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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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The Evidence of the Body

The Evidence of the Body

Medical Channels, Tantric Knowing

Chapter:
(p.193) 4 The Evidence of the Body
Source:
Being Human in a Buddhist World
Author(s):

Janet Gyatso

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231164962.003.0004

This chapter examines how discrepancies between ordinary sense perception, authoritative text, and idealized maps for meditation were adjudicated for medical anatomy. The discussion begins by focusing on Darmo Menrampa Lozang Chödrak, a physician from the Fifth Dalai Lama's court in Tibet, and his public dissection of some human corpses in order to count their bones. The chapter then considers why the channels of the body described by tantric yogic manuals are not seen in the human corpse, and the efforts of medical theorists to solve the problem by identifying parts of the empirical body with the tantric anatomy. It also looks at Zurkharwa Lodrö Gyelpo's account of the body's channels—described by the Four Treatises in the fourth chapter of its second book, the Explanatory Treatise—that well served the needs of medical science in a traditionally Buddhist world.

Keywords:   sense perception, meditation, anatomy, Darmo Menrampa Lozang Chödrak, Tibet, human corpse, empirical body, Zurkharwa Lodrö Gyelpo, Four Treatises, channels

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