quality, and check its clarity, it is very rare to find semen which has these eight pure cells, because we have already gone through so much impurity. It is very difficult to even find semen that has 24 impure cells, much less the pure eight. People in their 30's have about 32 impure cells, not yet having come to 48.
So after you reach age 25, you lose semen which can reproduce thigle, and after that you don't reproduce thigle at all. Whatever food you eat then goes into maintaining the body, not into making semen. Food can produce ordinary semen, but it can't produce the kind of semen that I am talking about. Because our cells can't rejuvenate into thigle, we experience sickness, old age and death.
So food helps keep the body alive, but it cannot maintain the clarity of the thigle at all. That is what father luminosity refers to. This essence is very luminous and is the basis for the body's arising. So when you have reached age 48, you've got all the semen you're going to get. According to Western belief, old age is a time to be active, but according to Tibetan belief, old age is a time to hold your mala and say prayers.
Thigle cannot be reproduced biologically at all. The only way to produce thigle is for the mind to penetrate the two awarenesses. The best food and medicine can only make cells to make you live a little longer, but there is no way to produce thigle. That is why, according to one Tantric vow, if you lose a drop of thigle it is likened to taking the life of 100 Million Buddhas in one stroke. That is the gravity of destroying semen.
Each thigle is an enlightened awareness. There is no karma that one thigle should survive and others die. What happens is that thigle will naturally dissolve into the empty nature of the luminous clarity, but if you waste thigle, you are in serious trouble. Vitality is the essence of the sperm. Without that, there is no luck, no fortune, nothing. Everything depends on the purity of the thigle.
The mother luminosity, which resides in the syllable AH, is the function of awareness that relates to blood. That is why, in tummo, one visualizes the AH at the base and HAM in your forehead. 64 components join the mother essence, and they are all an expression of the wisdom mind itself. The method must eventually penetrate the wisdom mind, which is why the feminine principle has 64 penetrating cells of the wisdom mind. This is also why, according to another Tantric samaya, the 14th root downfall is to criticize women. Since women represent this wisdom mind with 64 potential qualities, if one criticizes women, one won't be able to attain realization at all.
So far we have been speaking about method, but how a woman's blood forms, how it circulates, why it circulates, why she has periods, etc., relates to wisdom, and this is a dimension of studies which comes only in the secret teachings.
Regarding vasectomies, from a Buddhist point of view, this is a gross violation of one's body. Also, the karma that comes from that, well, you don't even want to think about that. Since there are countless beings looking for life, from a karmic point of view, no one has the right to deprive life to anyone. Even if you get a vasectomy, because of the strength of these beings' minds, a child can still be conceived. A vasectomy can suspend karma for a while, but in your next life maybe you will have 20 or 30 children.
Like vasectomies, birth control isn't good either, because it also denies life. Beings can wait for infinity to take rebirth, and if they have to, they will wait for your next lifetime. It's not a problem for them, the problem is ours, because we can't fulfill their birth. Birth control is not a solution, it just adds to your karma. That is why insects give birth to a hundred babies at a time.
On the other hand, if you are celibate, beings looking for life will respect that and won't come looking to you for a place of rebirth, but if you aren't celibate, then these beings will take advantage of whatever chance they have. If you block their birth, these beings will become completely disgusted with you, and when they are eventually born as your children, they will be very difficult.
A child who is in a womb can suffer tremendously because he knows exactly what his mother is thinking and doing. Whatever his mother suffers, he also suffers in an attempt to pacify and purify that for her. Sometimes after the child is born he will react to his mother without knowing why, because he heard something she said when he was still in the womb which became imbedded in his memory, and though he can't remember now, later that memory will come back to him.
If you respect thigle, then nothing need contain it, like having some rigid belief that it is right or wrong to have sex at certain times of the year, etc. Sex should be spontaneous. If you respect thigle, and meditate on it, and increase its light qualities, then nothing can affect it. It is free from any concept of harm or benefit. If you have the right respect, and the tummo practice, then there is nothing to conserve. There is total freedom.
