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Being Human in a Buddhist WorldAn Intellectual History of Medicine in Early Modern Tibet$
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Janet Gyatso

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231164962

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231164962.001.0001

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Anatomy of an Attitude

Anatomy of an Attitude

Medicine Comes of Age

Chapter:
(p.81) 2 Anatomy of an Attitude
Source:
Being Human in a Buddhist World
Author(s):

Janet Gyatso

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231164962.003.0002

This chapter examines the history of medicine in Tibet from the twelfth to seventeenth centuries and its heritage from South Asia, along with its patronage by the Fifth Dalai Lama and his regent, Desi Sangyé Gyatso. A leading light for medicine's growing empirical interests, the Desi was also the mastermind behind the image and power of the new Tibetan Buddhist state, and deeply invested in defending the ultimate authority of a Buddhist episteme. The chapter considers how the Desi was able to defy the normal ethics of deference, how he broached the question of innovation, and how he and the rest of the Dalai Lama's court worked to preserve and advance medical knowledge. It also looks at the Desi's rendition of the life of Zurkharwa Lodrö Gyelpo, sixteenth-century author of the Four Treatises commentary called Ancestors' Advice. Finally, it discusses how medicine and Buddhism are intertwined with the Desi's personal bonds with the Dalai Lama.

Keywords:   medicine, Tibet, South Asia, Fifth Dalai Lama, Desi Sangyé Gyatso, Buddhist state, innovation, medical knowledge, Zurkharwa Lodrö Gyelpo, Buddhism

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