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The cause for any imbalance or disharmony in the way sentient beings experience things lies with mind/ perceiver. This fundamental ignorance (Tib. ma rig pa) is the source and basis for every kind of suffering, both mental and physical. From this ignorance arises the illusion of the existence of a "self " or "ego" which in turn gives rise to the three major disturbing emotions: attachment, aversion and confusion. These bring about our experience of suffering.

Buddha Sakyamuni recognized this and taught methods for how to overcome and transform suffering. The result is called enlightenment. Enlightenment is achieved by putting Buddhist teachings into practice and using their methods, meditation and behaviour in everyday life.

There is a root text which precisely defines the meaning of health: mind/perceiver and body are in harmony. Illness is defined as a disharmony of mind/perceiver and body. The text goes on to explain what measures are necessary to re-establish harmony and to reach the ultimate goal of enlightenment. This base text known as "The Four Tantras" (Tib. gyü zhi) contains the essence of Tibetan Buddhist Medicine.

I) Basic causes of illness

- ignorance,

 - self / ego, and

 - the disturbing emotions which are:

attachment – wind energy principle

 aversion – bile energy principle

 confusion – phlegm energy principle

The three principles of wind, bile and phlegm preserve harmony or health but can also cause disharmony or illness in the body and the mind / perceiver.

The mind/perceiver influences the body and the body influences the mind/perceiver. This interplay may cause suffering, disharmony and illness, but also happiness, harmony and health.

II) Specific causes of illness

- behaviour of body, speech and mind/perceiver

 - nutrition

 - seasons and climate

 - disturbing energies and environmental influences