Bookshelf Spotlight: Ancient Healing and Funeral Cultures in Southeast Asia

Featured Books

* Buddhist Funeral Cultures of Southeast Asia and China
* Celestial Healing: Energy, Mind and Spirit in Traditional Medicines of China and East and Southeast Asia
* Chinese Death Rituals in Singapore
* The Spiritual Healing of Traditional Thailand
* Way of the Ancient Healer- Sacred Teachings from the Philippine Ancestral Traditions

Buddhist Funeral Cultures of Southeast Asia and China


by Paul Williams and Patrice Ladwig
Cambridge University Press, 2012

The centrality of death rituals has rarely been documented in anthropologically informed studies of Buddhism. Bringing together a range of perspectives including ethnographic, textual, historical and theoretically informed accounts, this edited volume presents the diversity of the Buddhist funeral cultures of mainland Southeast Asia and China. While the contributions show that the ideas and ritual practices related to death are continuously transformed in local contexts through political and social changes, they also highlight the continuities of funeral cultures. The studies are based on long-term fieldwork and covering material from Therav da Buddhism in Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and various regions of Chinese Buddhism, both on the mainland and in the Southeast Asian diasporas. Topics such as bad death, the feeding of ghosts, pollution through death, and the ritual regeneration of life show how Buddhist cultures deal with death as a universal phenomenon of human culture.

Univ of Cambridge Press |Goodreads |Amazon | Google Books

Return to Top

Celestial Healing: Energy, Mind and Spirit in Traditional Medicines of China and East and Southeast Asia


by Marc S. Micozzi, Kevin Ergil and Laurel Gabler
Singing Dragon, 2011

Historically, the influence of Chinese medical traditions, thought to be revealed from divine sources, extended East to Korea and Japan and as far South as Indochina, the Malay Peninsula and the Indonesian Archipelago. As the distinct medical traditions of these regions encountered the ancient medicine of mainland China, they absorbed and transformed them based on their own indigenous healing practices, and herbal and plant resources.

Providing a panoramic overview of the medical traditions of China, the Malay Peninsula, the Indonesian Archipelago, the Philippines, Indochina (Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia), Korea, and Japan, Dr. Marc Micozzi offers compelling new insights into the influence of the essentially Chinese expression of vital energy (qi) in these traditions, as well as the pull of other cultural traditions, such as those of India and Islam. Dr. Micozzi discusses evidence for the efficacy of these healing practices and their many influences in the West, and explores how a Western reader might consider seeking a practitioner, as well as effective treatments, from one of these traditions.

This groundbreaking book will be of interest to practitioners of Chinese and Asian medical traditions, and complementary and alternative health, as well as anyone with an interest in Chinese and Asian approaches to health and well-being.

Singing Dragon | Goodreads |Amazon | Google Books

Return to Top

Chinese Death Rituals in Singapore


by Tong Chee Kiong
Routledge, 2004

Through a cultural analysis of the symbols of death – flesh, blood, bones, souls, time numbers, food and money – Chinese Death Rituals in Singapore throws light upon the Chinese perception of death and how they cope with its eventuality. In the seeming mass of religious rituals and beliefs, it suggests that there is an underlying logic to the rituals. This in turn leads Kiong to examine the interrelationship between death and the socioeconomic value system of China as a whole.

Routledge | Goodreads |Amazon | Google Books

Return to Top

The Spiritual Healing of Traditional Thailand


by C. Pierce Salguero
Findhorn Press, 2006

Illustrated throughout with attractive photography and diagrams, The Spiritual Healing of Traditional Thailand is intended to be a visual experience, while drawing the reader into the colorful world of Thai spirituality. The photographs were taken as the author traveled the countryside of Thailand, engaging with monks, shamans, and various healers.

Findhorn Press | Goodreads |Amazon | Google Books

Return to Top

Way of the Ancient Healer- Sacred Teachings from the Philippine Ancestral Traditions


by Virgil Mayor Apostol
North Atlantic Books, 2010

Way of the Ancient Healer provides an overview of the rich tradition of Filipino healing practices, discussing their origins, world influences, and role in daily life. Enhanced with over 200 photographs and illustrations, the book combines years of historical research with detailed descriptions of the spiritual belief system that forms the foundation of these practices. Giving readers a rare look at modern-day Filipino healing rituals, the book also includes personal examples from author Virgil Mayor Apostol’s own experiences with shamanic healing and dream interpretation.

The book begins with an explanation of Apostol’s Filipino lineage and legacy as a healer. After a brief history of the Philippine archipelago, he describes the roots of traditional Filipino healing and spirituality, and discusses the Indian, Islamic, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, and American influences that have impacted the Filipino culture. He presents a thorough description of Filipino shamanic and spiritual practices that have developed from the concept that everything in nature contains a spirit (animism) and that living in the presence of spirits demands certain protocols and rituals for interacting with them. The book’s final chapter thoughtfully explores the spiritual tools used in Filipino healing–talismans, amulets, stones, and other natural symbols of power.

North Atlantic Books | Goodreads | Amazon | Google Books

Return to Top