January Febuary issue of Awareness Magazine : Mavis McCovey A Medicine Way of Life, Deanna Campbell Saving Tibetan Culture

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Awareness Magazine
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Ancient Tibetan Healing Examined

By Menghak Rinchen, PhD

 

In the past couple of decades the influence of Eastern energetic healing modalities has been embraced by the West as a complement to traditional therapy or an alternative method to the healing process. Many of these therapies such as Reiki or Jin Shin Jyutsu have seen widespread interest among practitioners, to the point of being accepted by mainstream institutions as an aid in the healing process.

Meditation, Yoga, Ayurvedic, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong are all methods that have seen success and broad appeal. Their interest and success is the combination of a mind/body relationship embracing the effort of being in physical, mental, and spiritual balance.

Over the past decade, there has been a global interest in Tibetan medicine and various systems it employs. Whether in pulse diagnosis, plant medicine, or advanced yoga methods, Tibetan approaches to well-being have been examined and studied by Harvard Medical, Johns Hopkins, Cornell, and Duke, to name just a few.

Asian scholars see the influence of Tibetan healing practices in Indian and Chinese medical systems, and this interest has led to a careful examination of the Tibetan methodology.

But in looking at the Tibetan system, overwhelming evidence is surfacing that the Tibetans adopted many of these methods from an ancient neighboring kingdom known as Zhang Zhung, whose influence had significant impact not only on their culture but their spirituality as well.

Long before the Tibetan kingdom gained prominence in Asia, Tibet was part of the Zhang Zhung kingdom and adopted their philosophical system known as Bon. Within Bon we see the ancient Asian beginnings of Astrology, Herbal Medicine, Divination, and the close embrace of working with the elements and earth spirits.

When we think of Tibet, we visualize an exotic land with the trappings of red monksí robes, the hanging of prayer flags, and esoteric philosophical systems. All these cultural identities are from Bon, and that influence is why Tibetan Buddhism is far different than their Indian neighbor.

Many, if not all the Tibetan healing systems go back to their Bon beginnings, and as we examine these, we come to view with great importance the Zhang Zhung connection to all of this.

It has only been recently that Lamas from the Bon tradition have traveled to the West, which is the primary reason our knowledge of this 18,000-year-old system is new to us.

In March of this year, one of the highest Lamas of the Bon Tradition will visit Claremont, CA to talk about the Bon tradition and host a 2-day Ancient Tibetan Healing retreat at the Claremont Forum.

Tog Den Won Po Geshe Chongtul Rinpoche is one of only a small group of Lamas within the Bon tradition to have been trained in many healing therapies that originated in Zhang Zhung.

He is a Tulku (re-incarnated teacher), who speaks English very well, and his teaching manner is engaging and spirited. This is an unprecedented opportunity to learn more about some of manís earliest energetic healing modalities, directly from a teacher within an 18,000-year-old Oral Tradition.

His Claremont visit will engage students in a system that almost became forgotten, but nevertheless, survives to this day as a testament to how critically important this information is at this time. Seating is very limited and preregistration is required.

Tog Den Won Po Geshe Chongtul Rinpoche will host a free public talk on Friday evening March 18th, and a 2-day Healing Retreat on March 19th and 20th. Interested students can register with Phyllis Douglass (909) 967-0246 or phyllis@soundbodyarts.com