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The transmission of Buddhism from India to China was one of the most significant cross-cultural exchanges in the premodern world. This cultural encounter involved more than the spread of religious and philosophical knowledge. It influenced many spheres of Chinese life, including the often overlooked field of medicine. Analyzing a wide variety of Chinese Buddhist texts, C. Pierce Salguero examines the reception of Indian medical ideas in medieval China. These texts include translations from Indian languages as well as Chinese compositions completed in the first millennium C.E. Translating Buddhist Medicine in Medieval China illuminates and analyzes the ways Chinese Buddhist writers understood and adapted Indian medical knowledge and healing practices and explained them to local audiences. The book moves beyond considerations of accuracy in translation by exploring the resonances and social logics of intercultural communication in their historical context. Presenting the Chinese reception of Indian medicine as a process of negotiation and adaptation, this innovative and interdisciplinary work provides a dynamic exploration of the medical world of medieval Chinese society. At the center of Salguero's work is an appreciation of the creativity of individual writers as they made sense of disease, health, and the body in the context of regional and transnational traditions. By integrating religious studies, translation studies, and literature with the history of medicine, Translating Buddhist Medicine in Medieval China reconstructs the crucial role of translated Buddhist knowledge in the vibrant medical world of medieval China.
From its earliest days, Buddhism has been closely intertwined with medicine. Buddhism and Medicine is a singular collection showcasing the generative relationship and mutual influence between these fields across premodern Asia. The anthology combines dozens of English-language translations of premodern Buddhist texts with contextualizing introductions by leading international scholars in Buddhist studies, the history of medicine, and a range of other fields. These sources explore in detail medical topics ranging from the development of fetal anatomy in the womb to nursing, hospice, dietary regimen, magical powers, visualization, and other healing knowledge. Works translated here include meditation guides, popular narratives, ritual manuals, spells texts, monastic disciplinary codes, recipe inscriptions, philosophical treatises, poetry, works by physicians, and other genres. All together, these selections and their introductions provide a comprehensive overview of Buddhist healing throughout Asia. They also demonstrate the central place of healing in Buddhist practice and in the daily life of the premodern world. This anthology is a companion volume to Buddhism and Medicine: An Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Sources (Columbia, 2019).