The three excerpts translated below were selected from two of the earliest sources depicting the origins of medicine in Tibet. Despite their differences in terms of detail, style, and genre, each narrative emphasizes the Buddhist origins of either the Tibetan medical tradition itself, the tradition of canonical Buddhist medicine that was transmitted from India to Tibet, or even the entire field of healing knowledge. Read separately, each narrative promotes a distinct account of the origin and transmission of medical knowledge among mythical, legendary, and historical figures in India and Tibet. Read together, however, these three accounts depict attempts at the reconciliation of several competing narratives that were developing in the medical schools of twelfth- and thirteenth-century Tibet and that continue to affect the representation of the Tibetan medical tradition today.
Bod ljongs bod lugs gso rig slob grwa chen mo ed. 2014. Krung go’i bod lugs gso rig rtsa che’i dpe rnying kun btus: Pho brang po ta la’i gsung rab gter mdzod las btus [Zhongguo yiyao yingyin guji zhenben 中国藏医药影印古籍珍本; China’s traditional Tibetan medical texts: A treasury of scriptures from the Potala Palace]. 30 vols.Lha sa: Bod ljongs mi dmangs dpe skrun khang.
TopdenTshering ed. 1976. G.yu thog cha lag bco brgyad: A Corpus of Tibetan Medical Teachings Attributed to G.yu-thog the Physician Reproduced from a Set of Prints from the 17th Century Lhasa Źol Blocks. 2 vols.Delhi: Jayyed Press.
GyatsoJanet. 2017. “Did the Buddha Really Author the Classic Tibetan Medical Text? A Critical Examination from The Lamp to Dispel Darkness.” In Buddhism and Medicine: An Anthology of Premodern Sources edited by C. PierceSalguero602–608. New York: Columbia University Press.
KarmaySamten G.(1990) 1998. “The Four Tibetan Medical Treatises and Their Critics.” In The Arrow and the Spindle228–237. Kathmandu: Mandala. Reprint of “Vairocana and the Rgyud-bzhi” Tibetan Medicine 13 (1990): 19–31.
MartinDan. 2007. “An Early Tibetan History of Indian Medicine.” In Soundings in Tibetan Medicine: Anthropological and Historical Perspectives; Proceedings of the 10th Seminar of the International Association of Tibetan Studies edited by MonaSchrempf307–325. Leiden: Brill.
MartinDan. 2011. “Greek and Islamic Medicines’ Historical Contact with Tibet.” In Islam and Tibet: Interactions along the Musk Routes edited by AnnaAkasoyCharles S. F.Burnett and RonitYoeli-Tlalim117–144. Burlington, VT: Ashgate.
McGrathWilliam A.Forthcoming. “Prasenā Divination and Channel Diagnosis in the Tibetan Medical Tradition: Revelation, Empiricism, and the Classification of Disease.” In Knowledge and Context in the Tibetan Medical Tradition edited by William A.McGrath. Leiden: Brill.
SalgueroC. Pierce. 2017. “Understanding the Doṣa: A Summary of the Art of Medicine from the Sūtra of Golden Light.” In Buddhism and Medicine: An Anthology of Premodern Sources edited by C. PierceSalguero30–40. New York: Columbia University Press.
SchaefferKurtis R. and Leonard W. J.van der Kuijp. 2009. An Early Tibetan Survey of Tibetan Buddhist Literature: The Bstan pa rgyas pa rgyan gyi nyi ’od of Bcom ldan ral gri. Harvard Oriental Seriesvol. 64. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Oriental Series.
YangGa. 2014. “The Origin of the Four Tantras and an Account of Its Author, Yuthog Yonten Gonpo.” In Bodies in Balance: The Art of Tibetan Medicine edited by TheresiaHofer154–177. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
ZyskKenneth G.1999. “Mythology and the Brāhmaṇization of Indian Medicine: Transforming Heterodoxy into Orthodoxy.” In Categorisation and Interpretation: Indological and Comparative Studies from an International Indological Meeting at the Department of Comparative Philology Göteborg University edited by FolkeJosephson125–145. Göteborg: Novum Grafiska AB.