One of the factors common to all living beings is the basic wish to achieve happiness and avoid suffering. The desire for health, for complete physical and mental well-being, is an expression of this, for everyone wants to be well and no one wishes to be sick. When we fall ill we take whatever measures we can to help us recover. When we are unwell we not only feel miserable, but our ability to function normally is impaired. Consequently, health is not a matter of merely personal interest, but a universal concern for which we all share some responsibility.
I believe that the Tibetan medical system can contribute substantially to maintaining a healthy mind and healthy body. Like the traditional Indian and Chinese systems, Tibetan medicine views health as a question of balance. A variety of circumstances such as diet, lifestyles, seasonal and mental conditions can disturb this natural balance, which gives rise to different kinds of disorders.
In diagnosing these disorders the Tibetan physician employs his own senses to examine the patient’s pulses, urine and general appearance. He assesses the individual’s general balance of health as a whole. Treatment involves dietary and behavioral advice, medication and accessory therapies. Medicines are obtained from natural sources such as herbs, minerals and organic products and prepared under controlled conditions. These ingredients are inexpensive and easily available. The medicines themselves have few side-effects, are not symptomatic and have a preventive as well as a curative effect.
Tibetan medicine is deeply integrated with Buddhist practice and theory which stresses the indivisible interdependence of mind, body and vitality. The ideal doctor is one who combines sound medical understanding with strong realization of wisdom and compassion.