Sowa-Rigpa” is one of the oldest, living and well documented medical tradition popular in the world. The term ‘Sowa Rigpa’ is derived from Bhoti language which means ‘Knowledge of Healing’. It is an ancient Indian medical system which was enriched in the entire Trans-Himalayan region. At present Sowa-Rigpa is more popular in Himalayan societies especially in J & K region’, Ladakh ,Himachal Pradesh (Lahoul & Spiti), West Bengal (Darjeeling), Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh and other parts of India. It is also being practiced in countries like Bhutan, Mongolia and Russia etc.
Sowa Rigpa is formally recognized and promoted as traditional medical system by the Government of India. Along with spread of Buddhism, Sowa-Rigpa also spread to other neighouring countries. It can be perceived to be more close or having similarity with Ayurvedic philosophy/ principles of India since many of texts of Sowa-Rigpa (approximately more than 75%) are taken from one of the most famous treatise of Ayurveda i.e. “Ashtanga Hridya” in one or other form. Many (more than 75%) medicines used in Ayurveda (Indian origin) viz Triphala, Ashok, Ashwagandha, Guggulu, Haridra etc. are also frequently used in Sowa- Rigpa System of Medicine for treatment purposes.
The principle medical text “rGyud-bZi” Chatush Tantra-a textbook of fundamental principles of Sowa-Rigpa is in Sanskrit language which was further translated into Bhoti language around 8th – 12th Century and further amended by Yuthok YontanGombo and other scholars of Trans Himalayan region according to the socio-climatic conditions.
The fundamental principles of Sowa-Rigpa is based on Jung-wa-nga (Pancha mahabutha),Nespa-sum (Tridosha), Luszung-dun (Sapta dhatu) and do’s and don’ts, Dietary guidelines, Pulse examination etc. which are common in Sowa-Rigpa and Ayurveda and clearly indicates its close proximity with India.
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