Below is a list of recent public lectures I give regularly. If you are interested in hosting a talk, you can choose from one of the topics below, or request a specially-tailored talk for your group.
What is Buddhist Medicine?
The Buddhist tradition defines itself as a collection of philosophical and practical solutions to ameliorate suffering. Illness is among the chief forms of suffering, and Buddhist traditions worldwide have sought to address this central human problem for millennia. This talk explores the multifaceted tradition of “Buddhist medicine.” It introduces a range of Buddhist ideas, practices, and other cultural and social formations that Buddhists across the world have utilized in seeking health and preventing disease. This body of healing knowledge emerged via centuries of interplay, borrowing, and translation between Asian cultures in the premodern period, and is now practiced all over the world in diverse and locally-specific ways.
This talk is best for: Medical Humanities, Religious Studies, Asian Studies, Philosophy, practitioners of Buddhism and/or meditation, general interest, public libraries.
Why does a certain percentage of people experience psychotic breaks or other adverse mental and physical side-effects from practicing meditation? Are these the symptoms of improper practice or an unavoidable part of spiritual cultivation? Contemporary scientific literature is beginning to document a phenomenon that centuries-old Buddhist texts called “meditation sickness.” Writings from medieval China not only identify the adverse mental and physical symptoms that can arise in the course of meditation practice, but also explain why these pathologies arise and how they can be effectively treated. Might these materials contain important therapeutic information that is relevant for meditators today?
This talk is best for: Religious Studies, Asian Studies, practitioners of Buddhism and/or meditation, general interest.
Buddhism & Health in Global Historical Perspective
The so-called “Mindful Revolution” has tended to overshadow both the deep historical roots of the connections between Buddhism and health, as well as the diversity of those Buddhist healing methods. This talk places the contemporary focus on the health benefits of mindfulness within the history of Buddhist engagements with medicine. It outlines the many rich and complex approaches to healing that have been (and still are) used in Buddhist communities, and will suggest directions for further historical and clinical research beyond mindfulness.
This talk is best for: Medical Humanities, Religious Studies, Asian Studies, practitioners of Buddhism and/or meditation.
Translating Buddhist Medicine in Medieval China
With the flourishing of the Silk Roads in the first centuries C.E., the two relatively independent worlds of Indo-European and East Asian medicine came into sustained conversation for the first time. This moment in history represents one of the most significant and best-documented instances of cross-cultural medical exchange in the pre-modern world, and Buddhism played a surprisingly central role in facilitating this exchange. While many sources of Indo-Sinitic medical exchange are no longer extant, a survey of medieval Chinese Buddhist texts from approximately 150-1000 C.E. finds that Indo-European medical terminology, doctrines, and metaphors were carried to China as part and parcel of the transmission of the philosophies and practices of the religion. These texts reveal that medicine and religion were intimately intertwined in medieval Asia, but they also demonstrate intriguing resonances with the globalization of Buddhism in the contemporary period.
This talk is best for: Religious Studies, Asian Studies, Translation Studies, History.
Buddhism and Healthcare in an American City
The Jivaka Project (www.jivaka.net) is a digital humanities and documentary film project about the role of Buddhist institutions, practices, and cultural orientations in the healthcare system of Greater Philadelphia. Seeking to bring more diverse voices into the contemporary conversation about Buddhism and wellbeing, the project also sheds light on the multifaceted health practices of Asian immigrant communities in a major US metropolitan area. This talk discusses the ethnographic research, pedagogical methods, and community engaged scholarship in the making of the Jivaka Project.
This talk is best for: Medical Humanities, Religious Studies, Pedagogy, Student Engagement, practitioners of Buddhism and/or meditation.
Mindfulness: A Balanced Introduction
The past few decades have seen the emergence of the “Mindfulness Revolution” in mainstream American popular culture. Hospitals, prisons, daycare centers, college campuses … mindfulness meditation is seemingly everywhere these days. In fact, since the inception of Buddhism nearly 2500 years ago, Buddhists have understood various facets of their tradition to be sources of health and healing. But how established are the links between meditation and physical health? Dr. Salguero will give an overview of the history, contemporary practice, and academic study of mindfulness meditation practice. He will situate the contemporary focus on the health benefits of meditation within the global history of Buddhism and medicine, and will outline the many rich and complex Buddhist approaches to healing that have been (and still are) used globally, and will suggest directions for further historical and clinical research beyond meditation.
This talk is best for: Religious Studies, Medical Humanities, practitioners of Buddhism and/or meditation, general interest, public libraries.
A Metamodern Approach to Asian Medicine
All too often, practitioners and scholars of Asian medicine have failed to engage in productive dialogue. Despite best intentions, strong epistemological differences have ensured that, when they do come together, these two communities have tended to speak past one another. A long-time practitioner, historian, critic, and fan of Asian medicine, Dr. Salguero will provide an overview of these differences, and why previous efforts to bridge them have not been successful. Drawing on his long-term navigation of both practitioner and scholarly communities, he will then propose metamodernism as a framework for engaging in deeper dialogue.
This talk is best for: practitioners of Asian Medicine