Format A4, full color, 48 pages
Welcome to Sem de – The Happy Mind.
Sems bde literally means ‘Happy Mind’. What a wonderful state in which to find oneself, what a beautiful name for a medicine, and what a fitting title for this issue of the TTM Journal! In this issue we explore Traditional Tibetan Medicine and mental health.
In our contemporary society, it would appear that mental health issues are becoming ever more prevalent. Stress, anxiety, depression, burnout, addictions, drug dependence…. Despite our greater sophistication, increased efficiency, higher financial achievements and increasing technological advancement, our lifestyles seem to be going faster, with less leisure-time, less quality time for family nurturing, community-mindedness or self-care.
In Tibetan medicine, all suffering stems from mental ‘ill-health’ in the form of ignorance or lack of conscious awareness of our true condition. This leads to an imbalance of the subtle vitalising forces within us (Wind rlung, Bile mkhris pa and Phlegm bad kan), which in turn can manifest as mental and emotional disorders or physical ailments and disease.
In this issue we explore the ways in which Tibetan Buddhist philosophy is inextricably intertwined with the fundamental tenets of Tibetan Medicine. There are multiple layers of meaning. In the Tibetan tradition, the heart is the seat of the mind, and the concept of mind is a great deal broader than simply referring to the physiology of mental processing or the physical entity of the brain. As a part of this broader view of mental health, we explore the notion of suffering: individual suffering – mental and physical, in addition to suffering as a universal condition.
We feature an intriguing article by Dr Colin Millard, which examines the traditional Tibetan classifications of mental illness, their aetiology, clinical manifestations, diagnosis and treatment. He gives clinical examples then compares the Tibetan and Western psychiatric perspectives.
Our second feature article is a very relevant topic: namely, the treatment of Burnout syndrome by Dr Cecile Vennos.
We showcase the little-known Yuk Cho – Stick Therapy – an external therapy which is derived from the carefully-guarded secret Tibetan yogic practices. This is a gentle yet extremely powerful therapy focusing on the subtle energy channels of the body.
We have a diverse selection of books in the review section. I hope that you will take the opportunity to read these beautiful books. Each has been chosen for its pertinence to this exploration of the mind. Terry Clifford’s book, ‘The Diamond Healing’ has become a classic work in the field of Tibetan medicine and psychiatry. I trust that you will be spiritually uplifted by Mathieu Riccard’s ‘The Art of Happiness’ and visually transported by ‘The Art of Healing’.
The title for this issue is named after a medicine. Sems bde is a gentle Tibetan herbal medicine in the form of a pill, suitable for individuals with a sensitive nature who are easily overwhelmed, stressed or who readily become over-emotional. It balances and calms the khyab byed rlung – the All-pervasive Wind seated in the heart.
I wish you all a Happy Mind. May you find enjoyment and fulfillment through your study and practice of Traditional Tibetan Medicine, and may your endeavours bring benefit to all beings!
Dr Maria Locsei – Managing Editor