The article is written by one of the prominent contemporary Tibetan writers from kham, who uses the pen name Yumtso (meaning “turquoise colored lake). Yumtso is a common name among Tibetans and also the name of several famous lakes such as Mipam Yumtso and Yamdrok Yumtso. The writer mentions that because of the Tibetan lamas’s dharma teachings in Tibet, the number of smokers and drunks is gradually shrinking, but on the other hand, this medical herb drink called “huo-xiang-zheng-qi water” and contains alcohol, is becoming very popular in the market.
The Chang that doesn’t violate the Ten Virtues
At present many great masters preach about the importance of the ten virtues to many local Tibetan people. In Tibetan areas, the number of smokers and drunks is gradually getting fewer. Generally speaking, this is great. Needless to say, the harm of drinking and smoking is clear to everyone. However, a sad or astonishing thing is that there is something called “The Chang that doesn’t violate the ten virtues” in Tibetan areas. When you hear something like this, you must keep your eyes wide open to look and extend your ears to listen.
I asked my girlfriend, “Nowadays there are more people following the ten virtues, so the cigarette and liquor business is probably not doing that good.” She said, “Yes, nowadays there are more people following the ten virtues, so the cigarette and liquor business is not that good. But the medical herb drink called “huo-xiang-zheng-qi water (藿香正气水)” is very much in demand.”
I wondered what the connection between liquor and this drink might be, so I kept asking for details about this.
She said, “These days, one village after another is promising to keep to the ten virtues. Since re-incarnated lamas and the great masters are respected as jewels, people dare not drink Alcohol and thus go against the instruction of their lamas. However, for old drunks, it is hard to quit completely without taking even a sip of alcohol. No one knows who is the first person who got drunk from drinking ‘huo-xiang-zheng-qi water,’ but nowadays many drunks drink ‘huo-xiang-zheng-qi water.’ It’s like drinking one bottle of alcohol. The drunks are even saying among themselves , ‘Are you devoted to the ten virtues? If you are, then you should drink this.” Thus, let they drink “huo-xiang-zheng-qi water.”
I told this surprising fact to many friends, but they said there are many people drinking “huo-xiang-zheng-qi water” in our hometown. There is also a joke among the young men who say, “You can quit alcohol, but there is no need to quit medicine.” Thus, they offer “huo-xiang-zheng-qi water” to each other.
In my view, this is a serious problem. Why aren’t we all worried about this problem? How does a box of “huo-xiang-zheng-qi water” make a man drunk? What happens if people are drinking too much of this“huo-xiang-zheng-qi water”? These are some facts we really should be aware of. I did some research regarding this problem on Internet.
A doctor told me, “The ‘huo-xiang-zheng-qi water’ has a high alcohol content. The amount of alcohol in this drink is the same as with a bottle of liquor,” a doctor told me. The information on the box clearly states that some patients may get a rash on their skin, faint and that their heartbeat may be faster from drinking “huo-xiang-zheng-qi water”. One young man also told me that drinking too much “huo-xiang-zheng-qi water” can cause severe stomach bleeding.
These facts scared me. If a person drinks one box of “huo-xiang-zheng-qi water” everyday, one day he may get an incurable disease. This will not only bring illness to the person and loss of property, but also bring suffering to the happy family.
We must inform people of the consequences of drinking “huo-xiang-zheng-qi water” and help them to stop. Although it is a medicine, it will become poison taken too much. In short, we should advise young men to stop drinking “huo-xiang-zheng-qi water” if they drink it as liquor. To stop people from drinking “the Chang that doesn’t violate the ten virtues” is everyone’s responsibility.
Translated by Reb Sa