Project Philadelphia

An ethnographic survey and documentary film project about Buddhist institutions in Greater Philadelphia (2015–2020). Trailer by Lan A. Li & C. Pierce Salguero

Buddhism plays an important—though often unappreciated—role in the city’s healthcare landscape, especially for Asian immigrants and refugees. We invite you to begin to explore these intersections by visiting one of the six themes below. Each theme includes a short documentary film, further readings, and links for the locations profiled. You can also look up a specific location in the Location Finder.

Documentary Films


How do Buddhist communities in Philadelphia link meditation to health and wellbeing?

Healing Rituals

What kinds of Buddhist rituals are performed in Philadelphia to ensure health or fight disease?

Food & Health

What are the health implications of traditional foodways that are celebrated in Buddhist spaces in Philadelphia?

Traditional Medicine

How do Buddhist organizations in Philadelphia promote traditional forms of Asian medical care?

Social Dimensions of Health

How do Buddhist communities in Philadelphia support their members’ psychological and social wellbeing?

Intersections with Mainstream Healthcare

How do Buddhist institutions in Philadelphia interface with mainstream healthcare infrastructure, such as hospitals and health insurance?