Because I practiced medicine for 30 years, I've always had an interest in practicing Yuthok Nyingthig, the terma cycle combining Vajrayana practice with the practice of Tibetan medicine. In the 1980s, I studied with Trogawa Rinpoche and received the Medicine Buddha empowerment from Him, but I didn't know what or how to ask for in terms of the Yuthok Nyingthig. Fast forward 30 years (give or take) and I once asked Gochen Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche to give the Yuthok Nyingthig empowerment and, at that time, He said He would. But then I didn't follow up on that as the sponsoring patron in order to make that happen. So, when Tulku Yeshe Gyamtsho announced that He was going to give the Yuthok Nyingthig empowerment at Chonyid Ling in Denver in the summer of 2016, I was all over it like white on rice. I may no longer be practicing medicine but I wanted to make the Dharma connection (cho-drel) to this cycle of practices for my next life.
Since the summer of 2016, I have now received the Yuthok Nyingthig essential empowerment four times: twice from Tulku Yeshe and twice from Dr. Nida Chenagtsang. Two of those four time have happened at Boulder Valley Ngakpa House, once with Tulku Yeshe and once with Dr. Nida. In addition, Dr. Nida is scheduled to come back to BVNH in June to give the rarely given Rishis of Medicine empowerment, and I have put in a formal request for Him to return to BVNH in 2018 as well. In addition, I have completed the Yuthok Nyingthig ngondro twice (once solo and once in a group retreat here at BVNH) and have done three of the four Guru yogas. So BVNH is becoming something of a home for the Yuthok Nyingthig. My plan is to do as much of the Yuthok Nyingthig as I can personally and to promote the Yuthok Nyingthig as much as I can through BVNH. Therefore, I'd like to describe a little something about the Yuthok Nyingthig and what it has to offer.
The cycle of the Yuthok Nyingthig contains root texts and commentaries related to both Yuthog Yonten Gonpo´s spiritual and medical teachings. This is because He considered spiritual practices, yoga, and meditation to be an integral part of every physician’s training.
The root texts of the Yuthog Nyingthig contain the following teachings and practices:
1. Preliminary practices or ngondro
2. Four forms of outer, inner, secret, and most profound methods of Guru Yoga
3. Practices of the Three Roots of Guru, Deva, and Dakini related to the development stage
4. Practices of the Six Yogas of inner heat, clear light, illusory body, bardo and phowa, dream and sleep practices related to the completion stage
5. Tibetan medical physical movements known as Trulkhor in Tibetan and as Yantra Yoga in Sanskrit
6. Practices for removing outer, inner, and secret obstacles
7. Fifteen topics on the study of physical medicine and pathology, including disturbances of the three humors, infectious diseases, pain, trauma, and poisons
8. Dzogchen as the method of self-liberation of samsara and nirvana,
9. Mendrup or the practices for accomplishing medical substances or nectar medicine
10. Various special healing methods
11. Protective mantras and charms
12. Practices for the nine classes of Oath-bound Protectors specific to this medical tradition and various methods to avert disturbances, negativities, and provocations from spirits
13. There are also instructions for a special form of pulse diagnosis where the practitioner must engage in spiritual retreat and specific practices for a month as preparation prior to reading the patient’s pulse.
The Yuthok Nyingthig practice itself is associated with the development of special powers of omniscience and clairvoyance which then help the physician to become a greater healer by integrating all of those practices with the medical practice of a doctor.
If any of this interests you, please keep an eye on our Events page for announcements of any up-coming Yuthok Nyingthig empowerments, transmissions, retreats, or practices. We hope to offer more and more Yuthok Nyingthig-related events moving forward in the future.