History of Tibetan Astrology
The Tibetan Astro. Science, spread in Tibet is mainly of two kinds: Astronomy (skar-rtsis) and Astrology (‘Byung-rtsis). The basis for this system was there in Tibet from very ancient times when farmers and nomads in Tibet make examination of the constellation to forecast changes in seasons, monsoon for crops and pasture for cattles. However, this system became more systematic after the translation of Kalachakra tantra into Tibetan in the year 1027A.D, which contains five chapters.
Buddha Shakyamuni first taught this Kalachakra tantra when he was 81 year old (881 B.C.) at the stupa of Shri Dhanakataka or Palden Drepung in Amravati, South India on the full moon day of 3rd month of a Metal-Dragon Year. This tantra contains information such as the natural state of the Universe, inhabitance and especially the planetary or the cosmological influence on the four seasons. The Kalachakra tantra presents the sources of all the calculations and interpretation used for determining the position of the Sun, Moon and other planets for preparation of the calendar or almanac. This Kalachakra also includes various activities according to planetary aspects, and contains the text known as “Arising Vowel”, which correlates the characteristics of Sanskrit alphabet and phonemic systems of vowels and consonants with Astrological interpretations from the positions of the planets.
Though the rudiment for this system present in Tibet during the pre-Buddhist era of Bon, it has been passed down only through Oral transmission. However, later during the time of gNam-ri-srong-btsan in the 6th century, the translation of elemental astrology from Chinese started and helped develop in the same.
This is one of the systems used to make predictions regarding joys and sorrows that a human being experience in one’s lifetime by using elemental laws of relations and methods. This doesn’t require any mathematics calculation as in astronomy. The elemental system is believed to have been taught by the lord Manjushri in China during 837 B.C.
In brief, the Kalachakra tantra contains all the information and calculation used in Astrology and Astronomy. Therefore, Kalachakra is the foundation of our practice.
Introduction on Tibetan Astrology
The major goals of Tibetan Medicine are maintaining a healthy constitution through balance as an overall preventative approach, providing treatment methods for sick people, aiding in longevity, and assisting those who want to be successful in their physical body and spiritual fields. Tibetan medicine laid high emphasis on the importance of having love and compassion. The fact that, many illnesses can be cured by the one medicine of love and compassion. These qualities are the ultimate source of human happiness, and our need for them lies at the very core of our being.
Tibetan medicine is much deeper than what it appears to be. Beyond treating symptoms, Tibetan Medicine concentrates on treating the patient as a whole to promote peace and healing through diet, physical exercise, herbal formulas, and spiritual practice. When Tibetan physicians treat a patient, they focus equally on both the mental and physical states because they believe that the mind and body are inseparable. They address the three poisons as the fundamental cause of emotional disturbances and mental disorders. Tibetan physicians also consider how diet, behavior, and daily habits affect each individual patient. Therefore, Tibetan Medicine can be best described as a Holistic approach to tackle illness because it is designed to prevent and treat all diseases of our living being.
Types of Astrology
Tibetan Medicine is one of the world’s oldest healing traditions that have been practiced for more than five thousand years in Tibet and the Himalayan region. It is a unique medical science that provides holistic health care to the body, mind and soul. Tibetan medicine is commonly known as “Sowa Rigpa” in Tibetan. “gSowa” means to heal or restore and “Rigpa” means the knowledge or science. Tibetan medicine is also a science, art and philosophy that provide a holistic health care to mankind.
It is a science because its principles are enumerated in a systematic and logical framework based on an understanding of the body and the mind’s relationship to the environment. It is an art because the Tibetan healers use diagnostic techniques based on the creativity, insight, subtlety, love and compassion of the medical practitioner. And it is a philosophy because it explains the key Buddhist principles of impermanence, altruism, karma and ethics.
The fundamental principle of Tibetan medicine is that the body, the disease, and treatment, all share common principles and are comprised of the five elements, earth, fire, water, air, and space. This approach recognizes that every thing in the universe – plants, animals, and human beings including all our body tissues, internal organs, skin, skeletal system and even emotions, are composed of these five elements. Each one of them plays a major role, both individually and in combination as aspects of all matter. The five elements in a balance state, results in a healthy body, speech, and mind. Whereas, if any one of these elements falls out of the harmonious balance, excess or deficient, it, results in the bad health condition.
Tibetan medicine shares many ideas with the Buddhist tradition. For instance, “cause and effect” is one of the major concepts that Tibetan medicine shares with Buddhism. Within Tibetan medicine, there are two major divisions of the causes of all illnesses: distant causative factors and immediate causative factors. The distant causative factors are results of the three mental poisons: desire, hatred, and ignorance at work in our physical, emotional, and mental levels. The desire is the root cause of rlung, hatred causes Tripa, and Ignorance generates Badkan. Tibetan healers work to free patients not only from physical sickness but also from mental sickness.
In short, the three poisons are the causes and three Nyepa (rlung, mkhris-pa and bad-kan) are the effects. On the other hand, the immediate causative factor is due to seasonal factors, harmful evil spirits, improper eating and behavior, that result in increase, decrease or disturbance of the three humors that eventually rules the body and mind.
Talisman or Amulets
Tibetan medicine uses three diagnostic methods when examining a patient – visual observation, touch and interrogation. One of the most unique aspects of the Tibetan observation method is to perform a urine analysis during consultation, by which the doctor is able to analyze the disease immediately without sending the sample to a lab. The most common method of palpation is to feel both wrist arteries of patients. The doctors’ index, middle, and ring finger do palpation because each finger is able to detect characteristics of different internal organs. Detailed inquiry into a patient’s health, symptoms and history is also a valuable diagnostic tool, which gives the doctor a greater context for the analysis of current health issues.
1. Visual Observation
This involves checking a patient’s skin complexion, the colour and texture of his/her blood, nails, sputum, feces, and other general conditions. Special attention is paid to the condition of the patient’s tongue and urine.
Pulse reading forms the most important method employed in Tibetan medicine. After ensuring an important set of preconditions, the physician proceeds with a pulse diagnosis. This involves placing the index finger, middle finger and ring finger of a doctor on patient’s radial arteries. The fingers must be held in a line close to one another yet not touching each other. The index finger must not put too much pressure on the skin; the middle and ring fingers should apply more pressure.
Interrogation forms the most important clinical aspect of the diagnosis. There are three main elements to a medical interrogation:
a. Determining the causative factors
b. Determining the site of the illness
c. Studying the signs and symptoms
The interrogation involves the doctor asking the patient about the dietary regulations she/he has been following, and what the physical and mental behavior she/he has been experiencing etc.