By Frances Garrett
This booklet explores the cultural heritage of embryology in Tibet, in tradition, faith, artwork and literature, and what this unearths approximately its medication and faith. Filling an important hole within the literature this is often the 1st in-depth exploration of Tibetan clinical historical past within the English language. It unearths the superiority of descriptions of the improvement of the human physique – from notion to delivery – present in all sorts of Tibetan spiritual literature, in addition to in scientific texts and in artwork.
By analysing tales of embryology, Frances Garrett explores questions of cultural transmission and model: How did Tibetan writers adapt principles inherited from India and China for his or her personal reasons? What unique perspectives did they improve at the physique, on gender, on construction, and on existence itself?
The ameliorations of embryological narratives over a number of centuries remove darkness from key turning issues in Tibetan scientific heritage, and its dating with spiritual doctrine and perform. Embryology was once a domain for either spiritual and scientific theorists to consider profound questions of being and changing into, the place themes equivalent to pharmacology and nosology have been left to form secular drugs. the writer argues that, by way of faith, tales of human improvement touch upon embodiment, gender, socio-political hierarchy, non secular ontology, and religious development. throughout the lens of embryology, this booklet examines how those matters shift as Tibetan heritage strikes throughout the formative 'renaissance' interval of the 12th via to the 17th centuries.
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Additional resources for Religion, Medicine and the Human Embryo in Tibet (Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism)
In other texts, it is made explicit that gestation is a metaphor for spiritual development, and embryology is thus used to narrativize the experience of spiritual development for the contemplative. There are two interpretive issues that intertwine throughout this book: one, that of how I am understanding traditions of Tibetan embryology, and two, that of how early Tibetans understood Indian embryology and developed their own traditions of writing on the topic. On each of these fronts, I am interested in both mimesis, the understanding of how an intellectual model or account of an event is meant to correspond to reality, and hermeneutic, the interpretation of details and their integration into a coherent story.
There is, likewise, no such thing as a dedicated “Tibetan embryologist,” although I may use this designation to refer to Tibetan authors who write about the formation of the body in the womb. Indeed, in Tibetan literature there is properly no single, unambiguous term for “embryo”: that which we call in English both the “embryo” and the “fetus” is, in Tibetan literature, variously referred to as the “body (lus) forming in the womb,” as “that which resides in the womb” (mngal gnas), as the “womb” itself (conflating the term for womb, mngal, with the embryo), or simply as the “child” (phru gu).
Accounts of fetal development certainly have a well-marked beginning, middle and end: they invariably begin with a description of conception, always present some information about the process of development throughout gestation, and commonly end with the occurrence of birth. The more narrativized embryologies may even possess peripeteia, a sudden or unexpected reversal of circumstances or situation, a common feature in literary works. Many embryologies have an identifiable narrative voice, commonly that of a religious teacher (rarely, as we will see, that of a medical clinician); more rarely, the embryo itself may narrate its experience of conception, gestation or birth.
Religion, Medicine and the Human Embryo in Tibet (Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism) by Frances Garrett