Pain pp 147-151 | Cite as

A Chinese Perspective on Pain

  • Wei-Ming Tu
Part of the Acta Neurochirurgica Supplementum book series (NEUROCHIRURGICA, volume 38)


Pain is a biochemical phenomenon, a neurophysiological occurrence, a simple sensation, but it is also a complex experience of far-reaching ethico-religious implications (Keefe 1982, Kleinman 1982, Melzack and Wall 1965, 1970, Merskey and Spear 1967). Although all major historical religions recognize pain as an important and irreducible aspect of the human condition, its cognitive and affective significance varies from culture to culture. For example, the Christian characterization of pain as a form of retributive punishment that can awaken us to the possibility of redeeming our original goodness sharply contrasts with the Buddhist perception of pain as a defining quality of human life (Conze 1951, Lewis 1962, Ricoeur 1976, Tu 1980). In this short presentation, I will focus on the Chinese view of pain as a complex experience.


Chinese Thought Myriad Thing Chinese Thinker Chinese Perspective Chinese View 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wei-Ming Tu
    • 1
  1. 1.Harvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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