1st Edition

Disease, Religion and Healing in Asia Collaborations and Collisions

Edited By Ivette Vargas-O'Bryan, Zhou Xun Copyright 2015
    186 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    186 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Recent academic and medical initiatives have highlighted the benefits of studying culturally embedded healing traditions that incorporate religious and philosophical viewpoints to better understand local and global healing phenomena. Capitalising on this trend, the present volume looks at the diverse models of healing that interplay with culture and religion in Asia.

    Cutting across several Asian regions from Hong Kong to mainland China, Tibet, India, and Japan, the book addresses healing from a broader perspective and reflects a fresh new outlook on the complexities of Asian societies and their approaches to health. In exploring the convergences and collisions a society must negotiate, it shows the emerging urgency in promoting multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research on disease, religion and healing in Asia. Drawing on original fieldwork, contributors present their latest research on diverse local models of healing that occur when disease and religion meet in South and East Asian cultures. Revealing the symbiotic relationship of disease, religion and healing and their colliding values in Asia often undetected in healthcare research, the book draws attention to religious, political and social dynamics, issues of identity and ethics, practical and epistemological transformations, and analogous cultural patterns. It challenges the reader to rethink predominantly long-held Western interpretations of disease management and religion.

    Making a significant contribution to the field of transcultural medicine, religious studies in Asia as well as to a better understanding of public health in Asia as a whole, it will be of interest to students and scholars of Health Studies, Asian Religions and Philosophy.

    Introduction Ivette Vargas-O’Bryan and Zhou Xun Part I: Disease Management in Medical and Ritual Contexts 1. The management of sickness in an Indian medical vernacular Helen Lambert 2.Like an Indian god: Saint Anthony of Padua in Tamil Nadu as a healer and exorcist Brigitte Sébastia 3.Devotion and affliction in the time of cholera: ritual healing, identity and resistance among Bengali Muslims Fabrizio M. Ferrari 4. Wong Tai Sin: The divine and healing in Hong Kong Mark Greene Part II: Religious and Medical Explanatory Models 5. Ghost exorcism, memory, and healing in Hinduism Daniel Cohen 6. Storytelling and accountability for illness in Sanskrit medical literature Anthony Cerulli Part III: Cultural Interfaces and Collisions 7. The Method-and-Wisdom model in the theoretical syncretism of traditional Mongolian medicine Vesna Wallace 8. Balancing Tradition Alongside a Progressively Scientific Tibetan Medical System Ivette Vargas-O’Bryan 9. Diagnostic techniques of Chinese Traditional Medicine and their interface with the globalisation of medical practice Nancy Holroyde-Downing 10. Healing Zen: Exploring the brain on bowing Paul K. R. Arai


    Ivette M. Vargas-O’Bryan is Chair and Associate professor of Religion in the Department of Religious Studies at Austin College, USA. She has been a recipient of several prestigious awards and grants and is known for her recent work on demons and illness and Buddhist nuns in Tibetan religious and medical traditions. Ivette has also authored publications on Asian monastic traditions, religion and healing, animals in religion, and religion and the environment.

    ZHOU Xun is lecturer of Modern History at the University of Essex, UK. She has authored and edited several books, including Narcotic Culture: A History of Drug Consumption in China (2004), Smoke: A Global History of Smoking (2004), and The Great Famine in China, 1957-1962: A Documentary History (2012). Her most recent book Forgotten Voices of Mao’s Great Famine, 1958-1962: an Oral History (2013) is a remarkable oral history of modern China’s greatest tragedy.