Nine Terminal Conditions

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Unfortunately, despite what many would like to believe, traditional medicine is not a miraculous cure-all for every condition. While many can achieve beneficial results by following a traditional healing program, even Tibetan Medicine acknowledges that some conditions are fundamentally incurable. These nine terminal conditions are studied by practitioners in order to understand situations in which favorable results cannot be guaranteed. Traditionally, curative methods would be replaced with palliative care, but with modern technology many conditions that would traditionally be considered fatal can be treated with surgeries, medical devices, or advanced pharmaceutical treatments. 

In the future, we may very well harness the power of medical technology to avert death in even very serious circumstances. However, the following categories generally track the various circumstances in which, barring successful treatment options, death is inevitable. 

As the Buddha identified, life itself is marked by the inevitability for death. We must all face our own mortality with fearlessness, having lived a life of meritorious activity, selflessness, and love.  

Exhaustion of Three Factors of Life

In the Tibetan tradition, there are three factors which create the circumstances for us to live - Sok (life-force), Tse (lifespan), and Ley (karma). If any of these three factors are exhausted, then the only traditional recourse is to rely on rituals, retreats, and spiritual practices to extend the lifespan.


Disease and Treatment Have Same Qualities

Sometimes, if serious diseases are not treated with expert advice, medications can compound the disease's power and create extreme imbalances. This is a case in which improper treatment can speed up a patient's death. 


Delayed Treatment of Serious rLung Disorders

If rLung diseases are not quickly managed, they can negatively impact the Ascending rLung, which is the support for the Life-Sustaining rLung. This fundamentally compromises our body's ability to sustain life.


Delayed Treatment of Chronic Cold-Natured Disorders

If chronic cold-natured conditions are not treated, it can compromise our essential heat functions in the body. This can impact metabolism, cardiac function, circulation, waste drainage, and many other physiological functions. As metabolic fire is the basis of good health, severe cold conditions can cause death if left unattended.


Loss of bLa Due to Provocation

The bLa ("Lah") is identified as the temporary soul of an individual during their present incarnation. It is not a divine soul that follows us into successive lifetimes, but instead is a kind of energetic immune system that protects our life-force and lifespan. This energy can become damaged or lost due to physical or mental trauma, or due to the influence of external energetic forces (dön/provocations). This can be treated with bLa-retrieval ("soul-retrieval") rites or other spiritual practices, but if this is not done in a timely manner then the loss of bLa is believed to lead to untimely death.


Contradictory Complications

Contradictory complications arise when humoral energies attack one another, creating physiological conflicts that further degrade the health of an individual. This occurs in very serious and complex dual and combination disorders.


Injury of Vulnerable Points of the Body

Whether caused by disease or trauma, damage inflicted upon the vulnerable points of the body (i.e. the heart or brain) can result in death. 


Delayed Treatment of Inflammatory Disease

If inflammation or fever conditions are not quickly treated, the inflammation can become systemic and attack the vital organs. Prolonged high fever, such as those caused by serious infections, can also damage sensitive brain tissue and prove to be fatal. 


Depletion of Bodily Constituents

If the seven bodily constituents (chyle, blood, muscle, fat, bone, bone marrow, and reproductive fluid) are depleted and do not respond to treatment, this indicates that the body's fundamental metabolic system has stopped, which can cause wasting and may prove to be fatal if unaffected by treatment.


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© 2020 Shrīmālā Healing Arts. Tibetan Medicine is a millennia-old healing discipline formally acknowledged in Tibet, China, India, Bhutan, and Nepal. However, it is not a licensed medical discipline in the USA, UK, or EU, and therefore is not regulated by the FDA, AMA or any other regulatory body in these countries. Erik is not legally qualified to diagnose any conditions, and no herbal formulas recommended or supplied are intended to prevent, treat, or cure any disease. Therapies or treatments pursued under a Tibetan Medicine Practitioner should not be treated as a replacement for qualified care by a licensed physician.