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Healing Texts, Healing Practices, Healing Bodies: A Workshop on Medicine and Buddhism

DATE: Friday-Saturday, April 6-7, 2012

PLACE: 370 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley

SPONSORS: Shinnyo-en Foundation and Khyentse Foundation

ORGANIZERS: Center for Japanese Studies and Center for Buddhist Studies




DESCRIPTION

Description

The prevention, alleviation and cure of physical and mental ills have been central concerns of Buddhist traditions across Asia, as well as a major drive in the creation and promotion of healing rituals and therapies. At the same time, monks have played a key role in the spread and circulation of medical knowledge beyond national borders, and Buddhist institutions have provided fertile ground for the development and consolidation of medical treatises and curative techniques.

The workshop Healing Texts, Healing Practices, Healing Bodies aims to be a platform for scholars working in different fields of Buddhist studies to explore the intersections of Buddhism and medical knowledge in comparative perspective. The papers will analyze different therapeutic strategies emerging from textual sources and ritual practices; discuss how discourses on physical and mental illness have been constructed, represented and embodied; and examine how conceptions of pollution and filth have informed notions of disease as well as their treatment.

SCHEDULE

Schedule
Friday, April 6, 2012

2:30: Welcome by CBS and CJS Chair

2:45–5:00 — Section 1: Buddhism and Medicine in Dialogue

2:45–3:15: Janet Gyatso (Harvard)
Values and Ways of Knowing: Conflicts (and Confluences) Between Buddhism and Medicine in Tibet

3:15–3:45: Andrew Goble (Oregon)
Faith in Medicine: The Emergence of a New Medicinal Culture in Medieval Japan

3:45–4:15: Laura Allen (Independent Researcher)
Pox-gods, Sacred Buckets, and Big Red Babies: Late Edo Prints for Disease Prevention

4:15–4:45: Discussion chaired by Robert Sharf (Berkeley)

5:00–5:30: Refreshments


Saturday, April 7, 2012

10:00–12:15 — Section 2: Monks, Healers and their Texts

10:00–10:30: Amy Langenberg (Auburn)
Female Herbalists, Midwives, and their Clientele in Early Buddhist India: A View from the Vinaya Tradition

10:30–11:00: C. Pierce Salguero (Penn State)
Buddhist Medicine in Crosscultural Translation: Disease and Healing in the Chinese Tripitaka

11:00–11:30: Paul Copp (Chicago)
Buddhist Healers and their Handbooks: Scribal and Ritual Practice in Manuscript Culture

11:30–12:00: Discussion chaired by Jake Dalton (Berkeley)

12:00–1:30: Lunch Break

1:30–2:30 — Keynote Lecture

Shigehisa Kuriyama (Harvard)
The Buddhism of Western Medicine

2:30–2:45: Coffee Break

2:45–4:15 — Section 3: Illness, Pollution and Madness

2:45–3:15: Edward Drott (Missouri)
The Meanings and Uses of Pollution in Late Heian Legends and Didactic Tales

3:15–3:45: Benedetta Lomi (Berkeley)
Healing Through the Six Syllables: Body and Medicine in the Rokujikyō-hō

3:45–4:15: James Robson (Harvard)
Monks, Monasteries and Madness: The Relationship between Buddhist Monasteries and Mental Institutions in East Asia

4:15–4:45: Discussion, chaired by Regan Murphy (Berkeley)

4:45–5:15: Plenary Discussion and Concluding Remarks chaired by Benedetta Lomi

5:15: Reception

Please contact the Center for Japanese Studies (cjs@berkeley.edu, 510‑642‑3156) or Benedetta Lomi (b.lomi@berkeley.edu) for more information.

KEYNOTE LECTURE

Keynote Lecture
The Buddhism of Western Medicine

Professor Shigehisa Kuriyama, Reischauer Institute Professor of Cultural History, Harvard University

Synopsis: This talk will present a new vision of the arc of Western medical history, and explore a mystery: as European ideas of the body and self become more modern, they look more startlingly and profoundly Buddhist.

Please contact the Center for Japanese Studies (cjs-events@berkeley.edu, 510-642-3156) or Benedetta Lomi (b.lomi@berkeley.edu) for more information.

ABSTRACTS

Abstracts

Janet Gyatso
Values and Ways of Knowing: Conflicts (and Confluences) Between Buddhism and Medicine in Tibet

This paper will explore the ways in which medicine has sometimes found itself at odds with knowledge of the human body as preserved in Buddhist tradition. In examining the nature of this tension as it became evident in Tibetan history, the paper will also raise questions about the ways that we are defining both Buddhism and medicine even as we seek to understand their relationship. It will ask whether a useful distinction can be drawn between ritual medicine and physical medicine, how medicine is positioned vis-a-vis the soteriological aspirations of Buddhism, and how these conjunctions and/or disjunctions have differed across the Buddhist world.


