Readers may be interested in this online talk by Dr Kyle Latinis on the hospital system set up by Jayavarman VII and the excavations at Tonle Snguot.
In the late-12th/early-13th centuries, the Mahayana Buddhist King Jayavarman VII constructed 102 hospitals at different sites throughout the Khmer kingdom. The excavation of one of these hospital complexes, outside the northern gate of Angkor Thom in Siem Reap in 2017, led to some incredible discoveries. These include a two-metre guardian statue and several Buddha and Bodhisattva statues, one of which is a Baisajyaguru, or Medicine Buddha, the first ever to be recovered in situ in a hospital complex. In the years since, more findings have come to light and research into the nature of the complex continues. What seems almost certain is that Jayavarman’s hospitals were tethered to his urban planning, infrastructure and logistics. Beyond a means to gain merit, the practical aspects included protecting densely populated areas from plagues and outbreaks. This talk offers insights on the nature of the complex and its use, including its origins, which may have ultimately been inspired by concepts in India.
Source: Friends of the Museums