Contemporary Buddhist Medicine

Buddhist medicine is a living tradition that is both centuries old and continually new. This perennially close relationship between Buddhism and medicine ensures that Buddhism continues to speak to one of humanity’s central concerns—our health—and also that it continues to exert a significant influence on healthcare practices wherever the religion is to be found. Today’s widespread enthusiasm for the health benefits of meditation should not overshadow the fact that there remains a rich spectrum of Buddhist-influenced and Buddhist-inspired healing that continue to enjoy popularity among practitioners and devotees. The works listed here explore this diverse array of practices.


Traditional Thai Medicine: Buddhism, Animism, Yoga, Ayurveda, (White Lotus Press, 2016 rev. ed.): A crossover book for scholars and practitioners offering a brief overview of traditional medicine in Thailand, emphasizing practices related to Buddhism.

Buddhism & Medicine: An Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Sources (Columbia University Press, 2019): Edited collection of 35 chapters by 31 contributors introducing translations of texts and ethnographic transcripts about Buddhist healing in the modern era.

Selected scholarly articles

  • 2019, “Varieties of Buddhist Healing in Multiethnic Philadelphia,” Religions 10.48; doi:10.3390/rel10010048. [Open Access]
  • 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).

Multimedia Digital Humanities Project


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. 

Popular media

  • 2019, “The Mind Cure?,” Tricycle.
  • 2019, “Intersections between Buddhism, Health, and Diversity in an American City” []
  • 2019, “Survey of Buddhist Healing Practices in Philadelphia Publicly Available” []
  • 2019, “The Jivaka Project: Engaged pedagogy for a diverse student body” []
  • 2016, “Paging Dr. Dharma,” Tricycle.
  • 2016, “Buddhism and Health: Illuminating the Spectrum of Therapies,” Patheos.