Andrew Goble
Faith in Medicine: The Emergence of a New Medicinal Culture in Medieval Japan

A significant transformation, or development, in the medicinal culture of Japan occurred between the late 1200s and the late 1500s, and was the foundation for secular medical culture of the succeeding Tokugawa (Edo, 1600-1868) era.

To chart this development I will look at three main topics. First, the expansion of the pharmaceutical ecology. Second, the expansion in numbers and presence of physicians and pharmacists. Third, to illustrate the new medicinal culture, I will draw on the record of a physician who served the Honganji Pure Land community in Ōsaka and Kyoto 1586-1598. I will end with some concluding comments, and touch on the issue of Buddhist medicine.

With respect to the expansion of the pharmaceutical ecology, I elucidate two contributing factors: first, sustained trade contact with (in particular) south China, which made the materia medica and formulas of the Pharmaceutical Silk Road available in Japans; second, sustained periods of civil war which created a strong demand for medicines and catalyzed a sustained search for and testing of effective medicines and materia medica. With respect to testing, I discuss the example of the Buddhist priest Kajiwara Shōzen, who wrestled with the karmic illness of rai 癩, and determined that Buddhist nosology was inadequate.

With respect to the increased numbers and presence of physicians and pharmacists, I again identify two significant factors: first, once again the phenomenon of warfare, which created a demand for physicians, prompted the emergence of competing lineages of specialists, dramatically expanded the possibilities for institutional housing of specialists, and which from around 1500 encouraged the emergence of secular healers to complement the Buddhist physicians who had been pre-eminent from the early 1200s; second, urbanization from the late 1500s promoted occupational specialization, provided a concentrated patient base of commoners.

With respect to Honganji, I look at the engagement with medicines of a Buddhist faith community. We discover that medicines and pharmacists have a ubiquitous and central role in daily lives; knowledge of medicines is extensive; there is expectation of proximate and timely access to medical services; and that patients maintained long-term interests (and sometimes records) of individual and family health (or, illness). I provide some examples of faith in non-medicines (charms, prayer), but make the general point that the population seems to have great faith in medicines as a first and long-term resort.

I conclude with some general comments about the paper, but also on some issues relating to notions or realms of "Buddhist medicine" that may be of wider interest.


Laura Allen
Pox-gods, Sacred Buckets, and Big Red Babies: Late Edo Prints for Disease Prevention

This paper explores the representation of medical themes in nineteenth century woodblock prints from Japan. Collectively the prints shed light on the role of image-making and consumption within the ritual practices related to epidemic disease. Many portray the intervention of religious entities — Shintō priests and spirits including deified folk heroes — in the battle against illness. Others offer dietary and lifestyle advice for disease victims, accompanied by imaginative illustrations showing how noxious spirits might be subdued by correct practices. Finally, the famous red prints (aka-e) made during smallpox outbreaks were used as talismans to ward off sickness or hasten a patient's recovery.


Amy Langenberg
Female Herbalists, Midwives, and their Clientele in Early Buddhist India: A View from the Vinaya Tradition

In 1937, Paul Demiéville argued that Buddhist monastic discipline "presents formal interdictions to practicing medicine" outside of the monastic context, and that "this interdiction seems to apply to nuns more than to monks." Kenneth Zysk, on the other hand, has argued for a close connection between Buddhist monasticism and the practice and development of the medical arts in ancient India in general. This paper examines monastic rules and casuistry, primarily from the Ārya Mahāsāṅghika-Lokottaravādin, Mūlasarvāstivāda, and Pāli traditions, with the aim of better understanding the subtleties of Vinaya attitudes towards the practice of medical arts by monks and nuns. It attempts to differentiate between practices that are deemed acceptable and not acceptable, and to discern the source and degree of offense in each case. In particular, it looks at the dynamic of gender in what have been taken to be monastic "interdictions" to "practicing medicine."


Paul Copp
Buddhist Healers and their Handbooks: Scribal and Ritual Practice in Manuscript Culture

Among the cultic techniques described in manuscript manuals of Chinese Buddhist ritualists found at Dunhuang are those for the healing of bodies and minds using ingestible medicines, seals, talismanic glyphs, and spells. This paper, in addition to surveying these techniques, will discuss the manuscripts themselves in terms both of their wider cultic contexts and the pictures of textual and ritual transmission their study reveals. The paper argues that, at least in the cases provided by these materials, "manuscript culture" and "ritual culture" were intimately interconnected, and scriptures grew within local traditions of ritual practice, not the other way around.


