There are various types of Astrology in the Tibetan Tradition. This Science is based on calculations which use the position of stars, planets, elements, animals, numbers and diagrams.
The Tibetan Astrology has many sources and have drawn from the teachings of neighboring countries (India, China, Persia and Greece) in synthesis with the tenets of Buddhism to create a uniquely Tibetan system. Among these in particular may be distinguished:
- the ancient Tibetan Bonpo tradition - the original culture and religion of Tibet taught by Tönpa Shenrab Miwoche in the ancient Zhang Zhung Kingdom;
- the Chinese Astrology (some believe that Parkha and other trigrams came from China);
- the Indian Astrology (primarily two sources, the Buddhist Yoga Tantra Kalachakra or Cycles of Time Tantra and the Hindu Tantra Sivasvarodaya or Arising from the Vowels).
How wonderful is the Lady of the Tibetan Astrology: she is wearing the necklace of the calculation of the trigrams (parkha) from China, and adorned with the earrings of the Star calculation from India, - beautiful woman of the calculation of Mewa and Elements from Zhang Zhung."
"The manual of the Astrology of the Elements: The Light of Snow Mountain", 1983 ('byung rtsis kyi lag len gangs ri'i 'od snang), Chögyal Namkhai Norbu
The synthesis that has been formed over the centuries has originated a system that is essentially composed of two main categories:
- The cycles of Animals and Elements known as Elemental Astrology or 'Byung rtsis (pron. Jung Tsi). Although influenced by early Bon and Chinese astrology, the elemental approach took a unique course of development within Tibet.
- The Astronomy or sKar-rtsis (pron. Kar Tsi). The Kar Tsi approach to astrology is based upon the calculation of the signs, constellations and planets and their interelationships.
Tibetan Astrology is used in different circumstances: to cast a birth horoscope; for marriage compatibility; for yearly predictions; in times of change, such as moving to a new house, starting a new project or travelling to far away places; for medical calculations; to make long-term weather forecasts; for funeral arrangements; for divinations; for advises on rituals and different methods etc.
Tibetan astrology has a close relationship with Tibetan Medicine and they are often taught together. If a person has health problems, astrology is used for diagnosing the disease and finding the right cure. Therefore all medical students have to study the basics of Astrology, but astrology students are free to choose whether they want to study medicine.
"The whole collection of astrological calculations and rites of Tibet is referred to in the astrological literature by the name Tsuglag. Of the numerous astrological treatises and ritual texts that can demonstrate this, it is sufficient to mention the famous White Vaidurya (Bai du rya dkar po) by Desid Sangye Gyatso (1653-1705)."
Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, "Drung, Deu and Bön", 1995