Coming into this world with a human body ~ The relationship to mind consciousness & the 3 humors according to Tibetan Medicine
© Nashalla G. Nyinda 2010 all rights reserved
The body and mind are always connected. This connection is made from the beginning of our conception in our mother’s womb. From the mothers womb our body is formed from the meeting of the sperm and ovum, often referred to as the mixing of the red and white drops. From this mixture of the sperm and ovum plus the mind we are formed as human beings. These three are connected, without these three coming together our human body would never be created.
How is it that we attain this human body in our mother’s womb?
The body is originally forming together with the elements quite naturally in a balanced state, and has no imbalance in the three humors of rLung – wind, TrIpa – bile and Bedkan – phlegm. Then our consciousness, which is karmicly connected and linked to the karma and consciousness of our parents, meets our body formation. There are three kinds of karma, best, medium and low karma. What kind of karma we have connected to in conception and with consciousness is due to our own karma and that of our father and mother. Therefore, some are born in high status, rich family, poor family; some can never have children and so on. According to the karmic connection, plus the sperm and ovum joining and the five elements, the body is then formed.
For example, fire is coming from matches and the strike against a surface- therefore fire is created due to the joining of forces. The same can be said with the joining of forces of the sperm, ovum, consciousness and karmic connections and the elements present in ones father and mother.
If the ovum or sperm have a wind disorder the sperm and ovum will be astringent in taste, texture is course or rough, and the color will be black. If disturbed by bile disorder, the taste will be sour; the color will be yellow and smell badly. If the disturbance is due to the phlegm, it will be sticky, sweet and cool. If it is disturbed by a blood disease, the sperm and egg will look and smell rotten. If it is a combination of wind and phlegm it will be in many pieces. If disturbed by a blood and bile disorder, it is like puss. If the phlegm and bile are disturbed, it will be like a knot. If disturbed by wind and bile, the sperm or ovum is dry and in small quantities. If it is a combo of all three humors disturbed, it looks like feces and urine.
These are the qualities that describe the ‘bad seeds’ that will not create a baby. Additionally, if there is no karma present, consciousness will not be present and the mind will not come – meaning you will not be able to be conceived. Even if the seeds are healthy, and consciousness and karma are called in, if you lack the earth element you still will not conceive at all. This is because the earth element holds everything together. The elements help grow what is originally started with the combination of the red and white drops + consciousness + karma. If there is no power of water, there will be nothing to hold the body together. If there is no power of fire, the body in the womb will not ripen. If there is no power of wind, the body will not develop / grow. If there is no power of space, there is no space to grow the organs or bones and any or all of the body parts.
What leads to conception, depends on the quality of the sperm and ovum.
The best quality sperm is white in color, has a heavy potency, sweet taste like honey and is abundant.
The best quality ovum is red like rabbit blood and of good quality. The example is, if it goes on white clothes it will wash off easily- showing that the blood is of good quality.
The average time of a woman’s menstruation is ages 12-50 years. Menstruation is a direct effect of the nutrition the woman takes in from food during the month. It is stored in her womb until it leaves at the time of her menstruation. The energies behind menstruation come through the ovaries (called the 2 channels) and the downwards winds, which bring the blood outwards for an average of 3 days. The sign of menstruation occurring according to the texts is; the woman feels down and cool emotionally, she appears less happy. The breasts become swollen and the hips and eyelids become a bit swollen. There is pain of the hips and back. At that time she will wish to have a man.
From the first day of menstruation until the 12th day, the ovary will be ‘open’. However the first 3days during menstruation the woman cannot conceive at all. Therefore day 4 begins the count of day 1. On the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th days, if you have sex on these days, you may have better chances to have a son. If you have sex on the 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 8th days, you might be more likely to get a daughter. The sex of the child also depends on the parent’s constitution. After these 12 days the ovary is a closed door, “like a lotus which is closing when the sun is setting.” If there are lots of sperm, it is possible to have a son. If there are lots of eggs, it is more likely you will have a daughter. If there are equal amounts of sperm and eggs the child may be a neuter, or hermaphrodite. Also when egg and sperm are equal is possible to have twins. If the egg and sperm are disturbed by strong imbalances of the three humors or environmental disturbances, it is likely the child will have deformities, birth defects, mental absence defects and even non-human forms.
