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What is Sowa Rigpa ?

What is Sowa Rigpa ?

  • Sowa Rigpa is an ancient Indian medical system originated 2500 years ago and was introduced in the TransHimalayan region around 8th Century AD.
  • The term Sowa Rigpa is derived from Bhoti language which means ‘Knowledge of Healing’.
  • Sowa Rigpa has been developed and incorporated into different environmental and cultural contexts through the centuries.
  • Sowa-Rigpa has moulded itself into the socio-cultural lineage since ages, where every village has had an Amchi family to look after public health.
  • Since then it has been propagated and transmitted through teacher-student-lineage, including family lineage;
  • 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.
  • Prevalant among secular and monastic contexts in the Trans Himalayan regions of India.
  • In India: Sowa-Rigpa is the traditional medical system of Ladakh, Sikkim, Darjeeling and Kalingpong (West Bengal);Lahoul-Spiti, Kinnour, Dharamsala regions of Himanchal Pradesh;Mon-Tawang and west Kameng regions of Arunachal Pardesh and Tibetan settlements in various parts of India.
  • Neighbourhood Countries: Along with spread of Buddhism, Sowa-Rigpa also spread to other neighouring countries. Sowa-Rigpa is traditionally practiced in Bhutan, Mongolia, Tibet, China, Nepal and some parts of Central Asia.
  • AYUSH health care System : Sowa Rigpa is formally recognized and promoted as traditional medical system by the Government of India.
  • Similarity with Ayurveda:  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 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.

National Institute of Sowa-Rigpa (NISR)

  • The Union Cabinet has approved setting up of National Institute of Sowa-Rigpa (NISR) at Leh, Union Territory of Ladakh.
  •  It will be an autonomous national institute under the Ministry of AYUSH with the mandate to undertake interdisciplinary education and research programmes in Sowa-Rigpa in collaboration with national and international institutes.
  • NISR will act as an apex institute for Sowa-Rigpa system.
  • It will also help to revive Sowa-Rigpa in the Indian sub-continent and also link the traditional wisdom of Sowa-Rigpa with modern science, tools, and technology.
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