Illnesses of one kind or another are explained through the action of spirits in many cultures. Tibetan ideas about spirit causation are only one of many Asian examples. The situation becomes more interesting when we consider which kinds of illness are explained in this way, which spirits are involved, and what the implications are of the modes of the treatment used. These are the questions I will be looking at in this paper, both on the basis of literary texts, primarily Rgyud bzhi, and ethnographic accounts, including some material from fieldwork among refugee Tibetans in Dalhousie in Northern India in 1996. The present paper is more exploratory then conclusive, but I hope that will encourage others to take the issues I deal with here further.
PIATS 2003. Soundings in Tibetan medicine : anthropological and historical perspectives : PIATS 2003 : Tibetan studies : proceedings of the Tenth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies (Oxford 2003) p. 213-224