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Isabella Würthner, M.A.

PhD student at the Doctoral Program in Buddhist Studies


"Women’s health care in Tibetan medical literature"

The standard work of Tibetan medicine, which is based on the fundamentals of Buddhism, is the ‘Four Tantras’ (rGyud bzhi; 12th century). Female disorders (mo nad) are discussed mainly in the third Tantra (Man ngag rgyud). They represent the third of the eight branches of Tibetan medicine. The aim of this project is a critical analysis and translation of the chapters on gynecological disorders, including selected commentary literature such as the Vaiḍūrya sngon po of sde srid Sangs-rgyas rgya-mtsho (1653-1705) and the Mes po’i zhal lung of Blo-gros rgyal-po (1509-1579). Furthermore, additional medical texts like those of Bon medicine, as well as contemporary contributions, are considered in this study. This fundamental research aims to provide insights into the Tibetan perception of gynecological disorders and to unlock the relevant medical vocabulary. In addition, the research will also investigate whether and to what extent women’s health care is subject to a Buddhist androcentric influence. The philological work will be complemented by fieldwork with Tibetan physicians in India and Nepal.