The Buddha's Art of Healing: Tibetan Paintings Rediscovered

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9780847820894: The Buddha's Art of Healing: Tibetan Paintings Rediscovered

The Buddha's Art of Healing provides a rich introduction to the world of Tibetan medicine, a cultural achievement considered by the Dalai Lama to be one of Tibet's most valuable contributions to the modern world. Illustrated with intricate and vivid scroll paintings based on The Atlas of Tibetan Medicine, a seventeenth-century masterpiece that is the foundation of Tibetan medical education, this volume explores pertinent global concerns and contributes profound insights to enhance rather than supplant Western medical science.

The paintings, commissioned around the turn of the century and now in the collection of the History Museum of Buryatia in Russia, are from the only surviving set of medical tangkas outside Tibet. Together they express the high point of an ancient and uniquely effective system of healing based on a combination of precision and intuition. The integration of physical, mental, and spiritual health inherent in this system and its emphasis on ethics and ecological balance are both relevant and timely.

Complementing the paintings are essays by renowned scholars that elucidate the conceptual and theoretical foundations of Tibetan medicine and describe the role of the paintings as mnemonic and meditational devices in the training of physicians. Each of the forty paintings is reproduced as a full-page plate and described in detail with commentary on its visual content and symbolism.

The paintings illustrated in The Buddha's Art of Healing will be seen for the first time in the West in an international exhibition that opens at the Michael C. Carlos Museum in Atlanta and travels to the Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C., and other venues.

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Review:

Tibetan medicine--its ancient knowledge, its pragmatic use of herbs--is gaining increasing attention in the West. This book presents the world's most important collection of Tibetan medical art, an illustrated 17th-century medical text known as The Atlas of Tibetan Medicine, created by the teacher and scholar Sangye Gyamtso, regent of the Great Fifth Dalai Lama. The paintings are currently held by the History Museum in Ulan Ude, near Lake Baikal in Siberia. It is an area of Russia where the Tibetan-Buddhist monasteries that were destroyed under Stalin are now being rebuilt, a reminder of the vast extent of Tibetan cultural influence.

The book is important both as art--the paintings are imaginative and of very high quality--and as the outline of an entire system of medical diagnosis and treatment. Introductory chapters describe the history and foundations of Tibetan medicine, the exciting story of the atlas's salvation from destruction in the 1930s, and the basic theories and concepts that underpin Tibetan medicine. Forty of the most important thankhas that make up the atlas are illustrated and explained in detailed commentaries. Readers discover a work that is more than a treatise on medicine, embodying a total concept of humankind as biological and social beings, combining physical and spiritual attributes in sophisticated ways that are the antithesis of the fragmentation and alienation of modern Western life. --John Stevenson

About the Author:

John F. Avedon, the author of In Exile from the Land of Snows, is currently writing a spiritual biography of the Dalai Lama.

Tamdin Sithar Bradley is from Lama's Tibetan Medical Institute and now practices Tibetan medicine in London.

Fernand Meyer, M.D., is an authority on Tibetan medicine and director of the research team at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris and holds a chair at the Sorbonne.

N.D. Bolsokoeva and K.M. Gerasimova are the foremost experts on The Atlas of Tibetan Medicine.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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