Lung (Tibetan Buddhism)

Lung (Tibetan: rlung) is a term for the five psychic winds or airs that are a manifestation of the Mahabhuta. The Lung are the lifeforce that animate the bodymind (Sanskrit: namarupa) of all sentient beings. The five lung are key to tantric Buddhist and Bön sadhana and Traditional Tibetan medicine. The term Lung is synonymous with the Vayu and Prana (Sanskrit) of Ayurvedic Medicine. The term lung is also a component of the term for a type of Prayer flag, named after the allegorical Wind Horse (Tibet: lung ta). Lung is also a type of tantric buddhist empowerment that involves the transference of spiritual power from master to augment or refine that of the disciple through the recitation of scripture or song. This oracular transmission received aurally defines Mantrayana and Ngagpa traditions and provides them with their nomenclature.

Dr Bradley (2000) provides a cursory description and analogy of rlung and mentions rlung's importance to the Three Vajras (body, voice and mind):

The general description of rLung is that it is a subtle flow of energy and out of the five elements (air, fire, water, earth and space) it is most closely connected with air. However it is not simply the air which we breathe or the wind in our stomachs, it goes much deeper than that. rLung is like a horse and the mind is the rider, if there is something wrong with the horse the rider will not be able to ride properly. Its description is that it is rough, light, cool, thin, hard, movable. The general function of rLung is to help growth, movement of the body, exhalation and inhalation and to aid the function of mind, speech and body. rLung helps to separate in our stomachs what we eat into nutrients and waste products. However its most important function is to carry the movements of mind, speech and body. The nature of rLung is both hot and cold.

Five Lung

The Five Lung of the Himalayan tradition within human beings:

Tsa Lung

Tsa Lung (Skt: nadi-vayu; Tib. rtsa rlung; where "rtsa" denotes an energetic channel) are special yogic exercises. The exercises are used in the Tibetan Bön tradition and the Nyingma and Drikung Kagyu schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Tsa lung Trul khor employs the tsa lung and they constitute the internal yantra or sacred architecture of this yoga's alternate nomenclature, Yantra Yoga. Tsa lung are also employed in Kye-rim.

The exercises are used:

That coincides with mind releasing dualistic misperceptions and abiding in non-dual awareness of rigpa (Tib. rig pa). Detailed instructions on the exercises describe 3 levels of rtsa rlung: external, internal and secret.

Each level contains 5 exercises corresponding to five elements.


Dr Arya (2006) defines "Tsa" in relation to shunyata, zero, bodymind and bindu:

Tsa, 'channel' means hollow tube where blood, wind and consciousness can pass freely, for example body cavities such as blood vessels, the mouth and hollow organs. Tsa is a symbol of space, and it gives space to the consciousness and other components of body/mind to manifest themselves under transcendental and dualistic forms and colors. It is like a house for the consciousness. The space is limitless and boundless therefore its symbolic sign is the zero. Everything manifests from this zero or space and also dissolves into it. For example, in mathematics, the zero keeps the first space for no. 1, which goes until 9 and returns back to the zero. It shows that all phenomena existence have the same space origin and ends at the same place. In fact, there is nothing which comes or goes to that state. Therefore Buddhism, as a symbolic language, calls Shunyata (voidness) what draws round zero. The space is a Thikle (round) in Tibetan, and Bindu in [S]anskrit. It is the cause of the particle as well as the unlimited space nature. It is the base for everything and the innate nature of emptiness. This is called space particles as well as symbol of the body channels.

See also

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