Building the Medicine Factory
For the past few weeks, many doctors and farmers were busy at work to find the herbs and resources to make the pills. Since my secondary skill is building, I decided to stay behind and spend most of my time gathering machinery and help with the building of the factory. During the construction of the building, there were many obstacles that we as team had to overcome. For instance, due to our limited resources, we did not have enough machinery, but we will continue to gather more later on when we have more resources. For now I will concentrate on what we have and use the materials available to help build the factory.
Based on my own research the pills we are making include ingredients that are native plants within Tibet. For example some native plants include: the snow lotus flower which grows in the high altitudes of the mountains. It is used as an antipyretic and detox medicine in the healing of the kidney and stops aches and swellings. The safflower is used to help blood circulation and stomach pains. I remembered my teacher telling me that when the Buddha left his sheltered life, his teachings were passed down to his followers as remedies to help sentient beings, and not for personal profits. For instance, the medicine Buddha’s image symbolizes longevity and healing. Turning minerals and plants into medicinal compounds, many doctors would use the ancient wisdom of Tibet Medicine Buddha and the encyclopedia of human body by following the Buddhist spiritual teachings of the three methods of diagnosis through observations, touch by taking the pulse of the patient, and questioning the patient’s medical history and symptoms.
The basic text of Tibetan medicine that is used by doctors like myself is called, The four Tantras. The beginning of the text contains a drawing of the medicine tree which has two main branches. The one on the left represents health, and the right represents disease. There are three basic humours which are wind, bile and phlegm. These humours exist because of the three mental poisons of hatred, attachment and ignorance which causes imbalance within the human mind and body. The construction of the medicine factory will be a place that people can come to when they experience these types of imbalances and the pills will be given to those who are suffering from different types of illnesses.
The making of different medicines is not an easy process. For instance, it requires the cooperation and hard work from everyone within our community from collecting, cleaning and drying, sorting and compounding all the natural ingredients together. For instance the mortar and pestle made from wood is used for grinding medicines. Also, the rilbus medicine must be blessed with mantra of the medicine Buddha to be effective. As well, a drying bag made out of fabric is used to dehydrates the pills and make them solid, swinging the bags back and forth in the sunlight helps to combine wind energy make medicine more active when swallowed. For each pill the necessary ingredients must be prepared and mixed together in their plant form and are combined into a large metal pot and ground into powder. Most of the ingredients used are natural herbs and some are mixed with mineral and animal substance. One of the most used pills is the Agar 35, because it is used to decrease anxiety, stress and fatigue. The pill helps to relieve symptoms of insomnia, nervousness, lower back pain, dizziness, and difficulty in breathing. It promotes healthy kidney, liver and increases blood circulation throughout the body. It is used in meditation to enhance concentration by relaxing the mind. The pills can be taken once or twice a day with hot water in the morning or night.
During the construction of the building I found a rare amulet box, (Tibetan: ga’u). The box is made from metal and one of the ritualists informed me that it is used for protection when traveling. The box has a small window in the front with a religious image inside and decorated with the eight auspicious symbols. I will use this special amulet box to store some medicines and give it to the people who are going on the expedition, because inside I have store some precious medicines like the Agar 35, just in case some may get sick during the long journey.
Some of the farmers traded their food supply to people who went on the expedition in exchange for some herbs, mushrooms, and precious stones to use for making medicine. However, Julian King informed us that one of the herbs that were bought back from the expedition was a poisonous mushroom. While doing preliminary tests to make the pills some doctors and myself realized that it was a poisonous plant and separated the pills to prevent any unnecessary harm from happening.
Furthermore, part of the building collapsed during the construction because we did not have enough builders to help with the construction. Luckily no one was severely hurt during the time of collapsed. However, we later came to the conclusion that there were lingering spirits within the old building and so weird things started to happen. For instance, some of the resources were missing out of nowhere, and some people got hurt while trying to help build the factory. One of the villagers told us that apparently the building has been haunted by a hungry ghost known as the, “preta” a mother and child has died in the building due to complications of premature birth. In order to have peace within the factory we had to go find ritualists to come and release the evil spirit from suffering and guide it to a better rebirth.
According to my knowledge the preta lingers in between different realms and are lost souls. The used of the phurba, a ritual dagger is used by a tantric practitioner to release the spirit from suffering. Other times spirit traps are used to capture the ghosts with yarns and is burned once the spirit enters the trap. Although I am not very fond of evil spirits, as a Buddhist practitioner, I encouraged all the doctors and builders to pray for the spirits to be free from suffering and relive a better rebirth in their next lifetime.
After weeks of planning and building, the factory has finally been completed! It is a wonderful feeling to know that our group members have been very proactive in dividing the various tasks among different people. Despite some minor adversity we were able to open the factory and this project enabled us to work as a team and overcome the challenges helped us become stronger individuals and learned more about the spirit world.