This class provides an introduction to the many ways that Buddhism has intersected with health and medicine throughout history and today. Across cultures, Buddhism has always had a lot to say about mental and physical wellbeing. Most Buddhist traditions worldwide have promoted specific remedies, including meditations, rituals, prescriptions, surgical procedures, and other kinds of therapies for all kinds of ailments. In many Asian cultures, these Buddhist ideas serve as the foundation for entire systems of traditional medicine that are still widely practiced today.
In the modern era, the health benefits of meditation and other Buddhist practices are increasingly being measured scientifically and tested clinically. Modernized and secularized forms of Buddhist interventions — most notably the various mindfulness protocols — are now incorporated into mainstream biomedical healthcare settings. However, traditional Buddhist approaches also continue to be popular around the world. This course will introduce both historical and contemporary forms of Buddhist medicine, and discuss their ongoing interrelation and intersection today.
Buddhist medicine is a growing subfield of Buddhist studies, and this course will introduce students to the main trends in this exciting area of scholarship. The class is not intended to provide detailed information about the practice of Buddhist medicine, but rather focuses on its historical, social, and cultural dimensions. Above all, students will come away with a deeper appreciation of how Buddhism has played a central role in the global history of medicine, and how medicine has always been central to the tradition of Buddhism worldwide.
Module 1 — Why Study Buddhist Medicine?
Module 2 — Buddhist Medicine Doctrines and Practices
Module 3 — Global History of Buddhist Medicine
Module 4 — Buddhist Medicine in the Modern World
Students Will Receive:
- 4 Pre-recorded Video + Audio lectures (90 min)
- 4 Pre-recorded Q&A sessions (90 min)
- 4 BS Credits
- 12 Hours of CE credit with YA
- Course Syllabus (PDF)
- Weekly Readings (PDF)
- 4 Multiple Choice Quizzes
- Yogic Studies Certificate (PDF)
- Access to the private Community Forum
Dr. Pierce Salguero
Professor of Asian History & Religious Studies, Penn State University's Abington College
Dr. Salguero is a transdisciplinary scholar of health humanities who is fascinated by historical and contemporary intersections between Buddhism, medicine, and crosscultural exchange. He holds a Ph.D. in History of Medicine from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (2010), and teaches Asian history, medicine, and religion at Penn State University’s Abington College, located near Philadelphia.
The major theme in his scholarship is discovering the role of Buddhism in the global transmission and local reception of knowledge about health, disease, and the body. He approaches this topic using methodologies from history, religious studies, translation studies, and literary studies. He is the author of numerous publications including the recent book, A Global History of Buddhism & Medicine (Columbia University, 2022).
This course is eligible for 12 hours of Continued Education (CE) credits with Yoga Alliance
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