TME

Tibetan Medicine Education center

Five Wind branches
From "The Essentials of Gyud-shi", Dr Pasang Yonten Arya

Physiology of the humors and constituents, part V

The five minor wind branches (yanlag-gi-rlung-ln'a)

There are five minor winds which all manifest from the Life sustaining Wind (srog-‘dzin-rlung)[I] and rule the sense faculties and their related emotions. They are the vehicles of the sense consciousnesses, they help feel and perceive forms, colors, smells, and other sense objects, and transmit the message to the brain or ‘gross mind’. The minor Winds are also the primary cause of body/mind artistic qualities and body consciousness control. From there, the message is further transmitted to the ‘subtle mind’ in the heart and recorded in Kunshi.

The names of the five minor Winds described below are kept in Tibetan. Different names and also different origins may be found in other literature describing the same five minor Winds.[II]

1. Lu (klu)
Lu (klu) Wind is a minor Wind which resides and functions in the eyes. It bears the earth element quality and manifests from the Life sustaining Wind during the 6th month of fetus development. It develops the eye organs and resides in the eyes, and helps perceive objects. It also gives physical artistic style and skills in actions. Therefore, it is called the ‘artistic Wind‘.

2. Ruebal (rus sbal)
Ruebal (rus sbal) Wind resides and functions in the ears. It bears the space element quality and manifests from the Life sustaining Wind during the 7th month of gestation. It develops the ear organs and perceives sounds and hearing. It rules the physical hands, legs and head movements and it is also called the ‘emotional artistic Wind‘.

3. Tsangpa (rtsangpa)
Tsangpa (rtsangpa) Wind resides and functions in the nose. It bears the water element quality and manifests from the Life sustaining Wind during the 8th month of the pregnancy. It develops the nose organ, and produces the sense of smell, and it also creates anger, irritation, nervousness and emotions that emerge through contact. Therefore, this Wind is called the ‘nervous Wind‘.

4. Lhajin (lha sbyin)
Lhajin (lha sbyin) Wind resides and functions in the tongue. It is a fire element, which manifests from the Life sustaining Wind during the 9th month of pregnancy and it develops the tongue organ. It develops the gustatory function and makes one yawn when one is tired or sleepy. It is called the ‘sleeping Wind‘.

5. Norlagyal (norla rgyal)
Norlagyal (norla rgyal) Wind resides and functions in the whole body. It bears the Wind element quality and manifests from the Life sustaining Wind at the beginning of the 10th month of pregnancy. It develops the tactile body sense. It resides in the body skin and provides the function of experiencing tactile sensation. This Wind remains in the body even after death until the body’s complete destruction.

The functions of the five principal or root Winds and of the five minor Winds are vital for the body/mind. Besides these Winds there are 24,000 Winds, which sustain life and circulate in the same number of channels. The Wind humor governs the breathing of the body and its organs, food digestion, nutrition distribution, body development, and the aging process. In short, all life movements and body/mind works are under the function of the Wind humor according to Tibetan medicine and Yoga Tantra.


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[I] Sa skyaba Rgyal mtshan Dpal bzang’s “Rdo rje’i lus kyi sbas bshad” tells us that there are also different sources of these five branches and so that they don’t necessarily only branch from srog ‘dzin rlung the Life sustaining Wind.
[II] In a text from the Buddhist Yoga Tantra, called Rnal ’byor chenpo’i rgyud, these five minor Winds are called: 1. Ldang zhing rgyuba’i rlung (moving Wind), 2. Rnampar rgyuba’i rlung (thoroughly moving Wind) 3. Yangdagpar rgyuba’i rlung (perfectly moving Wind) 4. Ngespar rgyba’i rlung (definitely moving Wind) 5. Rabtu rgyuba’i rlung (strongly moving Wind).

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Physiology of the humors and constituents, part 5: The Bile humor >