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Spirit Causation And Illness In Tibetan Medicine

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Chapter Summary

Illnesses of one kind or another are explained through the action of spirits in many cultures. Tibetan ideas about spirit causation are only one of many Asian examples. The situation becomes more interesting when one considers which kinds of illness are explained in this way, which spirits are involved, and what the implications are of the modes of treatment used. These are the questions that are discussed in this chapter, both on the basis of literary texts, primarily the Rgyud bzhi, and ethnographic accounts, including some material from fieldwork among refugee Tibetans in Dalhousie in Northern India in 1996. In modern Dalhousie spirit attack, at least rtsa grib, is generally self-diagnosed, with confirmation sought from a spirit medium or lama, rather than diagnosed by the doctor, so that pulse and urine diagnosis are not necessarily involved.

Keywords: Dalhousie spirit attack; ethnographic accounts; Rgyud bzhi; rtsa grib; spirit causation; Tibetan medicine; Tibetans



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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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