If you are engaged in union, and you experience a bliss that you have never before experienced, then surely a child will be born. The moment the child is conceived, you know it. How? Because direct contact was made during that moment, and at the height of your union your space was opened. When there is no concept of doing this or that, that is when the wisdom commands itself to come in and communicate. Also, in dreams the wisdom can come, and you will see a child coming to you. If you have lived a good life, and been kind-hearted, then normally the child that will come to you will be similarly kind-hearted, more or less.
Some children are born to the same parents again and again. This requires that both the child and parents have very clean, pure samaya. This kind of situation occurs because there is love and openness between them, but it depends on the winds of your karma.
The reason we meditate is to reach the point where the concept of practice dissolves into the purity of awareness. Sometimes, in order to purify this concept, we must be born again and again. In order to not take rebirth, we have to be realized enough to be liberated. The point of practice is to reach the absolute nature of mind which is the union of relative and absolute. Concepts of purity, impurity, good and bad, are produced by awareness. If we can dissolve those concepts, there is no birth, no death, no duality, and no reason to be born again.
In Tibet, the urinalysis is one of the most important techniques for diagnosing illness. Generally speaking, one performs the urinalysis by examining the urine's color, odor, texture, bubbles and steam. Urine is examined when it is fresh, lukewarm, or cold.
Before you examine the urine, you must first make sure that the container you are going to put the urine in is absolutely, crystal white. If the container has a tinge of green in it, it is not good. Collect the urine of the day, enough to fill one cup, but exclude the first urine of the morning. Be sure and take the reading outside where there is a lot of light.
Then stir the urine with a stick, in order to produce the bubbles, and from there you can read the signs of the bubbles, the odor, smell, and general texture of the urine, and determine what kind of illness a person has, whether it is a wind, bile or phlegm illness, etc. Sometimes you can definitely tell whether the illness is going to be fatal, and if it is caused by hot or cold. If you put some powder in the urine, and look at how it spreads, you can tell which medicine will be most beneficial. Sometimes the powder will either float or sink, which means the medicine is not the right one. If the medicine mingles with the urine, and it doesn't float or sink, the blood system will accept that medicine. Don't stir it, but just put the medicine on top.
There are certain do's and don'ts we must abide by prior to collecting the urine, because everything we do affects the urinalysis. We shouldn't eat high dosages of sugar, or foods that are too rich or oily or starchy. We shouldn't strain our body in any respect, or go through any strong stress, and shouldn't engage in sexual activity; otherwise the urine will show signs of stress. We should do whatever we normally do, and get a good night's sleep the night before the test. Also, if we have an infection, the infected part must be washed very thoroughly or else it can give a wrong reading.
At first it is difficult to recognize the different sediments, oiliness, formations, etc. of the urine, but eventually, by recognizing these aspects, you'll be able to know which part of the body is affected.
In order to get more bubbles in the urine, tie a couple of sticks made from wood together. The bubbles are very interesting, because the way they form tells you if an infection is old, new, or just arising, and if the illness can be cured by medicine or not. They can also tell you which part of the organ is most infected. The urine is always absolutely accurate, and most symptoms of an illness can be read very clearly.
If the patient is far away, and the urine comes to you from a distance, you can heat it up, but usually this is not recommended. It is best if the urine is fresh. You can also test the urine by listening to the sound of the bubbles, and how they crack and disintegrate. Also if you put some urine on the tip of your nail, you can see if it stays together or trickles down. In these ways you can determine if the infection can be controlled or not, and whether it is caused by heat or cold.
Urine divination is also very interesting. You make a drawing on a plate, then sprinkle the urine on top of it, and read the pattern which indicates the direction the illness is coming from. It is very important to learn the urine divination in order to do the urinalysis.
In order to get a clear reading, it is best to examine the urine in the early morning, preferably in the dawn light. Since the urine forms in the kidney and other organs, and has gone through your system, all your emotions are imprinted on it, so the picture of your illness is very accurate. The pigments that have formed will tell you part of the story of your illness.
The urine has many clinical features, so you need to have a sharp eye. If you are a beginner, you need to examine a lot of urine, and it is also helpful to know the case history of the patient. If a patient has heat disease, you can tell by looking at the bubbles what that disease looks like. If the patient is a high lama, you can taste the urine, but normally we don't do this. The taste can confirm the findings of an illness.
