Foreword, Preface, I. General Survey of Buddhism, II. early Buddhism: 1. The Time of the Rise of Buddhism, 2. The Life of Gotama Buddha and his Disciples, The Scriptures of Early Buddhism, Aspects of Original Buddhism, The Thought of Early Buddhism, The Practice of Early Buddhism, The Worship of Buddhas and Faith, Social Thought, III. Conservative Buddhism and Transition to Mahayana: Historical background, Philosophical Schools, Philosophical Thought, Biographies of the Buddha, The Poet Asvaghosa and his school, The Avadana Literature, IV. Mahayana Buddhism: Historical Background, Mahayana Sutras, The Philosophical Schools of Mahayana, V. Logicians: Before Dignaga, Dignaga, Dharmakirti, Logicians at the Final Stage, Some Features of Indian Logic, VI. Esoteric Buddhism: the Beginning, Systematization, The Final Stage, Some Features of Esoteric Buddhism, Addenda et Corrigenda, Abbreviations and Periodicals, Index.
Through its unique focus and sophisticated reading of source materials, Being Human adds a crucial chapter in the larger historiography of science and religion. The book opens with the bold achievements in Tibetan medical illustration, commentary, and institution building during the period of the Fifth Dalai Lama and his regent, Desi Sangye Gyatso, then looks back to the work of earlier thinkers, tracing a strategically astute dialectic between scriptural and empirical authority on questions of history and the nature of human anatomy. It follows key differences between medicine and Buddhism in attitudes toward gender and sex and the moral character of the physician, who had to serve both the patient's and the practitioner's well-being. Being Human in a Buddhist World ultimately finds that Tibetan medical scholars absorbed ethical and epistemological categories from Buddhism yet shied away from ideal systems and absolutes, instead embracing the imperfectability of the human condition.
Sarah H. Jacoby's analysis focuses on the status of the female body in Sera Khandro's texts, the virtue of celibacy versus the expediency of sexuality for religious purposes, and the difference between profane lust and sacred love between male and female tantric partners. Her findings add new dimensions to our understanding of Tibetan Buddhist consort practices, complicating standard scriptural presentations of male subject and female aide. Sera Khandro depicts herself and Drimé Özer as inseparable embodiments of insight and method that together form the Vajrayana Buddhist vision of complete buddhahood. By advancing this complementary sacred partnership, Sera Khandro carved a place for herself as a female virtuoso in the male-dominated sphere of early twentieth-century Tibetan religion.