Gold, Statue, Text: Mapping Movement in Tibetan History

A digital project with a collection of essays, art historical resources, textual databases, mapping, and architectural modeling, this website is a pilot project for an approach to visualizing the movement of people and things around culturally significant places. It is the product of a phase of research by a group of scholars, architects, and web …

Interpreting Visual Representations of Tibetan Ritual

Funded by a SSHRC Image, Text, Sound and Technology Grant (2009-2011), we  have worked on developing a cross-cultural collaborative model for the interpretation of visual media. With case-studies focused on video footage of a Gesar festival, a Western Tibetan wedding, and the making of “ritual cakes” (gtor ma), the project is examining how new technologies …

Buddhist Narratives of the Forces of Creation

In this essay I consider the mechanics of causation in Tibetan narratives of human gestation. Describing the most dramatic transformation we can experience, embryology is fundamentally about change. A venue for discussing what causes growth and how change occurs, it is about “becoming” as much as “being.” Buddhists throughout history have concerned themselves with describing …

Embodiment and Embryology in Tibetan Literature

In this article I focus on the presence of embryology in Tibetan literature as it occurs from the twelfth century through the sixteenth century. First I summarise the sources for embryological information that Tibetan writers had available to them in the eleventh to twelfth centuries. Where did they learn about how humans are conceived and …

Buddhism and the Historicizing of Medicine

The earliest commentaries on the Four Medical Tantras date to the time of the twelfth-century G.yu thog himself and are found in a collection of medical works known as the Eighteen Additional Practices (Cha lag bco brgyad). This anthology of short texts includes some of the earliest indigenous Tibetan medical works still extant, and it …

Ordering Human Growth in Embryology

Buddhists throughout history and across Asia considered knowledge of embryology to be an important aspect of both medical and religious thought and practice. Embryology has been historically, and is still today, a forum for Indian and Tibetan scholars and practitioners of different traditions to set forth their own philosophical views, and the widespread effects of …

Hybrid Methodologies in the Lhasa Mentsikhang

A number of studies have been published in the last decade documenting the practice of Tibetan medicine in Tibetan regions of the People’s Republic of China. Many of these articles have focused on the effects of “modernization” on the practice of medicine in the Mentsikhang in Lhasa. The present article announces the presence of new …

Religion, Medicine and the Human Embryo in Tibet

This book examines representations of the human body in pre-modern Tibetan literature. The work links aspects of Tibetan religion, medicine, art and literature through a study of embryology—descriptions of the development of the human body from conception to birth. Accounts of embryology are found in all forms of Tibetan religious literature, as well as in …

Critical Methods in Tibetan Medical Histories

This paper addresses the development of scholastic medical traditions in Tibet through examination of lists of physicians. I consider debates that such lists and their accompanying narratives engender for Tibetan historians and reflect on contributions they make to the identity of the medical tradition. By examining the structure and content of classificatory methods in medical …

The Three Channels in Tibetan Medical and Religious Texts

This article comments on a centuries-old controversy in Tibetan literature: how the complex descriptions of the human circulatory system found in Buddhist tantric contemplative texts can be reconciled with descriptions of the circulatory system in Tibetan medical texts. In an essay translated within this article, the eminent twentieth-century Tibetan scholar of religion and medicine, Tsultrim …