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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: 28 September 2021

Women and Gender

Women and Gender

(p.287) 6 Women and Gender
Being Human in a Buddhist World

Janet Gyatso

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines how the attention for Tibetan medicine to the empirical body might have affected the representation of women and gender. The Four Treatises notes that the male body should not be normative for general medicine. In some ways medicine displayed an open view on sexual identity and recognized a third sex, even valorizing its symbolic implications—in stark contrast with the exclusionary restrictions on the third sex in Buddhist monasticism. Some centuries later Zurkharwa Lodrö Gyelpo articulated a category that specifically names gender as distinct from genital anatomy. Yet the Four Treatises also contains strident misogynist passages that echo similar language in Buddhist scriptures, here marshaled in defense of patriliny and patriarchal privilege. In addition to sex and gender, this chapter explores social issues, rhetoric, and contestation in the formation of medical knowledge and how instrumental agendas have affected medical writing in Tibet. It also discusses the response of Tibetan medicine to other Asian medical traditions.

Keywords:   medicine, empirical body, women, gender, Four Treatises, sex, anatomy, patriliny, medical knowledge, Tibet

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