'On Eliminating Disease': Translations of the Medical Chapter from the Chinese Versions of the Sutra of Golden Light


  • C. Pierce Salguero Penn State University / Abington College


A great deal of material that is highly relevant to the history of Indian medicine can be found embedded within Buddhist texts that were translated into Chinese over the course of the first millennium C.E. Among the many Chinese Buddhist scriptures and parts thereof that discuss medicine, the Sutra of Golden Light (Skt. Suvarṇa[pra]bhāsottamasūtra; Ch. Jin guangming jing 金光明經) surely ranks among the most well-known. The text contains a chapter that briefly summarizes the basic principles of Indian medicine. Since the seventh century at least, the Chinese Buddhist tradition has held this chapter to be a foundational statement of Buddhist healing wisdom. Today, it continues to be widely cited in virtually all sectarian and scholarly works discussing Buddhist medicine..

Despite its significance for the history of both Buddhism and medicine, however, to my knowledge no Chinese version of the Sutra of Golden Light's chapter on medicine has ever been translated into English. The purpose of the present article is to provide such a resource.