Tibetan and Himalayan Library - THL

THL Title Text
Title: [Interrelations of Buddhism and classical Indian medicine]
Language of title: English
Title in other language: Wechselbeziehungen zwischen Buddhismus und klassischer indischer Medizin
Other language: German
Author/Creator: K. Butzenberger
M. Fedorova

Description: In ancient India, two branches of knowledge are concerned with human suffering, trying to theoretically explain as well as to practically overcome its reasons: (practical) philosophy and medicine. In spite of being concerned with the same problem, both rest on different premises: philosophy on highly abstract insights into the core of the phenomenal world, the atman, which is a priori free from suffering; and classical (- classical as opposed to modern, westernized -) medicine on concrete daily manifestations of suffering. Both kinds of occupation with human suffering implicitly follow a common method, the abstract, i.e. structural investigation and expression of which we call methodology. This methodology being explicitly stated in medical texts, we speak of medical methodology, regardless of the (most probably inanswerable) question in what branch of knowledge this methodology has been originally developed. The article is divided into two parts. In the first part, the Buddha's denial of a transcendent atman is investigated with regard to its implications concerning the problem of human suffering. Not being able to accept the solution proposed in the Upanisads, the Buddha conceives a new explanation and solution of the problem. For that purpose, he explicitly reiterates the medical methodology, thus attaining a fourfold progressive method which consists in: (1) experience of suffering, (2) diagnosis, (3) prognosis, (4) solution. In account of this method's isomorphy to the medical method, Buddhism was regarded as a medical discipline. The second part of the article is focussed on the third step of the methodology, the prognosis. According to medical texts, the physician has to decide in advance whether an illness is curable or not; in the latter case, he is advised to refrain from treating it. Although this position might be justified from a pragmatic point of view, it remains unsatisfying when considered with regard to a categorial system of ethics as it is expounded by Buddhism. But Buddhism does not only challenge this attitude, it enhances a solution which integrates prognosis and universal, categorial ethics. The final paragraph of the article shows how this solution influences later medical texts.

Publisher Place: Wiesbaden
Publisher: Steiner
Normalized publisher place: Wiesbaden
Publisher country: Germany
Published Date: 1989
Subject: Buddhist philosophy
History of Medicine
Ayurvedic medicine
Indian medicine
Religion and medicine
Classification: Buddhism and Science -- Medicine -- History of Medicine
Buddhism and Science -- Medicine -- Religion and Medicine
Buddhism and Science -- Medicine -- Indian Medicine
Cultural Coverage: Euro-American
Temporal coverage: 20th century CE
Language: German
Series 2 editor:
Source URL: http://www.steiner-verlag.de/Sudhoff/
Source: Sudhoffs Archiv
Source Type: Journal
Source Volume: 73
Source Number: 1
Source Page Numbers: 88-109
Start Date: 1966
Frequency of publication: Irregular
ISBN/ISSN: 0039-4564
Location and access number: 2529674

Means of availability: See the journal's webpage or check with library for information on archived issues of this journal.

Format: Print media (print or manuscript, including PDFs)
Resource Type: Article
Release Flag: OK for viewing
Date Of Record Creation: 2005-03-25 14:31:34
Date Last Modified: 2005-12-19 10:49:15
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