Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Christopher Hansard: Why People Criticise Tibetan Healing Methods

Tibetan Medicine has ancient roots, various traditions and ways of practicing. Within the Buddhist schools of medicine there are varying schools all with their own world view and with the advent of Communist China, Tibetan Buddhist medicine has been diluted from its former vibrant self. Within the varying schools of Tibetan Bon medicine, of which I practice one small lineage, there are even more differences in methods, views on illness and the use of botanical and other treatments.
There existed many forms of Bon medicine belonging to different ethnic groups migrating into Tibet. They each brought their version of the Bon medical teachings with them. The origins of Tibetan Dur Bon medicine evolved from priests who were expert in death and funeral ceremonies and had wide experience in helping people to die well. They gained experience through observation of the pathology and process of dying, death and illness.
These priests laid the foundations for the further development of how to avoid illnesses and stay healthy. These experts laid the foundations for the medical system to evolve. People often criticise Tibetan medicine of any tradition and particularly the older Bon medical traditions because to a modern person they seem unscientific or out of context from the culture they live in. This can be so, but yet for all their strangeness they work and people become well, my own patients over many years are testament to that and to those to whom I have taught aspects of the Tibetan Dur Bon medical tradition find positive outcomes with their own clients. In fact there is much western scientific research carried out in the last 40 years that looks at how effective Tibetan medicine is when compared to other indigenous systems of healing including Western medical procedures.
People who criticise these methods do so I am sure because they want enquiry, understanding and in a culture of free speech I think everyone should express their views in a socially and legally responsible way. The diagnostic methods of the Tibetan Dur Bon system may seem externally similar to Chinese or Ayurvedic medicine but are directly involved with discovering the emotional and psychological interactions between a client’s ill health and their life circumstances. In other words how a distressed life can create a distressed mind which can influence a distressed body. Yet even the most distressed can help themselves to health and balance.
Often in life people will criticise or deride what they do not understand even when it is helpful for them. In my experience as many practitioners of any discipline have experienced, certain individuals who will not apply the expert advice given to them. Occasionally advice given does not want to be heard. Thankfully such situations are few and far between and the hundreds of clients over the years have found Tibetan Dur Bon medicine an effective and tangible health system that has improved their health and that of their families and friends.
In my first book, The Tibetan Art of Living, which successfully aimed to take the core teachings of Tibetan Dur Bon medicine and apply it as a guidebook for readers, who not needing any background knowledge or specialist understanding, could apply the basic principles to improve the quality of their lives. People around the world have found that it has helped them greatly based upon the communication I have received over the years. I mention this because Tibetan medicine still not well understood in the West strikes a deep chord in people who experience it as a solution to their physical, emotional and spiritual health needs.
When people criticise Tibetan Healing methods I often question why and what do they know about the methods involved. People have a right to question anything and to receive helpful informative answers that can guide them as to their choice. I am fully aware of how Tibetan medicine to be truly relevant in the west must evolve in order that one of the most ancient and continuous systems of medicine, healing and well-being can contribute to an individual’s evolution and to society’s greater resilience and balance. If you would like to know more please explore my three best-selling books, The Tibetan Art of Living, The Tibetan Art of Positive Thinking and The Tibetan Art of Serenity. You can also visit my website, www.christopherhansard.com to discover more.