The different colors of the urine indicate various disorders. Pale blue indicates a wind disorder. Yellow indicates a bile disorder, or intestinal infection. If it is whitish, then it is either a phlegm disorder, or indigestion. Red indicates a blood or liver disorder. Pink is lymphatic disorder, or negative demonic possession. Brown, or smoky brown, indicates a phlegm disorder and inflammation of the abdomen or ulcer. Blue, with a slight tinge of yellow, indicates a wind and bile disorder. Bluish white is a wind and phlegm disorder. Yellowish white is a bile and phlegm disorder. Bluish red is a wind and blood disorder. Whitish red is a phlegm and blood disorder. Bluish yellow, mixed with white at the bottom, indicates a wind and bile and phlegm disorder, three together. If the urine is dark brown, like French butter or sesame oil, it is a hepatitic infectious fever, and liver disorder. Reddish yellow indicates a toxic disorder caused by food or too much medicine.
As for odor, if it is pungent and foul smelling, then it is a hot, inflammatory disorder. If it is odorless, or if the smell is very mild, it is a cold inflammatory disease. If it smells like meat, wine or alcohol, this means that food is not being digested. If it smells like pus, then there are lesions in the body and water retention. A rust smell indicates a wind disorder. If it smells smoky or burned, it is a bile disorder. A smell like lice infestation indicates a phlegm disorder. A fatty smell indicates a complex disorder going towards demonic illness. The smell of blood indicates a blood disorder, like anemia. A smell which is like radish leaves indicates a severe illness of fluid retention in the body.
The meaning of the different signs of steam are: if the vapor is profuse and strong, then it is a hot disease. If the steam is moderate, then it is an inflammatory disorder. A mild steam indicates an inflammation, but not a severe one. Very little steam, which stops and starts, indicates a cold infection. If the steam keeps arising for a long time, it is a heat and chronic inflammatory disorder.
As for bubbles, some are white, some are small, some are the size of a pin head, and some bubbles are large, which break down. You can only know this through experience and by looking at the bubbles. The way the bubbles break, and how they cluster and separate indicates the illness. Some bubbles scatter to one end or the other, which means the blood platelets are in unison or they aren't. Sometimes the bubbles come together then separate, then pop, pop, pop. This indicates an internal heat disorder.
Stir the urine just one, two or three times, but not more than that. Examine the urine first when it is fresh, then when it is lukewarm, and again when it is cold in order to see how the color and sediment changes.
If a patient has a fatal heat disorder, the urine will have the color of blood, it will smell putrid, like rotten leather, and if you leave the urine, even when it becomes lukewarm, it will stay the same and not change. This means death is imminent and that the patient has only 7 to 24 hours to live. If it is a fatal cold disorder, the urine has a bluish color and a mild odor. This is equivalent to the Chinese death pulse on the feet.
When we say "fatal," this means the life force, vitality, everything is exhausted, and it cannot be reversed with a liver or heart transplant, etcetera. Karmically, the winds have dropped off their essential fluids already. Before you get to this point, it is possible that a transplant could reverse the condition, but once you get the fatal signs, it's over.
If you want to empower a crystal, first wash it seven times in saffron, then dry it in the sun. When it is dry, place it in a solid gold, 34-carat, or possibly gold-plated bowl, and face it towards the sun. Next, put a four-colored cotton cloth on top of the bowl, then put a four-colored red cotton cloth on top of that. Let it sit out in the sun for a whole day. The four-colored red cloth represents the four corners and four directions.
The way it is empowered is that the sun radiates into the crystal and charges it at the four corners. At the end of the day, when you look at the crystal, it will have an extra sharpness, and the luminosity will be very different, very pure. When you fold the cloth into four it forms eight parts. This symbolizes the eight-fold path of purification.
Another way to empower a crystal is to put a round, silver mirror, the kind used for empowerments, on top of the red cloth, and completely cover the face of the mirror with red vermillion powder. In the exact center of the mirror trace the syllable "Bam," and on top of that put a five-pointed star made from bamboo.