rGyud-bzhi' and the Bumshi medical texts

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rGyud-bzhi' and the Bumshi medical texts

Postby kalden yungdrung » Wed May 18, 2011 10:26 pm

Tashi delek, :)

Bon has so its own sources for their Tibetan Medicine.
Undermentioned link is written by Colin Millard, with whom i came recently in contact.

- Key points are here the rGyud-bzhi' and the Bon Zhang Zhung Bumshi

http://www.bodyhealthreligion.org.uk/BA ... ition.html

Best wishes
KY
THOUGH A MAN BE LEARNED
IF HE DOES NOT APPLY HIS KNOWLEDGE
HE RESEMBLES THE BLIND MAN
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Re: rGyud-bzhi' and the Bumshi medical texts

Postby Malcolm » Thu May 19, 2011 1:30 am

kalden yungdrung wrote:Tashi delek, :)

Bon has so its own sources for their Tibetan Medicine.
Undermentioned link is written by Colin Millard, with whom i came recently in contact.

- Key points are here the rGyud-bzhi' and the Bon Zhang Zhung Bumshi

http://www.bodyhealthreligion.org.uk/BA ... ition.html

Best wishes
KY


In all likelyhood, the 'Bum bzhi is later than the rgyud bzhi and derives from it.

This area is something in which I am somewhat expert, having compared these texts with Tibetan translation of the Aṣṭanga hridaya samhita, one of the main Ayurvedic treatises. Both the rgyud bzhi and the 'bum bzhi depend on this text as an antecedent, especially most of the explanatory tantra (bshad rgyud) or the bon version, the multicolored volume ('bum khra bo) -- there are many, many passages derived directly from the Aṣṭanga hridaya samhita in both texts.

There is another text called "the minor tantra" (rgyud chung) which is preserved in the cha lag bco brgyad which is a miscellany of texts composed by Yuthog Sarma and others (the evidence of for a Yuthog Nyingma is lacking and he probably was invented by Darmo Menrampa in the 17the century) in the late 12th, early 13th century. The the minor tantra, in my opinion, is the source of both the man ngag rgyud (clinical medicine) and the phyi ma rgyud (therapeutics) as well as the black volume and the white volume ('bum nag po, 'bum dkar po).

The "minor tantra" was received by Yuthog Sarma. He expanded it with his main disciple, Yeshe Zung into the present Four Tantras we have today by composing the root tantra and abstracting major portions of the sutra sthana and sarira sthana out of the Aṣṭanga hridaya samhita. Moreover, whole chapters of the Uttara sthana are reproduced word for word in the Man ngag rgyud/'bum nag.

Moreover, there is a detailed tantric system called the Yuthog Nyingthig which is associated with this tradition that share significant intertextuality with the four tantras themselves -- in particular the conduct of the doctor -- which itself is abstracted in large measure from the Aṣṭanga hridaya samhita. There is to my knowledge (I could be wrong) no such corresponding tantric system associated with the 'Bum bzhi in Bon which is practiced only by Bon doctors.

Now then, do medical traditions from Bon and Shang Shung exist in the four tantras? The answer is yes. The system of compresses and medicinal baths and so on, as well as many remedies, some names of herbs, and so on derive from Shang Shung and Bon.

But to claim that the rgyud bzhi really is a text converted from a Bon original means the original Bon author copied and abstracted large sections of a Buddhist Ayurvedic text, Aṣṭanga hridaya samhita that was only translated into Tibetan in the 980's by Rinchen Zangpo.

Personally, in this instance I think it is clear that 'bum bzhi depends on the rgyud bzhi, and that the rgyud bzhi is the earlier text.

In any event, the main point is that both text teach an identical system of medicine i.e. the system of Tibetan Medicine.

N
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Re: rGyud-bzhi' and the Bumshi medical texts

Postby orgyen jigmed » Thu May 19, 2011 5:38 pm

In all likelyhood, the 'Bum bzhi is later than the rgyud bzhi and derives from it.


This appears to be another controversial 'historical' topic, and in all likelihood it seems that it shall always remain an open one.

