The Word of the Buddha
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2015
Source ID: shanti-sources-106691
Collection: Himalayan and Tibetan Medicine
Abstract: This chapter examines the debate about the authorship of the root text of Tibetan medicine, the Four Treatises, which had been attributed to the Buddha himself. Compiled in twelfth-century Tibet, the Four Treatises is interpreted as the “Word of the Buddha.” Some scholars have pointed to signs that cast doubt on the Four Treatises's more quotidian Tibetan origins. The chapter considers these scholars' arguments using a critical approach to mythological language, while preserving the virtues of enlightened authorship. It also discusses Zurkharwa Lodrö Gyelpo's account of the true origins of the Four Treatises and his domestication of those origins in Buddhist ethical terms. Finally, it analyzes Zurkharwa's approach to medical learning and his essay entitled Old Man's Testament, in which he looks back on his life, specifically his education and his colleagues, and his rhetorical style in representing it.