Women will know they have conceived by the following signs.
Immediately upon the white and red drops meeting she will feel satisfied during sexual intercourse. This is the satisfaction that you have had enough pleasure. The body will be feeling heavy and exhausted, and after one month no period will come. Slowly over a period of several months you may vomit and have strong dreams. Dreams with elephant’s tigers, lions and metal things all indicate you are carrying a male child. If you are dreaming of flowers, women, birds, clothes and jewelry this indicates you are carrying a female.
From the fathers sperm the bones, brain and spinal cords are developed. From the mother’s ovum the muscles, flesh, blood, heart, lungs, liver, spleen, kidneys, small and large intestine, stomach, gallbladder, urinary bladder and sexual organs are developed.
The consciousness itself creates the five senses, of eyes, ears, nose, taste, and feeling. Then the five elements help to grow the bigger muscles, bones, nose and smell. This is done first through the earth element. Water helps grow more blood, the tongue, and weight / fluids in the body. Fire gives assistance to creating heat, the different nerves and veins, and color of the various organs and tissues in the body, as well as the shape of the eye. From Wind, the breath is given, the skin and the sensation of feeling is developed. From the element and power of space, the holes in the body, both inner and external are created. Women have 10 until they mature and then the woman has 12, while men have 9 external holes. The hollow organs and such are all created from space. Hearing and the ear are assisted in development by the space element.
According to ones previous life you will be drawn into the same nature as before. For example, if I was a woman in my previous life I will likely want to create that same nature in this life, or if I was soft and kind to others in my last life, then I will want to be soft and kind in the coming life as well. Therefore, whatever this life we now have is manifesting, bad, good, beautiful, ugly and so on is all from the fruit of the previous life and our karma. Whatever the future lives we will create depends on this life and our actions now. Therefore, especially in Tibetan Buddhism and in Tibetan Medicine we believe consciousness never dies until we get enlightened and liberated from samsara. Even as our body dies we go on, this is the nature of karma and why we believe in cause and effect.
The main source of growth for the fetus and ones body is found at the navel. This is connected by the umbilical cord to the woman’s placenta. The placenta is nourished by being attached to the two channels, which connect the uterus to the ovaries on both sides of the womb. From this connection to the fetus, whatever the mothers takes for food and nutrition is given to the fetus. The body is grown step by step, like drawing water from a stream and feeding the fields water to grow the crops. For a total of 38 weeks the child grows from the nutrition and substance of the woman.
Step by step-
In the first week the shape will be like egg yoke dropped in warm water. This is due to the mixing of the sperm and ovum. The second week the fetus is cloud like in shape, loose and like creamy milk that is nearing being curdled, but not quite yet curdled. By the third week the fetus looks fully like curdled milk. In the third week the sex of the child can be determined and changed with rituals, deviation, astrological predictions and certain precious substance prescribed at this time. In the fourth week the shape gives its appearance based on the sex of the child. A round egg shape means a male child, a long oblong (egg like) shape means a female, and a long thin or irregular shape indicates a hermaphrodite or neuter child. At this time in the forth week, the woman will feel heaviness in her womb and hips, feel tired and weak, some nausea and lack of interest in food or activities arises. The taste she desires is sour and the breasts will swell and the mind is very active and thinking many irregular thoughts. She will wish to do many things, sing songs, hang around and such. At this time the woman should limit her desires for foods and sex and take only a little bit of what she desires to satisfy the mind. Otherwise overindulgence will be bad for the fetus. There is no need to stop activities she desires, just modify her actions with regards to doing too much of any one thing. She should also limit her intake of foods she craves and that which is helping her, and not be in excess of any one food.
The second month, or fifth week the shape of the fetus is like a fish, therefore it is called the time of the fish. At that time the human body is forming from the navel outwards. In the sixth week, from the navel the life channel is beginning to form. The life channel is directly connected to the 8th and 16th vertebra. In the seventh week the shape of the eyes is made. In the eighth week the shape of the head is determined. In the ninth week the shape of the upper and lower parts of the body are formed.