Going by the conclusions of Dr. Tsering Thakchoe Drungtso, in his book 'Tibetan Medicine: The healing science of Tibet (2008) it seems thats he does not share your entire opinion.

Although he is in agreement that it is almost impossible to credit the orignin of Tibetan Medicine to any one particular source, he notes that while the authorship of the present version of rGyud-bZhi remains highly contraversial, he nevertheless brings scriptural evidence to support his claims, that the Last Tantra of the present version of the rGyud-bZhi are derived from the Bon Zhang Zhung texts, such as the sMan-'Bum-dKar-Po, sMan-'Bum-Nag-Po and sMan-'Bum-Khra Bo (p.32).

However, while Clifford (1984) shares similar findings with your research - that while some lines and prescriptions are almost exactly the same as the earliest existent classic works of Indian Ayurveda - nevertheless she observes that while in the Charaka Samhita, for instance, there are only seven demons causing insanity, both Tibetan versions of the Man-ngag-rgyud expands them to eighteen. From this we can conclude that not all medical knowledge originates from Indian sources, but that some must have been inherited from the old shamanic Bon.

While summarizing the origin and historical development of Tibetan Medicine, Drungtso (2008) argues: "it can be concluded that the Tibetan Medical system has an indigenous origin and, over time, shared knowledge with many neighbouring cultures and kingdoms, which culminated in the compilations of sMan-'Bum-dkar-Nag-Khra-gSum and the two versions of rGyud-bZhi by Yuthok Yonten Gonpo the Elder and Younger, which reflected medical knowledge of the first millennium BCE, the 8th and 12th centuries of the modern era" (p.32).
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Re: rGyud-bzhi' and the Bumshi medical texts

Postby Malcolm » Thu May 19, 2011 6:44 pm

orgyen jigmed wrote:
In all likelyhood, the 'Bum bzhi is later than the rgyud bzhi and derives from it.


This appears to be another controversial 'historical' topic, and in all likelihood it seems that it shall always remain an open one.



Not really.


Going by the conclusions of Dr. Tsering Thakchoe Drungtso, in his book 'Tibetan Medicine: The healing science of Tibet (2008) it seems thats he does not share your entire opinion.

Code: Select all
Although he is in agreement that it is almost impossible to credit the orignin of Tibetan Medicine to any one particular source, he notes that while the authorship of the present version of rGyud-bZhi remains highly contraversial, he nevertheless  brings scriptural evidence to support his claims, that the Last Tantra of the present version of the rGyud-bZhi  are derived from the Bon Zhang Zhung texts, such as the sMan-'Bum-dKar-Po, sMan-'Bum-Nag-Po and sMan-'Bum-Khra Bo (p.32).


He is just giving into a sort of Tibetan nationalism. It is not supported by textual analysis. I have these texts. The 'bum dkar po corresponds with the phyi ma rgyud. The phyi ma rgyud contains the so called las lnga. This presentation of the las lnga (pañcakarma) closely follows the presentation of pañcakarma in the Aṣṭangahridaya Samhita. Embryology and signs of death in both the bshad rgyud and the 'bum khra bo closely follows the Sarira sthana of the Aṣṭangahridaya Samhita. The same goes for chapters of the progress of disease, diet, lifestyle, etc. The similes of the body are straight out of the Yellow Emperor's classic adapted to Tibetan architecture.

All I can say is that Dr. Tsering Thakchoe Drungtso is either very poorly read in Ayurvedic texts in Tibetan translation or he is suffering of nationalistic bias.

You should examine the research of Yanga Tsarong, the world's leading expert on this subject, who is the dean of students at Lhasa Mentsee Khang. When he was at Harvard, he did line by line comparisons with the rgyud bzhi, 'bum bzhi and the Aṣṭangahridaya Samhita as well as extensive research into the history of Ancient medicine in general. He concluded a) rgyud bzhi was composed either by Yuthog Sarma or a circle of his close disciples. b) 'bum bzhi is quite late comparatively and derivative of rgyud bzhi. He has no axe to grind, he is not anti-bonpo. c) rgyud bzhi depends heavily on Aṣṭangahridaya Samhita and other Indian, Chinese and Galenic sources. c) the text itself in its present form cannot be older than circa 1200 CE. +- 30 years.

