Martin Saxer is one of a number of researchers (others include Sienna Craig, Barbara Gerke, Theresia Hofer, and Stephan Kloos) who in recent years have made Sowa Rigpa or “Tibetan Medicine” a particularly interesting area of study. Sowa Rigpa shares many general features with traditional East Asian medicine, the various Indian and Southeast Asian medical traditions, and Greco-Arabic medicine, but it is unusual in that major processes of modernization took place much more recently and rapidly than elsewhere and are still far from complete. Today one can still find small-scale hereditary-lineage doctors practicing Sowa Rigpa in remote Himalayan valleys and making their own herbal medicine as part of a small-scale, essentially premodern moral economy. In Chinese Tibet, as elsewhere, though, the dominant form of Sowa Rigpa is taught in medical colleges, and treatment is based on standardized, factory-made pills (rilbu...
Manufacturing Tibetan Medicine: The Creation of an Industry and the Moral Economy of Tibetanness
Geoffrey Samuel is an Honorary Associate at the University of Sydney, Australia, where he directs the Body, Health and Religion (BAHAR) Research Group, and Emeritus Professor at Cardiff University, Wales, UK. His academic career has been in social anthropology and religious studies, and his books include Mind, Body and Culture (1990), Civilized Shamans: Buddhism in Tibetan Societies (1993), Tantric Revisionings (2005), The Origins of Yoga and Tantra (2008) and Introducing Tibetan Buddhism (2012). His current research interests include Tibetan yogic health practices, Tibetan medicine, and the dialogue between Buddhism and science.
Geoffrey Samuel; Manufacturing Tibetan Medicine: The Creation of an Industry and the Moral Economy of Tibetanness. East Asian Science, Technology and Society 1 March 2016; 10 (1): 101–104. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/18752160-2889959
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