In the ninth week the shape of the hips and shoulders are showing themselves as a round shape, and are not yet complete. In the third month, or tenth week, the shape is like a turtle; therefore it is called the turtle time. In the eleventh week the shape of the five sense organs, (eyes, nose, tongue, ears, and feeling) and the shape of the 9 external holes in males and the woman’s external10 holes are made. (Note the extra 2 holes in woman come only after she grows breasts.) In the twelfth week the shape of the five hollow organs, (the heart, lungs, liver, spleen and kidney) are formed. In the thirteenth week the shape of the 6 solid organs is determined, (small and large intestine, gallbladder, stomach, urinary bladder and reproductive sexual organs.) In the fourth month, or fourteenth week, the shape of the hands and legs are made. In the fifteenth week, the palm and pads of the hands and feet are made. In the sixteenth week all twenty digits of the fingers and toes are created. In the seventeenth week all the nerves that are connected from the organs to the brain (internal or CNS) and those which innervate muscles and tissue and the spinal cord (external or PNS) are formed.
The fifth month or nineteenth week, we call the time of the pig, because at this time the fetus looks like a pig. In the eighteenth week, or fifth month all the muscles and fat of the body are created. In the nineteenth week all the ligaments (front of body) and tendons (back of body) are formed. In the twentieth week the bones and marrow are formed. In the twenty-first week the outside skin is starting, but not yet complete, “like cream on the surface of milk.” In the twenty-second week, or sixth month, all the five senses are awakened and all the holes, such as eyes, ears, mouth, anus and such are now open. In the twenty-third week the hair on the head and on the body as well as the nails are formed. In the twenty-fourth week all the hollow and vital organs are becoming more clearly formed and defined. At this time, all the sensations and feelings are beginning to be obvious to the fetus. They can at twenty-four weeks begin to feel emotions and the sensations of good and bad, suffering and so forth. In the twenty-fifth week the wind movements are beginning to govern the movements of the fetus, such as the movement of hands, arms etc. In the twenty-sixth week the mind of the fetus is sharp and clear, and memories of ones past life, and the knowing of where they now are in the womb is vivid and clear.
In the seventh month, from twenty-seventh week until the thirtieth week, all the organs and the body itself, all the external and internal development is increasing and nearing completion. From the eighth month, or thirty-first week, all the body development is becoming large and full. At this time the mother and fetus are exchanging energies and the fetus is growing. For example, when the mother has a good complexion, the fetus will have a bad complexion, and likewise if the fetus has a good complexion the mother will have a bad one. In this way they are exchanging energy. In the ninth month, or thirty-sixth week, the fetus will feel five things. First, they will become saddened and feels like they are not in a clean place. Second, they feel they are in a smelly place. Third, they feel they are in a prison. Fourth, they feel they are in a dark place. Fifth, they feel completely unhappy and will desire to leave the womb. In the thirty-seventh week, the head of the fetus will turn downwards in preparation of leaving the womb. In the thirty-eight week the fetus will come down into the world by birth unless there are other complications. Generally the time to give birth is within the ninth month and 10 days.
Difficulties in birthing:
If when in the womb the mother has lost too much blood during pregnancy or if there was some accident, the fetus will not come out in the 38th week. If the fetus is too big there will be some difficulty in birthing at this time. Additionally, the downwards wind must be healthy, because if the downwards winds are weak or lack energy, then the woman will be unable to deliver the baby.
There are three signs to determine the sex of the child:
Dreams indicate the sex of the baby. If woman dreams of men, or male things this shows a boy will be delivered. The women’s belly position also indicates the sex- if it is higher on right side than left, the baby will be a boy, if higher on the left side it is a girl. If both sides are high there will be twins. If a woman’s right breast has the milk coming in first the baby will be a boy, if the left breast is first with the milk, it will be a girl. If the mother likes to sing songs, likes to be near, or talk to men, or likes to have jewelry, then she will have a girl. If these signs are mixed, the baby will be a neuter, or hermaphrodite.
The sign of the baby is going to delivery immediately:
The hips and back have pain, and the uterus will have cramping. The lower parts of the body will feel heavy, and the belly will ache, and the vaginal opening and clitoris will feel some pain and discomfort. At this time the woman can develop some shortness of breath and urination can discharge uncontrollably. The vagina wall and cervix will open. The assistants to the woman who is birthing should be experienced birth attendants / midwives who themselves have given birth several times. Several experienced woman should be present for the young woman. This is the very dangerous time for both mother and baby, the woman has lost a lot of energy and she should be given nutritious foods directly after the birth for up to three months or until her energy returns.
