Asian Medicine: Journal of the International Association for the Study of Traditional Asian Medicine is a multidisciplinary journal aimed at researchers and practitioners of Asian medicine worldwide. It makes available in a single publication academic essays that explore the historical, anthropological, sociological, and philological dimensions of Asian medicine, as well as practice reports from clinicians based in and outside Asia. With the recent upsurge of interest in non-Western alternative approaches to health care,
Asian Medicine will be of relevance to those studying the modifications and adaptations of traditional medical systems on their journey to non-Asian settings. It will also be relevant to those who wish to learn more about the traditional background and practice of Asian medical modalities within their countries of origin. On account of its appeal to scholars from a range of academic backgrounds (such as history, philology, anthropology, sociology, archaeology) as well as to practitioners based in Asia and in medical institutions and alternative health care worldwide, this journal constitutes a unique resource for both scholarly and clinically focused institutions.
This translation is an excerpt from a meditation treatise by one of the most important figures in East Asian Buddhist history, the Chinese scholar-monk Zhiyi (538–597). Zhiyi was notable as a systematizer and domesticator of Buddhist knowledge, and particularly for his writings on śamatha and vipaśyanā meditation. The excerpt translated below is a complete chapter from the shorter of his meditation treatises. It focuses specifically on how various strands of Indian and Chinese medical and religious knowledge could be employed to diagnose and treat illness while the practitioner remained engaged in seated meditation. Incorporating both foreign and domestic knowledge into the framework of śamatha and vipaśyanā, this chapter represents one of the earliest examples of systematic Indo- Sinitic medical syncretism, and one of the most important expressions of a unique medieval Chinese Buddhist perspective on healing.
Numerous texts were produced roughly between 150 and 1100 CE that introduced Indian medicine to East Asia. These have historically represented a relatively discrete corpus of health-related knowledge, relatively unintegrated into Chinese medicine and often ignored in mainstream Chinese medical historiography. Buddhist texts do not provide straightforward evidence of a unitary tradition of healing that was transplanted from India to China. However, these sources are critical to understanding the history of medicine in medieval China. In addition, it is not an exaggeration to say that this corpus offers one of the most voluminous sources of textual evidence for the transregional communication and reception of medical ideas in first millennium CE Asia that is available anywhere. Despite the fact that over the long term they were not nearly as significant in Chinese medical history as classical medical models, Buddhist ideas and practices deserve more attention than they have received thus far from our field. This brief research note is meant to introduce historians of Chinese medicine to one easily accessible collection of texts that can be used to begin to fill in this ‘missing link.’
While modernization and globalization have been sweeping the Korean medical industry of late, a perhaps seemingly contradictory trend toward more personalized care has also been unfolding in certain circles. This is a brief case study of a traditional Korean medical doctor who integrates Western mindfulness protocols into traditional Korean psychology/psychiatry in order to provide that connection with his patients. This practice report shows that his adaptation of mindfulness represents a Korean counterappropriation of a Western clinical tool that was itself created by appropriating Buddhist techniques. It argues that the multivalent resonances with both science and Buddhist methods give mindfulness utility as a site for this doctor to hybridize different bodies of knowledge, to reinterpret traditional insights in modern idioms, and arrive at new therapeutic innovations for his patients.