Religion, Medicine and the Human Embryo in Tibet (Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism)

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en Limba Engleză Hardback – April 2008
This book explores the cultural history of embryology in Tibet, in culture, religion, art and literature, and what this reveals about its medicine and religion. Filling a significant gap in the literature this is the first in-depth exploration of Tibetan medical history in the English language. It reveals the prevalence of descriptions of the development of the human body ߝ from conception to birth ߝ found in all forms of Tibetan religious literature, as well as in medical texts and in art.
By analysing stories of embryology, Frances Garrett explores questions of cultural transmission and adaptation: How did Tibetan writers adapt ideas inherited from India and China for their own purposes? What original views did they develop on the body, on gender, on creation, and on life itself?
The transformations of embryological narratives over several centuries illuminate key turning points in Tibetan medical history, and its relationship with religious doctrine and practice. Embryology was a site for both religious and medical theorists to contemplate profound questions of being and becoming, where topics such as pharmacology and nosology were left to shape secular medicine. The author argues that, in terms of religion, stories of human development comment on embodiment, gender, socio-political hierarchy, religious ontology, and spiritual progress. Through the lens of embryology, this book examines how these concerns shift as Tibetan history moves through the formative 'renaissance' period of the twelfth through to the seventeenth centuries.
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ISBN-13: 9780415441155
ISBN-10: 0415441153
Pagini: 224
Ilustrații: 8 b/w images, 6 tables and 8 halftones
Dimensiuni: 165 x 19 x 242 mm
Greutate: 0.47 kg
Ediția: 1
Editura: Taylor & Francis
Seria Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism


Chapter 1. Becoming human in Tibetan literature Medicine, science and religion in European thought Models of comparison: science and religion, science and Buddhism Narratives of embryology Caveats and approaches Medical epistemology and the embryological narrative Narrative, identity and history Chapter 2. Traditions of knowledge on human development Indian medical sources for human development Early human development in Indian Nikaya and Mahayana Buddhism Practicing gestation in Indian Vajrayana Buddhism Chinese traditions of "nurturing the fetus" Cultural inheritance and adaptation Chapter 3. Interactions between medicine and religion in Tibet Eurasian cosmopolitanism versus Indian Buddhism: a historiographical conflict Linking medical history with Buddhism Striking the path: organizing the influx of Indian culture The heyday of medical scholasticism Locating human development in the narrative of Tibetan history Chapter 4. The fetal body, gender and the normal Functional physiologies: humoral and digestive systems The circulatory system Characterizing embodiment: gendered, defective and "normal" bodies Female physiology Encountering the narrative's central subject Chapter 5. Gestation and the religious path Conception and debates over the sequence of fetal development Fetal development in tantric sources The fetal experience of conception, gestation and birth Practicing the exoteric path Esoteric practices for closing the womb's door Purifying death, the intermediate state and rebirth The embryologic vision of reality Inconsistency, ignorance, or innovation? Chapter 6. Growth, change and continuity Karma and the Buddhist problem of causality Causality, the individual, and the cosmos The power of karma in the context of conception and development The shaky foundations of karma's role in becoming human The role of the elements in causing growth Attributing causality to winds Growth caused by the power of gnosis The forces of creation Epilogue: Historiography recapitulates embryology Transliteration of Tibetan proper nouns Chief Tibetan sources referred to in English Tibetan sources arranged alphabetically Secondary sources Notes

Notă biografică

Frances Garrett is Assistant Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Toronto. Her research addresses doctrinal, ritual and textual practice in Tibetan cultures.