Inner air

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The term inner air or lung (Skt. prāṇa; Tib. རླུང་, Wyl. rlung), refers to the 'wind-energies' or 'psychic winds' that travel through the subtle channels or tsa of the body's psycho-physical system, as outlined in the Tibetan Buddhist tantras.

There are five root and five branch winds. The winds that flow through all the channels except the central one are said to be impure and activate negative, dualistic thought patterns; the winds in the central channel are called "wisdom winds".

The Five Root or Major Winds

Each of the root winds supports an element and is responsible for a function of the human body. They are:

  1. The 'life-supporting wind' (Tib. སྲོག་འཛིན་རླུང་, sok dzin lung; Wyl. srog 'dzin rlung). Located in the brain, this lung regulates functions such as swallowing, inhalation, and concentration.
  2. The 'upward-moving wind' (Tib. གྱེན་རྒྱུ་རླུང་, gyengyu lung; Wyl. gyen rgyu rlung). Located in the chest and thorax, this lung regulates, among other things, speech, the body's energy and vitality, memory, mental endeavour and diligence.
  3. The 'all-pervading wind' (Tib. ཁྱབ་བྱེད་རླུང་, khyap ché lung; Wyl. khyab byed rlung). Residing in the heart, this lung controls all the motor activities of the body.
  4. The 'fire-accompanying wind' (Tib. མེ་མཉམ་གནས་རླུང་, me nyam né lung; Wyl. me mnyam gnas rlung). Found in the stomach and abdomen area, the fire-accompanying wind regulates digestion and metabolism.
  5. The 'downward-clearing wind' (Tib. ཐུར་སེལ་རླུང་, thursel lung; Wyl. thur sel rlung). Located in the rectum, bowels and perineal region, this lung's function is to expel faeces, urine, semen, and menstrual blood. It also regulates uterine contractions during labour (to allow the foetus to be 'expelled')[1].

The Five Branch Winds

The five branch winds enable the senses to operate. They are:

  1. The naga wind (Tib.ཀླུའི་རླུང་, lu'i lung; Wyl. klu'i rlung). This lung is connected with the eyes and sight.
  2. The tortoise wind (Tib. རུ་སྦལ་གྱི་་རླུང་, rubal gyi lung; Wyl. ru sbal gyi rlung). This wind connects with the heart and the sense of hearing [check].
  3. The lizard wind (Tib.རྩངས་པའི་རླུང་, tsangpé lung; Wyl. rtsangs pa'i rlung) — associated with the nose and the sense of smell.
  4. The devadatta wind (Tib.ལྷས་བྱིན་གྱི་རླུང་, lhéjin gyi lung; Wyl. lhas byin gyi rlung) — related to the sense of taste [check].
  5. The 'king of wealth deities' wind (Tib. ནོར་ལྷ་རྒྱལ་གྱི་རླུང་, nor lha gyal gyi lung; Wyl. nor lha rgyal gyi rlung). This wind connects with the body and the sense of touch.

Lung 'Disorder'

The type of lung that is associated with what is colloquially called 'lung disease' or 'lung disorder' is the 'upward-moving lung' or gyengyu, one of the five types of root wind.

Tsoknyi Rinpoche teaches that this lung ideally resides four finger-widths below the navel, but travels upwards into the chest and brain when agitated.

Teachings on Lung 'Disorder'

Notes

  1. Dr Tamdin Sither Bradley at http://www.the-south-asian.com/Jan2001/Tibetan%20Medicine-How%20and%20why%20it%20works1.htm.