Medicine is central to the religion of Buddhism, and Buddhism has been an vitally important vehicle for transnational exchange of medicine globally. In all periods and all locations across the world, Buddhism has provided individuals with intellectual tools to frame and understand illness, has shaped health-seeking behaviors in conscious and unconscious ways, and has offered a range of popular therapies and institutional structures for dealing with the sick.Comprising the major focus of my scholarly work, the historical relationship between Buddhism and medicine is explored in detail in the materials below….
Selected scholarly articles & chapters
- 2020, “Countercurrents and Counterappropriations: The Role of Mindfulness in Traditional Korean Medicine,” Asian Medicine 15.2: 291–300.
- 2019, “Varieties of Buddhist Healing in Multiethnic Philadelphia,” Religions 10.48. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10010048.
- 2018, “A Missing Link in the History of Chinese Medicine: A Research Note on the Medical Contents in the Chinese Buddhist Taishō Tripiṭaka,” East Asian Science, Medicine, and Technology 47: 93–119.
- 2018, “‘This Fathom-Long Body’: Bodily Materiality & Ascetic Ideology in Medieval Chinese Buddhist Scriptures,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine 92: 237–60.
- 2018, “Healing and/or Salvation? The Relationship Between Religion and Medicine in Medieval Chinese Buddhism,” Working Paper Series of the HCAS: Multiple Secularities — Beyond the West, Beyond Modernities 4. [Open Access]
- 2017, “Medicine in the Chinese Buddhist Canon: Selected Translations.” Asian Medicine 12.1/2: 79–294. (Co-authored with four other contributors.)
- 2017, “Cultural Associations of Water in Early Chinese and Indian Religion and Medicine,” Special Issue: Water and Asia, Education About Asia 22.2: 23–28.
- 2017, “Honoring the Teachers, Constructing the Tradition: The Role of History and Religion in the Waikrū Ceremony of a Thai Traditional Medicine Hospital,” in Hans Pols, Michele Thompson, and John Harley Warner (eds.), Translating the Body: Medical Education in Southeast Asia (Singapore: National University of Singapore Press).
- 2015, “Reexamining the Categories and Canons of Chinese Buddhist Healing,” Journal of Chinese Buddhist Studies 28: 35–66.
- 2014, “Medicine,” Oxford Bibliographies Online: Buddhism. Last update: 2018. DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195393521-0140 [Link]
- 2013, “Fields of Merit, Harvests of Health: Some Notes on the Role of Medical Karma in the Popularization of Buddhism in Early Medieval China,” Asian Philosophy 23.4: 341–9.
- 2009, “The Buddhist Medicine King in Literary Context: Reconsidering an Early Medieval Example of Indian influence on Chinese Medicine and Surgery,” History of Religions 48.3: 183-210.
See complete list here.
- 2019, “Sino-Buddhist Medicine: A Missing Link in the Global History of Medicine” (lecture at Huntington Library)
- 2017, Beyond Mindfulness (lecture at Columbia University)
- 2015, Toward A Global History of Buddhism & Medicine (keynote at University of British Columbia)
- 2014, “Buddhist medicine in China” (short talk at Duke University)
Multimedia ethnography & documentary film
The Jivaka Project Philadelphia is a collaborative project with filmmaker and historian Lan A. Li. This is a multimedia ethnography exploring the role of Buddhist institutions, practices, and cultural orientations in the American healthcare landscape between 2015 and 2020. The website encompasses a series of professionally produced documentary films in addition to photos, audio, and other data captured by student researchers at about 50 institutions in the city. Covering various intersections between Buddhism and health, these are intended for use in the classroom and are accompanied by background information and suggestions for further readings.