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What is Tibetan Healing?

By Donn Saylor
Updated May 17, 2024
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Tibetan healing is a type of alternative medicine rooted in the teachings of the Buddha. According to customary methods of healing in the Tibetan tradition, there are three main aspects employed in the healing process: the summoning of therapeutic beings, the chanting of mantras, and the practice of meditation to center the mind and bring awareness to the condition. Those who utilize Tibetan healing as part of their medical treatment place high value on the rituals and tools that lead to a full awareness of the illness, which can help trigger the healing process. Tibetan healing also makes use of herbs and all-natural medicines to treat illnesses.

According to the teachings of Gautama Buddha, life by definition is suffering. This suffering is caused by ignorance, which is the reason all individuals choose to be born into this life. Ignorance, then, is the framework for all illness. Tibetan healing revolves around this central idea and also considers the role of karma — the law of cause and effect — in the development of illness. Some conditions may be viewed as the product of karmic residue, leftover atonement undertaken by an individual for deeds committed in a previous life.

There are three specific modes of Tibetan healing that are employed on an afflicted person. These work together to treat the entire being physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Each type often requires special ritual or ceremony, or the use of specific objects like prayer wheels and images, to further facilitate healing.

Tibetan healing methods depend on the conjuring of therapeutic entities. The presence of these entities aids in the overall process of healing. Depending on the particular entity invoked, the energies of recovery, protection, or strength might be summoned.

The use of mantras is a another key part of Tibetan Buddhist healing. A word or phrase chanted over and over is a mantra, and it is thought that this repetitive vocalization offers a sort of sound therapy to the individual. Mantras are related to the third aspect of Tibetan healing — meditation — as they help the mind stay focused on the present moment.

Meditation is the central practice of all Tibetan Buddhists. Sitting or walking quietly, with an inward-turned mind, and focusing on the breath as well as the joys and challenges of the present moment, not only aid Buddhists in daily life but can help combat illness as well. The simple act of bringing awareness to a condition an individual is experiencing at a given moment can greatly lessen its effects and start the individual on the road to recovery.

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Discussion Comments
By Animandel — On Aug 13, 2014

More and more people are searching for ways of self healing. In one way, this seems strange to me since modern medicine is making so many advances every day in the ways illnesses are treated.

By Feryll — On Aug 13, 2014

I don't believe that chanting a mantra or saying certain words is going to make me healthy and cleanse my body of disease, but I think Tibetan healing and other alternative methods of healing can be useful. And I don't say other people are wrong or naive when they believe these things.

The key to anything in life working is you believing it will work. If you don't believe in Tibetan healing then it probably won't work for you. As somebody once said, if you don't put faith in what you believe in then it's getting you nowhere.

By Drentel — On Aug 12, 2014

This article says that people who practice Tibetan healing believe that some illnesses are Karmic residue. To me, this sounds like an excuse the people who promote this type of medicine can use when their practices don't work to heal whatever illness they are trying to get rid of.

This way when I ask why this healing practice isn't working for me, the convenient answer is that I must have done something in a past life that I have to pay for. How I am I supposed to argue with that when I don't remember any past lives?

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