This panel proposes to bring together scholars and practitioners for a multidisciplinary exploration of ‘potent substances’—the herbal, fungal, mineral, metal, and animal-based materia medica at the heart of Asian medicines. We aim to discuss issues
The article reviews the book "Body and Spirit: Tibetan Medical Paintings," edited by Laila Williamson and Serinity Young.
This chapter centers on Tibetan Buddhist patterns and themes of healing and addresses the inter-relationship of medicine and religion in the practice of Tibetan medicine, also called Sowa Rigpa (gso ba rig pa), the “science of healing,” and how Buddhist rituals are employed to enhance the potency of medicines and to protect the pharmacy and the people working in it from accidents and obstacles during difficult manufacturing processes. Examples focus on the refinement of mercury in mercury sulphide ash for use in “precious pills” (rin chen ril bu). The chapter establishes an argument for a parallel between Buddhist ideas of “taming” demons into becoming protectors of the religious teachings and the pharmacological transformation of poisonous substances, especially the pharmacological practices of “taming” mercury into a potent elixir, and what this tells us about Tibetan medical approaches to what is considered “beneficial” and “harmful.”
This paper introduces Tibetan pill traditions and examines two exceptional pill formulas that emerged from an early Buddhist–medical interface in Tibet, but followed different trajectories due to the increased specialization of religious and medical knowledge. "Black pills" are the most revered consecrated healing compound of the Karmapas (the incarnate heads of the Karma Kagyü School of Tibetan Buddhism), while the "Cold Compound Black Pill"—a precious pill known as Rinchen Drangjor—is one of Tibetan medicine's most complex formulas still produced today. Based on both textual research and ethnographic fieldwork in India, I critically explore the principal factors that link these black pill traditions. I argue that parallels in the use of potent substances and their processing offer examples of how strongly entangled medical and religious approaches are with respect to healing practices that include blessings, protection, spiritual support, and medical treatment. My findings reveal that although there are distinct areas of medical and religious specialized practices in the black pill traditions, consecrated multi-compounds are added to both types of black pills to enhance potency and ensure the continuation of lineage affiliations to certain Buddhist schools. I also show how political and sectarian conflicts within certain Buddhist schools may affect some of these rare pill practices.
This paper introduces Tibetan pill traditions and examines two exceptional pill formulas that emerged from an early Buddhist-medical interface in Tibet, but followed different trajectories due to the increased specialization of religious and medical
http://ayuryog.org/event/conference-medicine-and-yoga-south-and-inner-asia-body-cultivation-therapeutic-intervention Vienna, August 1-3, 2017 Co-hosted by the Dept. of South Asian, Tibet and Buddhist Studies, University of Vienna and the Institute
This article emerges from a workshop titled “Producing Efficacious Medicine: Quality, Potency, Lineage, and Critically Endangered Knowledge,” held in Kathmandu, Nepal, in December 2011. An experiment in collaborative event ethnography (CEE), this
An introduction to the journal is presented in which the editor discusses articles within the issue on topics related to the processing of mercury in an ayurvedic medicine, listing of traditional medicines and medicinal use of processed mercury.
Editorial of the Special Issue: Mercury in Ayurveda and Tibetan Medicine 2013 vol. 8.1, Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers
Gerke, B. 2007.Engaging the subtle body: Re-approaching bla rituals in the Himalayas. In Soundings in Tibetan Medicine. Anthropological and Historical Perspectives. PIATS 2003: Tibetan Studies: Proceedings of the 10th Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Oxford 2003, edited by M. Schrempf. Leiden, Boston: Brill, 191-212.
Materials play a central role in all aspects of Tibetan societies – medicine, religion, trade, the arts, politics, etc. – and have therefore been an important focus of archaeological, historical and anthropological research. A renewed interest in