Vajrasattva, Buddha of Supreme Intelligence
Dr. Trogawa Rinpoche
gNyän Diseases
Before passing away in the year 2005, Dr. Trogawa Rinpoche answered questions that students who attended his seminar asked, and this short article hopes to do justice to his sincere concern about gnyän diseases that are emerging in modern times.
Question: Would you please speak about latest research results concerning AIDS?
Dr. Trogawa Rinpoche: Scientists have discovered that AIDS is not transmitted through saliva, even if the virus can be detected in the saliva of a patient. Evidently, saliva has the property of being able to reduce and even destroy the virus. A doctor quite knowledgeable in traditional homeopathy, who worked with a famous institute specialized in blood tests in Berlin, was very successful when he treated his AIDS patients with injections of their own, purified saliva. The only problem is the long period of incubation before the virus becomes active and detectable, which can be as long as two to nine years. We do know that AIDS is transmitted through direct blood contact or through intercourse since the virus persists in every cell of the body. The disease cannot be contracted through saliva because of the minimal quantity in the saliva of an infected person.
Tibetan physicians speak of AIDS as a gnyän disease, which is very hard to diagnose. But there is no doubt that the disease is impure blood and can be compared to leprosy.
Student: Another problem is that AIDS patients are discriminated and helpers can only tell them to accept their situation and live with it, leaving it at that.
Rinpoche: I visited the National Medical Institute in Washington, D.C. in 1984 and was overwhelmed by its size and the budget at its disposal. The institute is almost as big as a city - one needs a car to get from one end to the other. It is impossible to walk through the institute in one day, evidence that size and dimensions are the American way of life. I had the impression that the energy and exertion invested in this institute made it possible that every disease, once diagnosed, could be cured, that every health problem can be solved. All the high-tech apparatus that enable doctors to make brain and heart scans, just to mention a few innovations of the modern world, are remarkable. I was introduced to a man who was probably the General Secretary or Director of the National Medical Institute; he was probably only a step lower in the social ladder of very important persons in the United States. I also met many cancer specialists. We spoke about AIDS. They were frustrated and asked, “What can we do?” My response was and is, “Back to the basics, a balanced diet and conscientious behaviour.” AIDS, like cancer, is a gnyän disease and needs to be treated with the recitation of mantras, especially with that of Bodhisattva Vajrasattva. A patient needs to lead a balanced life and practice this meditation deity as sincerely as possible.
Both Lord Buddha and Guru Rinpoche, Padmasambhava, prophesied that gnyän diseases would arise and increase in future times. They also spoke about the causes of gnyän diseases, namely that immoral behaviour and unhealthy habits would get worse and worse as time proceeded; ethical behaviour and mutual responsibility and care, on a small and large scale, would decline, and people would treat each other badly, consequently weakening the each others’ immune system. Another major cause for gnyän diseases is pollution, which is so terribly devastating and harmful. Spirits are attracted to and live in polluted and contaminated earth, stones, and rocks and their breath infects man with diseases that had not existed until circumstances arose. Stress is also a contributory factor that weakens the immune system. In those cases, medicine at our disposal cannot help. An ancient Tibetan medical text states that synthetic products would one day be produced and that they would definitely induce the development of new diseases. Nuclear contamination is another crucial factor that gives rise to more horrific diseases that man just cannot cope with or heal.
What are gnyän? They are a type of parasitic microorganism that attack the glands. Gland diseases have always afflicted mankind but could be healed easily in the past. Degenerate gland diseases are new, though, and are malignant.1
Cancer was not known in Tibet, i.e., at the time I was forced to leave. I hadn’t heard of it until I arrived in India. My first encounter with this most vicious disease was a patient who suffered heavily from one or two phlegm disorders, bäd-kan in the throat and bäd-kan in the stomach. These two disorders can be treated quite easily with traditional medicine, but more and more patients I was treating did not recover at all. It seemed as though these harmless disorders had suddenly become violent. At this point I realized that we were facing cancer.
A very old Tibetan scripture, written in a language that nobody can read or understand off-hand, not only describes diseases that would arise in much later times in great detail and precisely but also taught heedful methods of treatment. In any case, treatment of many new diseases involves medication combined with mantra recitation. It is necessary to decipher the ancient script and then prepare the medicine accordingly, while reciting the appropriate mantra. A few instructions have been translated and are successfully being applied in the treatment of cancer, presupposing it is not much too late and patients have not undergone chemotherapy. The ancient medical scripture consists of 18 chapters dealing with gnyän diseases and speaks about four or five in detail; it lists a total of seven diseases that would emerge in modern times, the first being cancer, the second being AIDS.
