Five sciences (Sanskrit: Pañca-vidyā) originated from the Brahmin tradition in ancient India, and was later used by Tibetan Buddhism to refer to the five disciplines.
[Volume 38] of the “Yogācāra-bhūmi-śāstra” says that the Five sciences are “what all Bodhisattvas are looking for”, and are five categories of methods for studying Buddhism, which include
Great Five Sciences
Science of word, language (Sanskrit: śabda-vidyā; Tibetan: སྒྲ་རིག་པ་): language, linguistics, philology, exegesis, literature, etc., that is, language expression, writing, and writing ability.
Science of causes, dialectics, logic (Sanskrit: hetu-vidyā; Tibetan: ཚད་མ་རིག་པ་): Logic, argumentation, the Bodhisattva who has proven himself, can use it to refute the dissent of the heretics, To make those who do not believe in Buddhism believe, and to make those who already believe become firmer in their faith.
Science of medicine (Sanskrit: cikitsā-vidyā; Tibetan: གསོ་རིག་པ་): it is equivalent to modern medical science and medical technology. Medicine, pharmacy, and even mantras (Dharani), etc., can help strengthen human-body, heal other people’s physical illness, and save sentient beings.
Science of fine arts and crafts (Sanskrit: śilpa-karma-sthāna-vidyā; Tibetan: བཟོ་རིག་པ་): arts, sciences, crafts, agriculture, etc., which are skills required in daily life. (Agriculture, business, king of affairs, calligraphy, marking, counting, mathematics, seals, horoscopes, incantations, construction (sculpture), generation (raising six animals, etc.), spinning (textile, weaving, sewing), mediation and litigation , catering, music…
Science of the supreme spirit (Sanskrit: adhyātma-vidyā; Tibetan: ནང་རིག་པ་): that is the teachings of Shakyamuni including Buddhist teachings and philosophy;
The first four of these Five Sciences are common to all schools, and the last one (the “Science of the supreme spirit”), each school has its own classics, tenets, and different contents. For example, Buddhism takes the teachings of the Twelve Books of the Tripitaka as its knowledge, and Brahmanism takes the four Vedas as its knowledge.
Introduced into Tibet
Five Sciences were introduced into Tibet along with Buddhism, and it is commonly used in Tibetan Buddhist teaching, and has influenced and integrated the teachings of Bon religion, a local religion in Tibet. It gradually evolved into the “Ten Sections” formed from the concepts of “Great Five Sciences” and “Secondary Five Sciences”.
Scholars who are proficient in the Five Sciences in Tibet can enjoy the title of “Pandita” which means a scholar of great knowledge. It is often used as an honorary title in Tibetan Buddhism.
Secondary Five Sciences
The “Great Five Sciences” are same as above listed; the “Secondary Five Sciences” are listed below:
Science of Math (Tibetan: རྩིས་རིག ; Wylie: Rtsis rig) It is one of the Five Mings, including astronomical calendar, religious chronology, rhythmic astrology and five elements calculation.
Science of Rhetoric (སྙན་ངག་རིག་པ ; Wylie: Snyan ngag rig pa) It includes modification methods such as phonetic modification, meaning modification and argot modification.
Science of Ornate terms (མངོན་བརྗོད་རིག་པ ; Wylie: Mngon brjod rig pa) It is the knowledge that specifically discusses and explains these nouns, such as polysemy, polyphony, etc.
Science of Rhythmology (སྡེབ་སྦྱོར་རིག་པ ; Wylie: Sdeb sbyor rig pa) It is a branch of language
Science of Drama (ཟློས་གར་རིག་པ ; Wylie: Zlos gar rig pa) It is also a sub-discipline of phonology. It has been produced since the time of the first king of Tubo, Nyatri Tsanpo, and there are some histories that clearly record the existence of drama when the eighth king of Tubo, Drigum Tsanpo, was in power. From the art classification of drama, there are four categories: plot introduction, music, costume and performance. At the same time, from the perspective of performance, its fixed body movements and singing voices can be performed repeatedly with the plot according to strict procedures, so it is called “Duga” (the Tibetan word literally means “repeated dance”), that is, teasing drama. During the reign of Nyatri Tsenpo, all the Nuo operas of the Bon religion taught by Master Dranpa Namkha to his disciples were all included in the category of drama.