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Embryology And Embodiment In Tibetan Literature: Narrative Epistemology And The Rhetoric Of Identity

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the presence of embryology in Tibetan literature as it occurs from the twelfth century through the sixteenth century. It summarises the sources for embryological information that Tibetan writers had available to them in the eleventh to twelfth centuries. The chapter discusses the relationship between how one can read such embryological narratives, and what one can understand them to say. It prefaces this by noting that embryology, physiology and anatomy, as sub-branches of the discipline of biology with specific definitions and histories in Euro-American thought, have no direct terminological or conceptual correlate in Tibetan. The chapter suggests that embryology in medical and religious texts alike, particularly from around the fifteenth century onwards, is quite centrally a venue for discussing doctrines of Buddhist morality and religious belief, and for promoting specific attitudes about human identity and the possibilities of and mechanisms for change.

Keywords: embryological narratives; Euro-American thought; medical text; religious text; Tibetan literature

10.1163/ej.9789004155503.i-449.136
/content/books/10.1163/ej.9789004155503.i-449.136
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    Proceedings of the Tenth Seminar of the IATS, 2003. Volume 10: Soundings in Tibetan Medicine — Recommend this title to your library
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