The sman dbyad zla ba rgyal po is older, certainly dating to the tenth century if not earlier. Also Dr Ronit Yoeli-Tlalim has shown that the outline of urinalysis in this latter text (which is the source for urinalysis in the rgyud bzhi/'bum bzhi) is matched very closely by the section on urinalysis in the Canon of Medicine by Ibn Sina (980-1037).

I myself, as a translator of these texts, frequently resort to the Tibetan recension of the Aṣṭangahridaya Samhita and so on to resolve issues. Not only this, but there are direct citations of Caraka embedded with both the brgyud bzhi and the 'bum bzhi, also in the called man ngag rgyud or 'bum nag po. I could go on and on but I don't want to bore you.


both Tibetan versions of the Man-ngag-rgyud expands them to eighteen.


This follows the presentation in the Aṣṭangahridaya Samhita in the Uttarasthana see the bhūta vij̃nānaīya chapter (Murthy,vol three, pg. 36, Krishandas Ayurvedic Series, 2005) "They (bhūtas) are of eighteen kinds..."


From this we can conclude that not all medical knowledge originates from Indian sources, but that some must have been inherited from the old shamanic Bon.


Some, but not nearly as much as many people imagine. I agree that not all medicine comes from Indian sources in the brgyud bzhi. Much of the knowledge in the brgyud bzhi, while not Bon in particular, is Tibetan. Some of it is from Greek medicine. For example, the method of finding hairline fractures in the skull comes straight from Hippocrates. Pulse diagnoses ultimately derives from Chinese medicine. Moxa is probably of Tibetan Origin. Bloddletting comes from Ayurveda. The surgical implements chapter in the bshad rgyud/'bum khra bo is borrowed directly from Sushruta down to the name of the implements, their shapes and uses.


While summarizing the origin and historical development of Tibetan Medicine, Drungtso (2008) argues: "it can be concluded that the Tibetan Medical system has an indigenous origin and, over time, shared knowledge with many neighbouring cultures and kingdoms, which culminated in the compilations of sMan-'Bum-dkar-Nag-Khra-gSum and the two versions of rGyud-bZhi by Yuthok Yonten Gonpo the Elder and Younger, which reflected medical knowledge of the first millennium BCE, the 8th and 12th centuries of the modern era" (p.32).


Yuthog Nyingma is a fiction. The sole evidence we have for his existence is the 17th century bio composed by Darmo Menrampa (5th Dalai Lama's personal physician). HIs existence was rejected by doctors at Palpung for this very reason. You can talk about this with Professor Thubten Phuntsog (who himself is an advocate of the 'bum bzhi theory).

Prior to this text, there is not a single mention of an elder Yuthog in any historical document connected with Tibetan medicine. I have done a great deal of primary text research in this area. More importantly, Yuthog's grandfather was a direct disciple of Rinchen Zangpo. As I said, the brgyud bzhi was composed based on the rgyud chung and augmented with theory primarily drawn from the Aṣṭangahridaya Samhita. The 'bum gzhi is a derivative text revealed as Bon terma certainly no earlier than the mid 12th century.
Last edited by Malcolm on Thu May 19, 2011 8:20 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: rGyud-bzhi' and the Bumshi medical texts

Postby kalden yungdrung » Thu May 19, 2011 7:43 pm

Tashi delek, :)

There is in the Tibetan Medicine like the Gyud gzhi a colection of foreign elements like allready is mentioned:
Indian, Greece, Chinese and Bon.

All those elements have / own also a whole medical system Like the Chinese have with their TCM and Bon their own medical sources.
But slowly we get some standards in Tibet which results in the TTM we know today.

If the Gyud gzhi would be a copy of the Bum Gzhi that is not true what is true imo would be that the Gyud gzhi contains certain Bon medical texts.
But if that would be like with the Medical Bon Texts, that is what i doubt (If they would contain Aryuvedic elements etc . But i am not sure and will ask this to some Bon Medicine Geshelas.

