Dagmar Wujastyk explores the moral discourses on the practice of medicine in the foundational texts of Ayurveda. The classical ayurvedic treatises were composed in Sanskrit between the first and the fifth centuries CE, and the later works, dating into the sixteenth century CE, were still considered strongly authoritative. As Wujastyk shows, these works testify to an elaborate system of medical ethics and etiquette.
Physicians looked to the ayurvedic treatises for a guide to professional conduct. Ayurvedic discourses on good medical practice depict the physician as highly-educated, skilled, moral, and well-mannered. The rules of conduct positioned physicians within mainstream society's and characterized medical practice as a trustworthy and socially acceptable profession. At the same time, professional success was largely based on a particular physician's ability to cure his patients. This resulted in
tension, as some treatments and medications were considered socially or religiously unacceptable. Doctors needed to treat their patients successfully while ostensibly following the rules of acceptable behavior.
Wujastyk offers insight into the many unorthodox methods of avoiding conflict while ensuring patient compliance shown in the ayurvedic treatises, giving a disarmingly candid perspective on the realities of medical practice and its crucial role in a profoundly well-mannered society.
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Number of pages: 264
Weight: 508 g
Dimensions: 239 x 162 x 20 mm
In Well-Mannered Medicine, Dagmar Wujastyk has crafted an intelligent and insightful take on the ethical terrain covered by the Ayurvedic medical tradition ... Wujastyk's skill as a reader of ancient texts and of modern temperament distinguishes this work from other contemporary takes on Ayurveda ... It is a remarkable and elegant read, thoughtful at every turn, and unrelentingly learned. * Rachel Berger, Asian Medicine *
Dagmar Wujastyk's thorough study of medical ethics in classical Ayurvedic texts adds substantially to our knowledge of Ayurveda as a medical system. Ethics here includes the moral attributes required of a physician, personal presentation, medical education, the doctor-patient relationship, medical deception, and much more. In this first rate study, Wujastyk avoids the danger of evaluating Ayurveda from the standpoint of Western medicine. This is required reading for
everyone with an interest in Indian medicine or cross-cultural medical history. * Frederick M. Smith, Professor of Sanskrit and Classical Indian Religions, University of Iowa *