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Being Human in a Buddhist World

With Janet Gyatso

Wednesday, May 13, 2015
7:00 PM–8:30 PM

Renowned Tibetologist Prof. Janet Gyatso celebrates the publication ofBeing Human in a Buddhist World: An Intellectual History ofMedicine in Early Modern Tibetwith a talk onthe heretofore unnoticed intersection of early modern sensibilities and religious values in traditional Tibetan medicine. She will also speak about important dimensions of Buddhism’s role in the development of Asianmedicine.

Through itsunique focus and sophisticated reading of source materials,Being Humanadds a crucial chapter in the larger historiography of science and religion. The book opens with the bold achievements in Tibetan medical illustration, commentary, and institution-building during the period of the Fifth Dalai Lama (17th century) and his regent, Desi Sangye Gyatso. It then looks back to the work of earlier thinkers, tracing the dialectic between scriptural authority and empirical authority on the nature of human anatomy. It follows key differences between medicine and Buddhism in attitudes toward gender and sex, and in the moral character of the physician.Being Humanultimately finds that Tibetan medical scholars absorbed ethical and epistemological categories from Buddhism yet shied away from ideals and absolutes, instead embracing the imperfectability of the human condition.

About the Speaker

Janet Gyatso is a specialist in Buddhist studies and Tibetan cultural history. Her other books areApparitions of the Self: The SecretAutobiographies of a Tibetan Visionary;In the Mirror of Memory: Reflectionson Mindfulness and Remembrance in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism; andWomen of Tibet.She has alsowritten on sex and gender in Buddhist monasticism, and on the current female ordination movement in Buddhism. She has served as president of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, and co-chair of the Buddhism Section of the American Academy of Religion. Gyatso taught at Amherst College before coming to Harvard as the Divinity School’s first Hershey Professor of Buddhist Studies in 2001. In July 2014 she became the Associate Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs at the Divinity School

Tickets: $18.00
Member Price: $16.20
Student Price (ID required): $10.00