Best wsihes
KY
THOUGH A MAN BE LEARNED
IF HE DOES NOT APPLY HIS KNOWLEDGE
HE RESEMBLES THE BLIND MAN
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Re: rGyud-bzhi' and the Bumshi medical texts

Postby Malcolm » Thu May 19, 2011 8:19 pm

kalden yungdrung wrote:Tashi delek, :)

There is in the Tibetan Medicine like the Gyud gzhi a colection of foreign elements like allready is mentioned:
Indian, Greece, Chinese and Bon.

All those elements have / own also a whole medical system Like the Chinese have with their TCM and Bon their own medical sources.
But slowly we get some standards in Tibet which results in the TTM we know today.

If the Gyud gzhi would be a copy of the Bum Gzhi that is not true what is true imo would be that the Gyud gzhi contains certain Bon medical texts.
But if that would be like with the Medical Bon Texts, that is what i doubt (If they would contain Aryuvedic elements etc . But i am not sure and will ask this to some Bon Medicine Geshelas.

Best wsihes
KY


The rgyud bzhi contains no Bon medical texts. The Bon canon is very poor in specific medical texts, in reality. In reality the Bon canon has only two medical texts. The 'bum bzhi and a modern synthetic (i.e. also using Buddhist sources) commentay by the famed Bonpo doctor and astrologer, Khyung trul Jigme Namkhai Dorje (1897-1956).

By contrast, the Buddhist Tengyur has five volumes of medical texts.

However, there are some uniquely Bon medical texts that do not seem to have survived to the present day. There is a famous commentary on poisons attributed to dbyad bu khri shes mentioned by De'u Mar Geshe Tenzin Phunstog. There are perhaps Bon medical termas not included in the present Bon canon. I don't know. There are doubtless some tantras in the Bon canon which preserve medical knowledge. But the Bonpoa do not have an extensive collection of medical texts in their canon. This is easy to discover. Just read the catalogue.

Khyung trul's commentary writings seem to be the source of the sustained contention that 'bum bzhi was translated from Zhang Zhung language. However, there are many more loan words from Sanskrit in the rgyud bzhi than from Zhang Zhung language in fact. Couple this with the fact that Tibetans typlically misidentify words taken from any foreign language other than Sanskrit as "Zhang Zhung" these days and you can see there is a whole lot of confusion among Tibetans about the origins of this text.



But the fact is that Bon in general has fairly paltry resources on medicine apart from 'bum bzhi.
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Re: rGyud-bzhi' and the Bumshi medical texts

Postby orgyen jigmed » Fri May 20, 2011 6:58 pm

"orgyen jigmed
This appears to be another controversial 'historical' topic, and in all likelihood it seems that it shall always remain an open one.


Not really.
"Namdrol


Although I find your arguments plausible, nevertheless the Bon maintains a different position as to the origin of the rGyud bzhi. For example, in contrast to your argument in favour that the rGyud bzhi being a translation of an Indian work, the Bonpo Ga-rgya Khyung-sprul 'Jigs-med namkha'i rdorje (1897-1957) claims that the rGyud bzhi was written in the Zhang Zhung language. Whatever your opionion may be to his claim, what is known for certain is that medical texts believed to be of Zhang-zhung origin have been found among the Dunhuang manuscripts (PT 127), which asserts that it was based on the Zhang-Zhung medical tradition (Karmay, 2009).

To reach an understanding how the Bon could have come to such a conclusion, one must consult with the Zhiji, were the life story of Buddha Tonpa Shenrab Miwoche has been recorded, and considered indispensable to the Bonpo social formation. According to this twelve volume manuscript, Tonpa Shenrab has transmitted various kinds of medical knowledge, including the sMan-'Bum-dKar-Nag-Khra-gSum to his son Chedbu Trishe, and seven others, known as the 'eight sages of medicine' around 14,500 BCE (Norbu, 1995; Drungtso, 2008).

