In this age of rapid globalization, Tibet’s ancient and valuable culture – its language, arts medicine, and astrology – is facing extinction. The publication of a concise Introduction to Tibetan Astrology from Men- Tsee-Khang in Dharmshala is an important step in helping to preserve this rich and valued heritage, which offers tremendous benefit for all humanity. This comprehensive edition, the first to be published in English since 1995, insures that the treasure of Tibetan Astrology can be preserved and disseminated in the world. It is a great resource for any scholar of Tibetan Astrology and culture as well as a Valuable introduction to these interested in Tibetan heritage.
It was certainly the combination of a gigantic landmass, a small population and primarily the nomadic pastoral lifestyle which made the ancient Tibetans’s special awareness of their environment. From time immemorial, our ancestors have closely observed the movements of the Sun, Moon, plants and constellations, and have calculated time based on day, month and seasons. They for casted the weather based on the nature of the wind, clouds, rainbows, appearance of the flora, behaviour of the fauna and being conscious of microscopic changes in other natural phenomena.
These fine observations of nature formed the rich foundation on which Tibetan Astrology was later built upon. Founded on primeval wisdom, by the second century B.C, this had developed into a systematic science- known as one of the 12 Fields of Knowledge of Bon Tradition – alongside medicine and an array of divinatory practices.
Over the centuries this fertile base was greatly expanded by the arrival of Buddhist philosophy and Chinese astrology in the seventh century A.D. With the advent of Buddhism, from India came access to the Kalacakra Tantra – a teaching explaining the formation of the Shakyamuni Buddha in 881 B.C. By the 11th Century A.D. this complex tantric yoga was fully practiced in Tibet and was soon incorporated by scholars into astrological texts.
The history of Tibetans Astrology is a complex, multi-facetted and culturally unique just like the long history of the Tibetans empire. Through the decades of exile in India this tradition has been carefully - the Tibetan Medical and Astro. Institute – alongside its complementary and more widely-known science, Tibetan Medicine.
‘Tibetan Astronomy and Astrology – A Brief Introduction’, first published in 1995 by this institute has reached its eighth edition. With world interest in all facets of Tinetan’s religion history, arts and culture spiraling, it was decided that a more ambitious and comprehensive illustrated book should be produced outlining and comprehensive illustrated book should be produced outlining all fundamental aspects of Tibtan Astrology. We were assigned this project in late 2009 and as our research began to bear fruit, we decide to include in the book the fundamental understanding of the indigenous Ancient Tibetan Astrology, and its interface with the important of Nag-r Tsis (elemental Astrology) from China and dKar-r Tsis (the astrology of Kalacakra and Arising vowels) from India. This led to the two major indigenous astrology linegages – the Tsurlung and the Phuglug, the latter of which is practiced by Men-Tsee-Khang.
Having the origin and authenticity of this, we proceeded by explaining for the beginners the role of astrology in relation with the nine other traditional fields of science - grammar, medicine, logic, arts and craft, Buddhist philosophy, poetry, synonyms, metrical science and theatrical performance. Tibetan Astrology is an important feature of the Science of Healing and inseparable from the practice of Tibetan Medicine.
Since the objective of engaging in the study and practice of Tibetan Astrology is to ensure good fortune and happiness to others, and often to advice remedial measures and protections when obstacles are identified, the final part of the text focuses on explaining the wide range of horoscopes and amulets which are routinely prepared by TMAI’s Astrology Department.
The primary motivation of exiles gathered in Dharamshala has been the preservation of Tibet’s religion and culture while we watch our beliefs, practices and way of life being suppressed, signified, and even erased under China’s occupation of the Tibetan Plateau. Tibetan Medicine and Astrology are key component in ensuring this cultural preservation. With their roots stemming from the understanding and practice of Buddha Dharma, and their ethical focus on the well-being of all sentient life, these ancient sciences can be seen as a precious offering of wishdom and healing to today’s uncertain world.
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