Buddhist Medicine in Medieval China
C. Pierce Salguero (Penn State University, Abington College)
Date/Time: Friday, November 8th, 4:00-6:00pm
Location: Columbia University Faculty House Room 1, 3rd Floor
With the flourishing of the Silk Roads in the first centuries C.E., the two relatively independent worlds of Indo-European and Chinese medicine came into sustained conversation for the first time. Buddhism played a significant role in facilitating these exchanges. Inextricably woven into Buddhist philosophies and practices, Indo-European medical terminology, doctrines, and metaphors were carried to China as part and parcel of the Buddhist transmission. While proving valuable for proselytizing, these foreign concepts also presented particular challenges for Chinese translators and writers, who developed a range of strategies to understand and explain them. A survey of medieval Chinese Buddhist texts demonstrates that Indian medical knowledge became a site of social and political commentary and contestation in China, and sheds light on the important role of Buddhism in medieval Chinese healthcare.