If we are to accept this tradition as valid, it necessary follows that there must have been a particular medical knowledge which originated, and came to us from the pure hidden land of Olmo Lung Ring (known as Shambhala to Buddhist) - allegedly located somewhere in North West of Mt. Kailash - but considered a part of Tazig in those days. It was here that Buddha Tonpa Shenrab was born, lived and taught according to Yungdrung Bon. Prof. Namkhai Norbu(1995) says: "the most remarkable innovation in his teaching was the abolition of the ancient cruel sacrifices and the adoption of the use of clay or butter 'effigies' to replace the human or animal victims".

What I do find interesting according to this account, is not only that the doctrine of Tonpa Shenrab was spread by "six-great translators" to adjacent countries which included: Zhang-Zhung, Sum-pa (East of Zhang-Zhung), Phrom (Mongolia) China, Kashmir, India and finally Tibet, but that these teachings have also spread to India by Lha-bdags sNgags-grol ; pressumably these included medical knowledge, considering that all cultures have shared ideas of what makes people sick, what makes well and how people can maintain good health through time, and therefore may have also included the Variegated Collections of Therapies (dPyad 'bum Khra bo) and the White and Black Collection of Medicines (sMan 'bum dkar nag), although I must concur that I do not have any evidence in favour or against to further support these claims.

But on the other hand, if this hypothesis is correct, it is not so difficult to understand how traditional medical knowledge and practices could have also entered India from the North (something the proud Indians would not so easily submit), as well as other neighbouring countries. This migration could have been part of pastoral adaptation in search of subsistence in different ecological environments. As a result of this process of syncretism with the multi-Hindu cultures and worldviews, Aryuveda, may have evolved as its own tradition. Thus, one must take into consideration this dynamic circular process instead of a static one way process.

Another divergance in opinion held by the Bon is that g.Yu-thog Yon-tan mgon-po is considered to be not other then the Bonpo gter ston Khu-tsha Zla-'od (Karmay, 2009). However, as I am neither a scholar nor can I claim any competence in Tibetan Medicine and its history I must remain open to more expert views.
"If the aspiration for enlightenment is your motivation in coming to see me, there is no remedy except meditative practice. I, too, will only practice." - Zurpoche Sakya Jungne
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Re: rGyud-bzhi' and the Bumshi medical texts

Postby Malcolm » Fri May 20, 2011 8:45 pm

orgyen jigmed wrote:
Although I find your arguments plausible, nevertheless the Bon maintains a different position as to the origin of the rGyud bzhi.



yes.


For example, in contrast to your argument in favour that the rGyud bzhi being a translation of an Indian work,


I never said that. The rgyud bzhi is definitely not a translation of an India work. It is a native Tibetan composition. More importantly, the text itself never pretends to be a translation. Unlike the rgyud chung, the rgyud bshi lacks a translator's colophon in every single edition, of which we have twelve. Not only does it lack a translator's colphon, it lacks a treasure colophon as well. The rgyud chung i.e. the minor tantra, the Amritahridayaguhyaupadesha tantra on the other hand claims to have been written by Candrānanda (the author the major commentary of the Aṣṭanga hridaya samhita) and having been passed in a single lineage from one emanational person to another, found its way into the hands of Yuthog. This text is absolutely the basis for the man ngag rgyud and phyi ma rgyud and their 'bum bzhi corollaries.


the Bonpo Ga-rgya Khyung-sprul 'Jigs-med namkha'i rdorje (1897-1957) claims that the rGyud bzhi was written in the Zhang Zhung language. Whatever your opionion may be to his claim, what is known for certain is that medical texts believed to be of Zhang-zhung origin have been found among the Dunhuang manuscripts (PT 127), which asserts that it was based on the Zhang-Zhung medical tradition (Karmay, 2009).


These texts that mention Zhang Zhung do not mention the 'bum gzhi.


To reach an understanding how the Bon could have come to such a conclusion, one must consult with the Zhiji...


gzi gjid is quite late. And I have consulted it. It's discussion of medicine is very limited. It revealed after the rgyud bzhi was composed.

