Buddhist Medicine in Medieval China

 The transmission of Buddhism from India to China in the first millennium C.E. was one of the most significant cross-cultural medical exchanges in the history of the world. This project examines the reception of Indian medicine in medieval China. It analyzes the ways Chinese Buddhists understood and adapted Indian medical knowledge and explained them to local audiences. It illuminates the social logics of intercultural communication, processes of negotiation and adaptation, and the creativity of individual writers as they made sense of disease, health, and the body in the context of regional and transnational traditions. The works below integrate religious studies, translation studies, and literature with the history of medicine in order to reconstruct the crucial role of translated Buddhist knowledge in the vibrant medical world of medieval China.


Translating Buddhist Medicine in Medieval China (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014): Significantly revised version of my PhD dissertation, focusing on the translations strategies/tactics utilized in the introduction and assimilation of Indian medicine in medieval China.

Buddhist Healing in Medieval China and Japan (University of Hawai’i Press, 2020): Co-edited with Andrew Macomber. My contribution to this volume analyzes the reception and representation of Buddhist healing in China, as seen in a 6th cent. collection of miracle tales.

Selected scholarly articles & chapters

  • 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.)
  • 2015, “Reexamining the Categories and Canons of Chinese Buddhist Healing,” Journal of Chinese Buddhist Studies 28: 35–66.
  • 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.

Popular media

  • 2018, “Curing Illness with Meditation in Sixth Century China,” BuddhistDoor.
  • 2014, “Translating Meditation in Popular American Media,” Patheos.

Recorded Lectures