These stages and steps are how the body-mind comes into form.
Now I will discuss the importance of understanding the inner organs and our body.
The heart is the king, or ruler because it sends the blood supply to all parts of the body. The back lungs are the ministers, and the front lungs are the prince and princess. The spleen is the younger queen, while the liver is the elder queen. The kidney is a defense minister, which protects one from illness and keeps the health strong. The reproductive organs are the storage for ones wealth, or bank. The stomach is the main kitchen and cooking pot, which lives to serve and feed the king. The intestines, both small and large are servants of the queen. Gallbladder is the storehouse for the oil, which the kitchen will use. The urinary bladder is the water tank. The two excretion holes, the urethra and anus are the water taps, which serve to drain the excess and waist out of the body.
Now I will explain the quantity of the three humors in the body and the appropriate measurements:
In the body we can measure how much of each humor we should have within our body. They are measured as the following examples, and if they are under or over we have a deficiency or an excess of that humor.
rLung should measure the size of one full urinary bladder. TrIpa should measure the size of a man’s scrotum. The Bedkhen should measure three cupped handfuls (both hands cupped together = 1). Blood and stools should measure 7 full-cupped handfuls. Lymph and urinary fluids should measure four cupped handfuls. Oils and fats should measure two cupped handfuls. Nutritive essence and semen should measure a single handful. The brain should measure one full-cupped handful. The flesh of the body is different for the woman from the man due to thighs and breasts, therefore the woman has 20 more fist fills than a man, and a man has 500, making the woman’s total 520.
The bigger bones have 23 different categories. Vertebra have 28 pieces, ribs number in at 24, teeth are 32. The small fractional bones number at 360, the bigger (major) joints are numbered at 12, the small (minor) joints are numbered at 210. There are 16 large ligaments; there are 900 tendons all over the body. There are 2100 hairs on the head alone, other body hairs numbers in at three-million-five-hundred-thousand on each limb, and fourteen million on the rest of the body. There are 5 vital organs, and 6 vessel organs and 9 orifices. The correct, measurement for ones height should be the length of your outstretched arms. If your body is disproportionate, your height will be less than your arms length.
The nerves are developed in the womb from the navel as we previously explained. These are the source of the three humors. The first nerve channel, which is the nature of the water energy, goes from the navel to the head and creates the brain. This nerve creates ignorance and delusions, Timug. Ignorance and delusions are the root cause, which ripen into the fruit known as Bedkhen. Therefore from the Timug, the Bedkhen nature arises. Timug is always located in the brain, or the crown chakra. The second nerve channel which comes from the navel, goes directly to the heart and governs Sogtsa (life channel) – which is the seat of the Shedang, or aggression / aversion. From this root of the Shedang, the TrIpa is the resulting fruit. Sogtsa (life channel), is determined by the blood and is called the black channel, and is located in the second chakra directly opposite the space between the 8th and 10th vertebra. The third nerve channel goes from the navel down to create the genitals and the root of desire and greed, Dodchag. Dodchag is the root of rLung and located in the secret chakra. These nerves are also indicators for where the three humors and energies are located in the body. Badkhan is located in the head, TrIpa is located in the middle of the body, and rLung is located in the lower part of the body.
Now I will explain about the other nerves, which assist the power of the five senses. These are called the Channels of existence. First is the first chakra, located in the brain, and is surrounded by 500 nerves, which helps the five senses work properly. The second chakra is located in the heart and governs memory and clarity of the five senses and contains 500 nerves. The third chakra is located in the navel and contains 500 nerves, which creates the whole body form. The fourth chakra is located in the genitals, and assists the creation of offspring and is surrounded by 500 nerves. All these nerves are very interconnected to the mind and are very important and are the root of all life. The shapes of the nerves vary, short, long, thin, wide and are interconnected to one another like a net, or the veins of a leaf.
How is it that this body connects with the mind?