What I do find interesting according to this account, is not only that the doctrine of Tonpa Shenrab was spread by "six-great translators" to adjacent countries which included: Zhang-Zhung, Sum-pa (East of Zhang-Zhung), Phrom (Mongolia) China, Kashmir, India and finally Tibet, but that these teachings have also spread to India by Lha-bdags sNgags-grol ; pressumably these included medical knowledge, considering that all cultures have shared ideas of what makes people sick, what makes well and how people can maintain good health through time, and therefore may have also included the Variegated Collections of Therapies (dPyad 'bum Khra bo) and the White and Black Collection of Medicines (sMan 'bum dkar nag), although I must concur that I do not have any evidence in favour or against to further support these claims.


Ayruveda comes from the Atharva Veda. Not from Tazig. Caraka Samhita is a late commentary compiled between 200 BCE -- 200 CE, with large and signification portions reconstructed at a later date. The text around which Caraka was compile is a text called Agnivesha tantra.

But on the other hand, if this hypothesis is correct, it is not so difficult to understand how traditional medical knowledge and practices could have also entered India from the North (something the proud Indians would not so easily submit), as well as other neighbouring countries.


it is quite easy to understand northwestern influences on Indian culture i.e. Bactria.

This migration could have been part of pastoral adaptation in search of subsistence in different ecological environments. As a result of this process of syncretism with the multi-Hindu cultures and worldviews, Aryuveda, may have evolved as its own tradition. Thus, one must take into consideration this dynamic circular process instead of a static one way process.


There is no doubt that knowledge spread widely in the Ancient world along trades routes that had been well established for centuries. Who knows what interesting texts were in the library at Alexandria?


Another divergance in opinion held by the Bon is that g.Yu-thog Yon-tan mgon-po is considered to be not other then the Bonpo gter ston Khu-tsha Zla-'od (Karmay, 2009). However, as I am neither a scholar nor can I claim any competence in Tibetan Medicine and its history I must remain open to more expert views.
[/quote]

I find this quite unlikely simply due to the fact that most of the major elements of Yuthog's life and his immediate students are well attested. For example, in the mid-12th century, Chomden Rigpa'i raltri's commentary on the Aṣṭanga hridaya samhita criticized the rgyud bzhi tradition directly, see my blog entry here:

http://www.bhaisajya.net/2008_09_01_archive.html

There are two articles I wrote that bear on our discussion. I did make one mistake in this article that was corrected by Dan Martin. Chebu Trishe is mentioned in the mdo 'dus. This is from the tenth century perhaps. But it is deprecated in Bon because it describes Shenrab as having a human mother and father, etc. It is not as grand as Ziji or Zermig.

Even more importantly, if Yuthog was also known as Khu-tsha Zla-'od, his grandfather was still a direct disciple of Rinchen Zangpo and heard the Aṣṭanga hridaya samhita from that translator. There is no possible way that the explanatory tantra and the 'bum khra bo are not based on Aṣṭanga hridaya samhita.

Basically, Bon claims to origins of brgyud bzhi simply do not stand up to text critical analysis. This is not personal, and I have no axe to grind. Bonpo physicians are just as good as Buddhist ones. We use the same basic text. But the text does not originate in Bon. Even so, if it did, it would still depend on the Aṣṭanga hridaya samhita for many things.

Further, I could give you a hundred words in the brgyud bzhi/'bum bzhi that are direct derivatives from Sanskrit i.e. tigta (tikta which means bitter in fact in Sanskrit i.e. swertia chirata), shing kun (a Tibetan mispronunciation of hing gu, i.e. asafeotida), Manupatra/puṣkarmūla i.e. inula racemosa etc. I really can go and on and and on. There are very few words in this text from Zhang Zhung language -- hong len (Lagotis brevituba, which may actually be a Chinese word), tre sam, etc., these are just a very few of the few words left over from Shang Shung language in this the rgyud bzhi/'bum bzhi.

Moreover, for example, the sngo 'bum chapter of the explanatory tantra definitely depends on two texts described in my blog article here:

http://www.bhaisajya.net/2009_01_01_archive.html

For the most part, the whole of the Tibetan textual tradition about herbs depends on the two texts described in that article. There are no corresponding Bon sngo 'bums.

Anyway, this is my conclusion and in my opinion, the Bonpos do not have good support for their counter arguments.

N
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there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

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