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Tibetan Medicine and Leadership

Tibetan Medicine is a comprehensive medical science that is holistic in its philosophy, providing most of the fundamentals necessary for a physiologically and psychologically successful role in any society. Tibetan Medicine places great importance on the harmony of the body, the mind and the spirit. This state of harmony is achieved by maintaining positive mental attitudes balanced with virtuous behaviour and by disciplining oneself with regard to dietary habits, which must be kept well proportioned. rLung, mKrispa and Badkan are the three main energies the functional balance of which is influenced greatly by both harmony and disharmony. Without harmony, both the body and the mind will soon enter a state of disturbance. The body is composed of five elements represented by these three energies.

And it becomes disturbed when we begin to practice certain behaviours — such as when we subject our bodies to an improperly balanced diet or when we allow ourselves to develop poor social attitudes. Disturbances can also arise from the influence of evil spirits. These four factors, combined with general feelings of negativity, give rise to disease. Tibetan Medicine prescribes four main forms of treatment viz.: eating the right food, intelligent behaviour, medicine and additional surgery or other therapies may be advised by the Physician. In addition to numerous health issues, Tibetan Medicine explains extensively the cultivation of socially agreeable attitudes, which must be rigidly adhered to if one is to live harmoniously and successfully in a community in particular or within society in general.

The next chapter attempts to present an overview of leadership styles, according to Tibetan Medicine, with the aim of helping those in need. Tibetan Medicine describes the existence of seven traits (4) viz. rLung, mKhrispa, Badkan, rLung-mKhrispa, Badkan-mKhrispa, Badkan-rLung, and rLung-mKhrispa-Badkan.

1. rLung People: These people possess a bent and thin body. They have less weight, they do not enjoy good sleep, have a propensity for psychological instability and their bodies reflect a bluish hue. They have short life span, are of low height and they have dried and cracked skin. They are talkative, sensitive to cold and are poor managers of financial resources. Belligerence and quarrelsome natures are a hallmark and they are socially disagreeable. Paradoxically, they are fond of singing and dancing and they are also noisy walkers. Their food preferences are for those with sweetness, pungency and sourness.

2. mKhripa People: They have a frequent thirst and a virtually insatiable appetite. They have a yellowish colour of the body, are highly intelligent and are conspicuously proud. They perspire profusely, a foul odour accompanies them, and they are of average height and wealth. Their preference is for sweet, bitter and astringent tastes and they have a preference for cool foods.

3. Badkan People: They have a whitish, cool body with poorly defined appendage joints. They are obese with an unbent body, and are tolerate of hunger, thirst and suffering. They enjoy longevity, good sleep and above average wealth. They are very even tempered and are undisturbed by anger. Badkan people are patient individuals who are well meaning and natured. They prefer pungent, sour and astringent tastes and rough foods.

4. rLung-mKhripa People: Combine : rLung and mKhrispa traits.

5. Badkan-mKhrispa People: Combine: Badkan and mKhrispa traits.

6. Badkan-rLung People: Combine : Badkan and rLung traits.

7. rLung-mKhrispa-Badkan: Combine the three traits of rLung, mKhrispa and Badkan.

Tibetan Medicine stresses that past karmic imprints, behaviours (i.e. changes in lifestyle) and dietary habits of a pregnant woman during the gestation period all contribute to trait predisposition. Tibetan Medicine explains the following leadership styles, which assist an individual in being highly successful in their chosen career and also to acquire positions of authority.

1. Persistence and Consistency: Agreements should be reflected in actions. Promises made must be kept and implicit trust should be the result. Any factors of time, money, position etc. should not in any way influence his honesty or integrity. Forethought and due consideration are essential prior to committing any action in order to avoid failure or disappointment which could lead to potentially serious regret.

2. Ethics: A Guide to Bodhisattava's Way of Life says: "By committing only wholesome acts, which are in the mind, wherever I go shall be rewarded with the fruit of my effort and merits". One should avoid indulging in meaningless, worthless or unproductive behaviour, be physically active, and anything said or thought should be of high merit and virtuous. And foresight and wisdom are necessary in order to be able to discern if an action or words will have a long-term deleterious effect. Vision and wisdom are paramount. The Jewel of Garland says: "Non-virtues result in suffering, And likewise bad migrations. Virtues result in happy migrations, And pleasure at all times."

3. Seek the Truth: Being judgemental of others if the evidence is gossip or unAs it is hard to find this boat again, This is no time to sleep, you fool."

4. Careful usage of words. Words, are they windows or they are walls? One should carefully consider the effects before speaking. The use of harsh words can be counter productive and avoiding the company of crude or bad-mannered people is wise.

5. Flexibility: One should be adaptable to different situations or people of different backgrounds without letting oneself be adversely influenced by them. Belief in the Buddhist concept of impermanence, that is, to accept changing times and other variables, is of paramount importance.

6. Monetary Control and Satisfaction: One should not use money lavishly without proper reason. Nevertheless, one should utilise any wealth gained when there is due cause, as to hoard anything without good reason is non-virtuous. And when wealth, sufficient to provide for contingencies, has been found, to continue to strive for more un-needed assets is sinful as there is no use for the additional wealth. Provided your own needs have been met, excessive accumulation of possessions is sinful as it is probably denying others their fair and just needs. And if, after achieving sufficient wealth, one becomes unexpectedly impoverished, it is sinful to covet the possessions of others.

7. Power of Work: One should carry out work at the first available opportunity unless serious difficulties prevent the work from being done. Things which can be done today should not be put off until tomorrow. A Guide to Bodhisattava's Way of Life says: "Relying upon the boat of a human (the body), Free yourself from the great river of pain! As it is hard to find this boat again, This is no time to sleep, you fool."

8. Be Secretive: One should not reveal one's secrets to others. Nor is it wise to give time or credence to ill-mannered, poorly respected or narrow minded people.

* Dr. Tsering Dhondup is a physician and a teacher of Tibetan Medicine based in New York. He is the author of How to Study Tibetan Medicine: A Commentary on the Root Tantra and Tibetan Medicine: A Unique & Comprehensive Amalgamation of Science, Art & Philosophy.