My colleague and friend, Dr. Tenzin Choedrak is working together with Dr. Benson from Harvard University.2 They asked a few cancer patients in the United States who were open to recite mantras to please do so; a few recovered beautifully. In the meantime, all doctors at the Tibetan Medical Institute in Dharamsala treat cancer patients. They have been able to prolong the lives of many patients suffering from liver cancer and are happy to report that many of them have recovered fully by enjoying the treatment that the early Tibetan text prescribes. Specialists at the institute are preparing more and more medicine against cancer according to these instructions. Once a 50-year old woman who had a brain tumour, who had been exposed to strong chemotherapy and only had one month to live, called. I am very happy to have helped her live comfortably for another two years. While living in Bhutan for a couple of years, a few women with breast cancer, who had been told to go under the scissors, called on me. I treated them with non-invasive medicine and mantras – a few recovered fully.
I think the karmic connection between a doctor and his or her patients is important for full recovery to happen. Furthermore, a physician’s character and his sincerity of contemplating karma are also decisive to heal the sick.
It is important to be very cautious of one’s health and to receive help as early as possible when one is sick, especially if one has cancer. When cancer reaches a certain stage, it is incurable. In the meantime, though, my opinion of chemotherapy is better than it was years ago. Smaller doses are being prescribed and at intervals, reducing the agony of side effects a patient suffers if given too much all at once. If the tumour is still small, surgery is often very good.
Question: Are spirits always involved when it comes to gnyän diseases or are there gnyän diseases that are born from the new material on the market?
Rinpoche: Violent and aggressive gnyän diseases are always caused by spirits. Violent gnyän diseases cannot be healed with non-invasive, traditional medicine.
Question: Is there a meditation practice to protect oneself against radioactivity, for instance, if one lives near an atomic energy plant?
Rinpoche: It depends upon the individual.
Thank you very much.
Translated from the German translation and interpreted by Gaby Hollmann

1 The Rangjung Yeshe Tibetan-English Dictionary (online) translated the Tibetan term nyen as ‘dangerous’, also as ‘infectious.’ In this article, we are referring to gynän-sa’i-gdön, “outer and inner bad spirits.” See Machik’s Complete Explanation – Clarifying the Meaning of Chöd, translated and edited by Sarah Harding, Snow Lion Publications, Ithaca, 2003. In the article, Causes of Mental Disorders, Dr. Trogawa Rinpoche tells us, “There are 360 female spirits connected with desire, 360 male spirits connected with aggression, and 360 water-dwelling spirits (nagas in Sanskrit, klu in Tibetan) connected with ignorance. Earth spirits (sa-bdag in Tibetan) live in rocks and stones and are connected with ignorance, too. If the mind poisons dominate, any or all spirits harm and can only be pacified through religious practice and rites.” Dr. Trogawa Rinpoche, Causes of Mental Disorders.
2 Dr. L.B. Grotte tells us that Dr. Choedrak “completed his lifetime on April 6th, 2001.” Dr. Grotte’s words are so encouraging, “His clear vision and subtle ability was an inspiration to everyone who met him. Dr. Choedrak was born in Yakda, Tibet in 1923. His remarkable journeys took him into worlds of knowledge and experiences most of us will only read about. Time with such rare teachers is always too short. (…) Great tragedy swirled around him as Tibet disappeared, not least of which was the personal suffering he faced at the hands of the Chinese. For those who are interested, I suggest In Exile from the Land of Snows by John F. Avedon. The particulars of his imprisonment are harrowing, and his testimony to the U.S. Congress on May 8, 1996 can be found at the ‘Save Tibet’ website. It is a sobering reminder of the true inner nature of the modern Chinese State. Dr. Choedrak bore the scars of his imprisonment to his death, but his life, his words, and his actions all reflected his transcendence of bitterness and anger. Patience and kindness were always in evidence. Would that we all had the courage to be like him. At least, we might never forget his example.” Dr. L.B. Grotte, M.D., Dr. Tenzin Choedrak. In Memoriam, in the site: