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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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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

The Word of the Buddha

The Word of the Buddha

(p.143) 3 The Word of the Buddha
Being Human in a Buddhist World

Janet Gyatso

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines the debate about the authorship of the root text of Tibetan medicine, the Four Treatises, which had been attributed to the Buddha himself. Compiled in twelfth-century Tibet, the Four Treatises is interpreted as the “Word of the Buddha.” Some scholars have pointed to signs that cast doubt on the Four Treatises's more quotidian Tibetan origins. The chapter considers these scholars' arguments using a critical approach to mythological language, while preserving the virtues of enlightened authorship. It also discusses Zurkharwa Lodrö Gyelpo's account of the true origins of the Four Treatises and his domestication of those origins in Buddhist ethical terms. Finally, it analyzes Zurkharwa's approach to medical learning and his essay entitled Old Man's Testament, in which he looks back on his life, specifically his education and his colleagues, and his rhetorical style in representing it.

Keywords:   authorship, Tibet, medicine, Four Treatises, Buddha, Word of the Buddha, Zurkharwa Lodrö Gyelpo, medical learning, Old Man's Testament

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