This project explores the role of Buddhist institutions, practices, and cultural orientations in the healthcare landscape of Greater Philadelphia. Our study seeks to bring more diverse voices into the contemporary conversation about Buddhism and healthcare. We hope this website will be a useful resource for teaching and research projects related to American Buddhism, religious pluralism, and the intersections between religion and health in the contemporary U.S.
This project has provided the opportunity for students to engage in experiential learning about the range of religions and health orientations in a cosmopolitan American city. Since 2015, small teams of undergraduate student researchers have been visiting Buddhist temples and centers throughout the Greater Philadelphia area. Unstructured interviews with monastics, teachers, community representatives, and members of local temples have focused on discovering connections between Buddhism and health. Fieldwork in many cases has been facilitated by student research assistants, who themselves are members of the cultural-linguistic group best represented at the temple, and who have been able to facilitate cultural awareness and offer some basic translation assistance when necessary.
Preliminary findings have revealed that different approaches to Buddhist healing prevail in different ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and socioeconomic contexts around the city. Our research has also revealed increasingly expansive webs of global interconnectivity between Philadelphia and the rest of the Buddhist world. We are in the process of writing up our findings in more detail, and will post future articles to the "Resources" and "Articles" sections of this site.
Project design and P.I.:
Dr. Pierce Salguero
Associate Professor of Asian History and Religious Studies, Penn State University
Lan A. Li
Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience, Columbia University
Director/cinematographer/editor of documentary shorts; contributor to pedagogical materials
Research assistants: Paola Xhuli, Ryan Rose, Sungsim Kim, Somtanuek Chotchoungchatchai
Student researchers, cultural liaisons, and translators: Gilbert Charles, Christina Chen, Ashley Cole, Patrick Kim, Binh Le, Meihang Lim, Alex Medina, Vinh Pham, Angelina Wu, Emily Wu, Jane Yeung
Other contributors: Photos, video clips, and data has also been anonymously contributed by a large number of students from various Religious Studies and Asian Studies classes at Penn State's Abington College
Funding and Logistical Support From: Penn State Center Philadelphia, Abington College Undergraduate Research Activities
All content in this project was produced by the above collaborators, and are offered here under a Creative Commons license. They may be copied, distributed, or displayed for non-commercial purposes as long as this website is attributed. Any derivative works must be released under the same terms.