The nerve connected to the brain is responsible for illusion and ignorance. The one connected to the heart is responsible for blood and aversion and aggression. The third is connected to the genitals and is connected to desire and attachment. These three are always connected to the mind, and are sometimes referred to as the three root poisons. These three poisons when not attended to create many problems for our human life. These three create the three humors, and every sentient being has these three humors, with the exception of plants, trees and rocks. The wind, bile and phlegm are created from these roots.
For example when you get too much attachment – like when you love someone too much, then you create too much attachment to other issues and forms, like attachment to making more money, gaining power, all these things. These attachments will all give rise to the wind disturbances. Usually the three poisons are created from ignorance, that which we are blind to seeing. From that ignorance the source of all suffering and disease will arise. Therefore we have lots of ripe conditions to cause diseases such as diabetes, lymph disease, cancers, mental illness and such. We cannot say exactly how each disease is specifically caused by this or that, instead in Tibetan Medicine we recognize the one main source of disease is ignorance.
It is important to know that ignorance is always that which we are blind to seeing. Ignorance is always there, until you reach enlightenment. For example, ignorance is like your shadow, always with you. When birds fly high in the sky above the ground the shadow still is projected with the bird, where the bird goes, his shadow goes. Therefore all sentient being wish for peace and work hard for peace, yet still we never get a chance to leave our basic ignorance. This is how we create the three poisons continuously. However, the individual sources of disease can be located by seeing where and how they arise from ignorance and then move into the three secondary root causes- Timug- ignorance / delusions, Shedang- aggression / aversion, and Dodchag- attachment / desire. From these three, the fruit ripens into the humors of rLung, TrIpa, Bedken.
As we know by now the rLung, TrIpa, and Bedken is located in the body, which has been created from the sperm, ovum, consciousness, karmic connection and five elements. There are 15 different manifestations of the three humors. There are 5 types of rLung, 5 types of TrIpa, and 5 types of Bedken, these equal 15. If these fifteen are balanced they are the primary root cause of disease. If these fifteen are imbalanced, then it is a fully manifested disease. How? These fifteen are causing all the problems for the seven body sustainers and therefore affect all of ones life, health and mind.
The seven body sustainers are:
1. nutritive essence
6. bone marrow
7. regenerative / reproductive fluids
There are three waist products:
For example, if TrIpa is disturbed it may burn all the nutritive essence, then burn the blood, organs, etc. This is TrIpa’s nature, that of the sun and heat. Even if the heat is in the lower parts of the body the fever will rise automatically and burn everything. This is why TrIpa is always associated with fevers and heat diseases. If Bedken is disturbed the body will get too cold. This cold is the nature of Bedken; it destroys all the heated parts of the body. Even though Bedken is located in the upper part of the body, it will automatically go down when it is disturbed and this is why Bedken is always associated with the cold diseases. If rLung is disturbed, the effects of hot and cold depend on the majority of the other humor- if it is TrIpa, or if it is Bedken. This is because wind is how all disease is moved throughout the body. If the majority of the humor disturbed is TrIpa, then it will become a hot disease, if the majority is of Bedken, it will become a cold disease. This is why rLung is the source of disease and is commonly mixed with the other two humors, though it can act independently. When rLung acts independently it can cause other diseases.
Therefore the rLung, TrIpa, and Bedken are helping grow the body in the womb.
Secondly they help the body to develop, grow, remain stable and maintain bodily functions in a healthy way.
Lastly, these three humors inevitably become disturbed and go to war within the body and create the circumstances, which make the body cease to be. At this time death will occur.
Each of these three humors are connected to the five elements, from the beginning of conception, throughout life, and finally begin to disintegrate as life leaves the body. When death is approaching within hours there are signs. At this time all the 5 elements, and with them the five senses begin to dissolve. First earth dissolves into water and at that time the eye cannot see. Second when the water dissolves into the fire all the holes, (9 for men, 12 for women) eyes, ears, mouth, so on are drying up. At this time you can not hear sound anymore. Third when the fire dissolves into the wind, all the bodily heat dissolves from the limbs inwards towards the heart and the sense of smell is lost. Fourth, wind will dissolve into space. At this time the breath leaves the central channel and lungs, breathing stops and you will no longer have the sense of taste and also loose the sense of feeling.
These humors and the five senses are connected all together, and are affected by the following; seasons, spirits (gDons), diet, and behavior.
