April 26, 2010

Book Review: Tibetan Psycho-pharmacology. ~ Linda V. Lewis

Tibetan Psychopharmacology by T.J. Tsarong is a commentary on Tibetan medicine, explaining its origin inspired by the Buddhist view that suffering and illness arise from ignorance and the subsequent grasping at a non-existent self.  The introduction explains that holding onto the illusion of ego is manifested in the form of obscuring emotions—passion, aggression, and delusion—which are detrimental to the life force.

And that is about the extent to which the text seems to be comprehensible to an ordinary reader, even to this one familiar with the buddhadharma and Tibetan script.  Beyond the introduction, the commentary gets rather complicated, discussing how the five elements—fire, water, earth, air, and space—relate to the internal “winds,” etc. The commentary then becomes even more non-user-friendly, sprinkled with un-translated Tibetan terms and a multitude of charts.  One has to be seriously interested in the subject and already a bit well versed in Tibetan medicine to get through the many charts, tables, and lists of herbal drugs.

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