Pierce Salguero
Buddhist Medicine in Crosscultural Translation: Disease, Healers, and the Body in Chinese Buddhist Scriptures

This paper presents a model for approaching the medical knowledge in medieval Chinese Buddhist scriptures. I reveal five conceptual metaphors at the core of Buddhist medical thought, and examine the prevailing norms that guided their translation. I argue that paying attention to translation strategies allows us to integrate an analysis of the influence of imported cultural elements with an appreciation for the local performative factors influencing their reception. This in turn allows us to understand not only what Chinese Buddhist texts say about disease, healers, and the body, but also why these topics were so prominent in Chinese Buddhist discourses.


Edward Drott
The Meanings and Uses of Pollution in Late Heian Legends and Didactic Tales

This paper explores some of the complex and contradictory ways in which pollution (kegare) and filth (fujō) were treated in collections of Buddhist tales and legends of the late Heian period (ca. 1000-1185). Specifically I will address how concepts of purity and pollution fulfilled varied rhetorical and didactic purposes, thus producing multiple, at times conflicting, messages about the human body. Particular attention will be given to the ways in which pollution and filth functioned in narratives describing the consumption of meat, in representations of illness and death, and in portrayals of the aged body.


Benedetta Lomi
Healing Through the Six Syllables: Body and Medicine in the Rokujikyō-hō

This paper proposes an analysis of the rokujikyōhō 六字経法 (Six Syllable Sūtra ritual), a complex healing liturgy that enjoyed great popularity between the 11th and 14th centuries. Performed by an assembly of Buddhist monks and Onmyōji, the ritual uses different techniques to remove defilements and illnesses, such as talismans, hitokata, incantations as well as medicinal remedies. In this paper, I will argue that the ritual is paradigmatic not only of the healing strategies employed by Buddhist ritualists, but also of the synergy between different specialists. Finally, the paper will assess how the relation between the individual and the cosmos, play a central role in the unfolding of the healing process that make up this intriguing practice.


James Robson
Monks, Monasteries and Madness: The Relationship between Buddhist Monasteries and Mental Institutions in East Asia

There has been increasing attention paid to the relationship between Buddhism and medicine, but despite the advances in a number of subfields, there remains a paucity of studies on Buddhism and madness. What was the early Buddhist doctrinal discourse on madness? How has the category of madness evolved within the Buddhist tradition? While there are many records for monks who specialized in therapeutic practices aimed at dealing with those beset by demonic afflictions, possession, or madness, there was also a well-developed a tradition of highly cultivated "feigned madness" that marked the monk or artist with the distinction of not being bound by normative social behavior. This talk discusses the history of some of the specific ways Buddhism addressed madness, but will focus primarily on the intriguing history of one particular site in the northern part of Kyoto and the relationship between two Buddhist temples and their associations with the treatment of madness. This talk will introduce other sites with similar histories and then show how those relationships developed into the modern period with the establishment of mental hospitals which grew up around the temples and are still active today.

DIRECTIONS

Directions

All sessions of the Healing Texts, Healing Practices, Healing Bodies Workshop will be held at 370 Dwinelle Hall. Find Dwinelle Hall in section D4 of this large campus map.

Dwinelle Hall is notorious for being hard to navigate. In order to find the room we suggest that you follow the directions below.

  1. Enter through the main entrance off the big plaza on the east side of Dwinelle Hall. This will be Level D.
  2. Once you are inside the building, turn right and walk down the main hall. There will be an elevator. Take it to Level F/G. Alternately, you can take the stairwell directly opposite to the elevator.
  3. Once you exit the elevator, follow the directional signage to "Common Ground Cafe." Room 370 is located at the far end of the Cafe.

Location map


Directions to the Berkeley campus
By BART

If traveling by BART, exit the Richmond-Fremont line at the Berkeley station (not North Berkeley). When you leave the BART station, walk east on Center Street one block to the campus border.

From Interstate 80

To reach the campus by car from Interstate 80, exit at the University Avenue off-ramp in Berkeley. Take University Avenue east (toward the hills) approximately two miles until you reach the campus.

From Highways 24/13

To reach the campus from Highways 24/13, exit 13 at Tunnel Road in Berkeley. Continue on Tunnel Road as it becomes Ashby. Turn right at College Avenue and drive approximately one mile north to Bancroft Way.

Directions to the campus are also available at www.berkeley.edu/ visitors/ traveling.html

Parking

There are various public parking lots and facilities near campus and in downtown Berkeley. This list includes municipal and privately owned parking lots and garages open to the public. Please consult signs for hours and fees prior to entering the facilities.

More information is available on the UC Berkeley Parking and Transportation page.