Gyudzhi- Tibetan Art and Healing Center

Traditional Tibetan Medicine and the Coronavirus Pandemic

by Dr. Jampa Yonten

Traditional Tibetan Medicine (TTM) has been successfully practiced in Tibet and the surrounding Himalayan regions for more than 2,500 years. The ancient medical text of TTMGyudzhi-contains detailed predictions about pandemic diseases like the one we are currently experiencing. The Gyudzhi term for such pandemic diseases is nyen-rim. The holy medical text explains that during Kalyug (“The Degenerative Time”) human beings will become especially greedy. Their greed will lead to improper behavior, selfishness, religious fighting, the misuse of spiritual power, making vows for war, and the compounding of chemicals with the intention to destroy the lives of insects, animals, nature and many humans. Due to greed and destructive forces, Mara (spirits) and Dakinis (god and goddesses) will become disturbed.

These conditions will create illnesses like Coronavirus, where contagions will pass from the breath, become like clouds, and then spread throughout the world. Gyudzhi describes additional causes of nyen-rim: extreme changes of seasons, severe physical and emotional disturbances (in excess, deficiency and adversity), contact with toxins, and consuming contaminated and “junk” foods. The mental poisons of anger, fear and panic also create the conditions for pandemic illnesses. The symptoms of nyen-rim are pulmonary infections, cough, breathing problems, abdominal aches, dysentery, fever, perspiration, weakness and dark pimples. In the Gyudzhi, the current Coronavirus is named Tre Tre Ho.

Although there were no microscopes when the ancient medical text was written, it accurately describes the virus as invisible and ‘blunt’- our modern microscopes confirm that the coronavirus is round with blunt extensions. Tre Tre Ho is based upon the wind and fire elements and moves like lightening. TTM explains that the Coronavirus can enter the body through the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, skin, anus and urethra. It moves then into muscle tissues and circulatory channels before deepening into the bones and spreading into the vital and vessel organs. The most sensitive entry points are the nose and mouth therefore wearing mask is important to prevent its spread.

TTM treatments for this epidemic includes herbal remedies and the chanting of mantras. Herbal compounds come in a variety of forms: pills, decoctions, powders, pastes, tonics, medicinal beers, and precious pills. There also are blessed amulets and herbal components to tie around one’s neck to prevent and heal epidemic diseases.

Keeping one’s mind balanced, positive and free from panic is very important as TTM texts note that this pandemic spreads faster when one is stressed, depressed or anxious. To this end, there are several mantras to chant for the prevention and healing of the Coronavirus illness (see below). It is most important that we learn from the Coronavirus pandemic that we are all human beings with the same wish to be happy and not suffer- even though we are from different nations, religions, races, genders and financial means. As His Holiness the Dalai Lama stated in his message on the Coronavirus, “The world should unite for a coordinated global response.”

I wish and hope we will soon eradicate the Coronavirus pandemic by maintaining all basic precautions (i.e., hand washing, wearing masks, following social distancing guidelines, eating healthy foods, etc.), keeping our minds calm, helping one another by engaging with more compassion, and taking care of nature and the environment.

The 8th century Buddhist monk and philosopher Shantideva said: “If there is a solution for the problem, don’t worry. If there is no solution for the problem, don’t worry- worry will not solve any problem.” Be positive, be strong, stay healthy and happy.