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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 Ethics of Being Human

The Ethics of Being Human

The Doctor’s Formation in a Material Realm

(p.343) 7 The Ethics of Being Human
Being Human in a Buddhist World

Janet Gyatso

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines the early culture of the professional ethics of Tibetan medicine and its special values and ways of learning. The Four Treatises contains a chapter on Tibetan medical ethics which addresses the training and character of physicians. A commentary to the chapter provides an intricate description of key virtues based on clinical experience and defines a “way of humans” that is trained upon compassion for patients, but is comfortable telling young medical students how to get ahead at the expense of their colleagues. The commentary also speaks of the illustrious status of medicine in the royal period, offering a glimpse of the culture of prestige that fed the drive for medical excellence. This chapter considers how the human way of practicing medicine—associated with the teachings of the Buddha—shaped the defining features of what it calls medical mentality.

Keywords:   medical ethics, Tibet, medicine, professional ethics, Four Treatises, physicians, compassion, patients, human way, medical mentality

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