Author Biography

Katja Triplett holds a doctorate in the Study of Religions, Japanese Linguistics and Ethnology from Marburg University. She is currently associated with the Humanities Centre for Advanced Studies ‘Multiple Secularities— Beyond the West, Beyond Modernities’ at the University of Leipzig. From 2012 to 2016 she was professor for the Study of Religions at the Department of East Asian Studies, University of Göttingen. Triplett has published widely on topics relating to Japanese Buddhism and medicine.

Barbara Gerke (D.Phil., M.Sc., University of Oxford) is a social and medical anthropologist currently leading a three-year FWF (Austrian Science Fund) project (2018–2021) on ‘Potent Substances in Sowa Rigpa and Buddhist Ritual’ at the University of Vienna, where she also held a Lise- Meitner senior research fellowship (2015-2018) researching biographies of Tibetan precious pills. She is the author of Long Lives and Untimely Deaths: Life-Span Concepts and Longevity Practices among Tibetans in the Darjeeling Hills, India (Brill 2012) and Taming the Poisonous: Mercury, Toxicity and Safety in Tibetan Medical Practice (Heidelberg University Publishing, forthcoming).

Jan M. A. van der Valk (PhD, Anthropology, University of Kent, 2017) is an anthropologist and ethnobotanist. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the multidisciplinary project ‘Potent Substances in Sowa Rigpa and Buddhist Ritual’ (2018-2021) at University of Vienna’s Department of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies. Van der Valk’s doctoral thesis traces the techno-scientific transformations of Tibetan medicines from plant to pill, forging links between two key manufacturers, in India and Switzerland respectively. He is a student of Dr. Pasang Yonten Arya since 2012, and opened the first Tibetan medical (herbal) practice in Belgium (

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