How do you know when the rLung is disturbed?
One can get immediately angry, feels some disturbance (meaning increasing, decreasing, or general disturbance) within the five senses. One may feel unhappy, with emotions changing fast, blood pressure can fluxuate up and down, one may feel dizzy, and sometimes one may faint. The seven body constituents will be decreased and one will become thin, weak and old faster than they should. You can say with certainty that wind is disturbed if these three are disturbed- disease in the heart, life channel, or large intestine. It is also possible that you will have disease in the bones, ears, or skin. If these symptoms show themselves, you will need to prescribe the medicines according to the disease. For example if the rLung is disturbed and heart disease is present; you would prescribe medicine in combination, for the wind and the heart both.
The corrective diet and behavior for rLung are the following:
Keeping the body warm, sitting in a quite place among good friends and having sweet and kind conversations. Being quiet and still, resting. Avoiding excessive sexual contact and activities. Foods should be warm, oily, and heavy such as whole grains, hot milk, boiled water, eating the meat of animals and having bone soup (except no goat and no pig) taking fermented barley beer, and minimal salt.
How do you recognize a TrIpa disease?
If there is a bile disturbance (decrease, increase, or general disturbance) there can be a lung fever, possible liver fever, gallbladder fever, small intestine fever, general fevers and flu’s, or infectious diseases. If the lungs, liver and gallbladder are disturbed one knows with certainly there is a TrIpa disease. It is also possible to see disturbance in the blood, eyes, and abnormal perspiration. When we treat TrIpa, one would prescribe combination medicines according to the disease. You would treat the heat, (the nature of TrIpa) along with medicine specific to the gallbladder, or whatever is needed.
The corrective diet and behavior for TrIpa are the following:
Taking cool showers, staying out of the sun and instead sitting in the shadow of the trees by the cool stream. Avoiding strenuous activity especially at midday and taking frequent breaks. Foods should be cool in nature, such as mineral water, cooled down boiled water, fresh butter, soy, bananas, raisins, naturally sweet foods, bitter dark green vegetables such as dandelion greens, rice and non-sour and fresh yogurt.
How do you recognize a Bedken disease?
The body heat is weak, and one feels cold. It is difficult to digest ones food, stomach pains are frequent, mostly the earth and water nature is increasing, one feels heavy, and ones mind feels foggy and unclear. One may feel lazy and weak not wanting to move much and feel very sedentary. The specific cold and Bedkhen diseases are the following, stomach, spleen and kidney problems. It is possible that the nutritional essence will be disturbed. Also possible that the stool and urine, the urinary bladder, nose and tongue will be disturbed. As with the other two humors you would prescribe combination medicine’s to reduce the cold and assist the disease of the organ or what is most disturbed.
The corrective diet and behavior for Bedken diseases is the following:
Exercise and strenuous activity, avoiding cold and humid places. Keeping the body warm and dry. Taking warm baths, such as in hot sulpher springs. Foods should be hot and light, such as year old cereals, beans, rice, chicken, fish, hot boiled water, honey, buttermilk, pomegranate, milk and ghee, moderate amounts of alcohol can be used.
Through these behaviors and diet the body can be brought into balance, and the mind can be balanced and calm. Otherwise the body and the mind and the humors will become disturbed. If we do not know how to correct this we will be disturbed on some level of our body and mind.
As all human beings wish to have peace, calm and happiness in their life, we should always seek to find the balance in these three humors and the elements that influence them. Through diet and behavior, understanding the seasons, and all these various things, which influence our tendencies to get out of balance, we can draw ourselves back into balance through corrective diet and behavior. Sometimes herbal remedies will also be prescribed to bring these humors into balance. By seeing ourselves clearly we can assist the body and mind to find calm and stability.
This has been a brief explanation of the influences of the body and mind and how they work together in the Tibetan medical system. They are inseparable from the moment of conception up until death. By working with them together we can develop peace of mind and body through balance in our three humors.
I hope this information presented here can be of intrest and help to those wishing to understand some basic Tibetan medicine princibles.
Nashalla G. Nyinda TMD
All articles are written personally by Nashalla G. Nyinda and are copyrighted. Please do not duplicate any info published by Tibetan Medicine & Holistic Healing on this or any other sight. © 2010