The Buddhist Narration of Medicine: The Drangti Corpus in Tibetan Medical and Religious History


The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Dissertation Fellowships in Buddhist Studies


At once Tibetan and cosmopolitan, theoretical and practical, Buddhist and secular—the early historical narratives of Tibetan medicine were shrouded in such controversy that, as Zurkhar Lodrö Gyelpo quipped, “in this snowy land of Tibet, as soon as three or more [physicians] get together… they discuss them.” In my dissertation I extend recent scholarship on the cross-cultural origins of Tibetan medicine to show for the first time that a single family of medieval physicians—the Drangti clan—created the narrative through which all later tradition understood the history of Tibetan medicine. By analyzing hundreds of newly available manuscripts, I offer critical perspectives on received historiography in order to better understand Tibetan medical thought in its formative period.