Sowa Rigpa

The Root Tantra

The first section, the Root Tantra, is comprised of six chapters giving a brief outline of the whole text and comparing the medical system with a tree. Three roots sprouts into nine stems, which branch out into 47 branches bearing 224 leaves. The nine stems represent the nine sections of medical science, the branches stand for general information and the leaves illustrate the details.

The Explanatory Tantra

The second tantra, the Explanatory Tantra, encompasses 31 chapters and is concerned with the life cycle (conception, child birth, functioning of the three humours and signs of death), causes, conditions and classification of the diseases. It specifies the properties of medicinal ingredients and explains in detail diet, behaviour and the rules for maintaining health, etc. It also contains a code which physician should uphold in conducting his profession.

The Oral Tradition Tantra

The third tantra, the Oral Tradition Tantra, consists of 92 chapters which mainly teach the 101 disorders of three humours indicating their causes, conditions, symptoms and methods of therapy.

The Last Tantra

The fourth tantra, the Last Tantra, is comprised of 27 chapters, which deal with diagnosis (such as urine analysis and pulse reading), medicinal ingredients and their preparations (pills, powders, syrops, medicinal butters, etc.), pacifying medication (purgatives and emetics) and additional treatments (moxibustion, golden-needle therapy) which are applied when all other medicinal preparations have failed to cure the patient.