Preservation and Transfer of the Knowledge of Tibetan Medicine
print

Language Selection

Breadcrumb Navigation


Content

Taking cover in an excuse

 The instruction of deceit when noticing ones own lack of knowledge

"Taking cover in an excuse refers to a situation in which the physician fails to identify any diagnosis despite employing all possible means. In such a situation, a comparable diagnosis should be pronounced and then one should escape with an excuse. [...] The first of these relates to declaring the cause of the disorder to an unwholesome diet and lifestyle or attributing it to the influence of an evil spirit, having eaten rotten or sour food or having participated in strenuous activities combined with the intake of raw food. Give prescriptions that have neither beneficial nor adverse effects. [...] Escaping with an excuse refers to mentioning a type of disorder and a medicine that is hitherto unknown. State that no one knows about this medicine and that it is something very special. Although one could not understand the case, at least, a credit for ones skillfulness will be achieved"
in Men Tsee Khang (transl.) (2015: 249). bod kyi gso ba rig pa'i rgyud bzhi las rtsa ba'i rgyud dang bshad pa'i rgyud tses bya ba bzhugs so The root tantra and the explanatory tantra from the Four Tantras of Tibetan medicine. Dharamsala: Men-Tsee-Khang.

Analysis of that instruction

This citation is written in the reprint (2015) of the second ediition (2011, first edition 2008) of the core text of Tibetan medicine from the eighth century (Four Medical Tantras rgyud bzhi by Yuthog Yonten Gonpo 708-833).

The question comes up why there is no updating of knowledge, for example on the methods of diagnosis and treatment of mental diseases and no updating of professional ethics.

Analysis of the above statement (that is published in the core text  in 2015):

1. lack of medical, scientific and personal ethics
2. deceiving people
3. commercialisation of a myth and suggesting suggest to know something special after a failure to diagnose instead of dialogue with professionals an advanced training

This statement in the translation of core text of Tibetan medicine (2015) going back to the eigth century has especially dangerous implications, because some people still believe that this text is coming from their highest authority, the medicine buddha, himself. That is, their highest authority would recommend the above deceit, especially towards those who are diseased, and lack of professional ethics. That viewpoint was differentiated and corrected in the preface of its first translation into English (2008) where it was said  that Yuthog Yonten Gompo I (708-833) „traveled to Nepal, Persia, China and India during which time, he met many eminent scholars and physicians and received great deal of invaluable medical knowledge and instructions of other medical systems. Yuthog represented Tibet at the ʻFirst International Conference on Tibetan Medicineʼ held at Samye during the reign of Kind Trisong Deutsen. Many eminent scholars and physicians of then known medical systems participated in the historic conference. [...] After that conference, Yuthog wrote a book called ʻGyud Shiʼ which was primarily based on the indigenous medical system and synthesis of various Asian medical system.“
in the preface of Thokmay, P., Passang, W., Sonam, D. (transl.) (2008, pg. iv). The Basic Tantra and The Explanatory Tantra from the Secret Quintessential Instructions on the Eight Branches of the Ambrosia Essence Tantra by Yuthog Yonten Gonpo. Dharamsala: Men-Tsee-Khang.