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Tibetan Medicine, Conservation and Covid- 19 in the Anthropocene: Diagnosing the Spiritual Revenge of Nature?

Tibetan Medicine, Conservation and Covid- 19 in the Anthropocene: Diagnosing the Spiritual Revenge of Nature?

Jan van der Valk (University of Vienna)

During the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in Asia, Tibetan medicine (Sowa Rigpa) rapidly emerged as a key interface through which practitioners and patients of Tibetan, Himalayan and diasporic communities interpreted and responded to the origins and spread of the virus. Apart from a host of preventative, protective and curative measures – ranging from mantras and amulets to multi-compound pills – the root causes for Covid’s sudden appearance and devastation were also framed through the interrelated lenses of Tibetan medical etiology, Buddhist morality and indigenous conceptions of spiritual ecology.

Jan van der Valk is a scholar-practitioner trained in the fields of biology, ethnobotany, anthropology, and Tibetan Studies.