CFA: Ghent University Doctoral School Specialist Course: “Buddhism and Medicine in East Asia”

The Centre for Buddhist Studies at Ghent University, Belgium, is pleased to announce the following Doctoral School Specialist Course: “Buddhism and Medicine in East Asia”

Date: June 22-26, 2020

Venue: Ghent University

This specialist course will focus on an interdisciplinary approach to the intersection of religion and medicine in medieval and late imperial East Asia, with a particular focus on Buddhism. As a religious and cultural tradition with transnational scope, Buddhism played an important role in circulating medical knowledge around Asia. This course focuses on this history from the perspectives of Religious Studies, History of Medicine, Sinology, and Translation Studies. The five-day course will have 4 to 4.5 contact hours a day (21 contact hours all together) that include lectures, text readings, presentations by the participants, discussions, and documentary film screenings.

Thanks to the generous support of the Tianzhu foundation, we are pleased to award up to 800 Euros in travel remuneration for 5 International PhD students. This money can be used for travel, accommodation, and meals. To apply for this travel grant, please send a one-page cover letter and your CV to by January 31st, 2020. The selected candidates will be notified by February 15th, 2020.


Prof. Dr. C. Pierce  Salguero (Penn State University – Abington College)

Dr. Leslie de Vries (University of Kent)

Prof. Dr. Ann Heirman (Ghent University)

Tentative schedule:

Monday, June 22: Orientations

10:00-10:30: Welcome Greetings*
10:30-12:00: Buddhist medicine in a global context (Pierce Salguero)*
12:00-13:30: Lunch Break
13:30-16:00: Presentation of current research projects/questions by all participants (moderated by Leslie de Vries)*

Tuesday, June 23: Medieval China

10:00-12:00: Buddhist healing in medieval China (Pierce Salguero) *
12:00-13:30: Lunch Break
13:30-15:30: Health and bodily practices in Chinese Buddhist monastic practice (Ann Heirman) *

Wednesday, June 24: Cross-cultural movements and translations

10:00-12:00: Buddhism and medicine in transit (China, Japan, Vietnam) (Leslie de Vries)*
12:00-13:30: Lunch Break
13:30-15:30: Analysis of medieval Chinese practices of translation (Pierce Salguero)**

Thursday, June 25: Primary Text Readings

10:00-12:00: Text reading: “On Eliminating Disease” from Sūtra of Golden Light (Pierce Salguero)**
12:00-13:30: Lunch Break
13:30-15:30: Text reading: “Buddhism and scholarly medicine: A selection of passages from the medical literature” (Leslie de Vries)**

Friday, June 26: Integrating Research and Teaching

10:00-12:00: Film screening and discussion: Buddhist healing in a contemporary diasporic community in North America (Pierce Salguero)*
12:00-13:30: Lunch Break
13:30-16:00: Open discussion about integrating research and teaching based on this seminar (moderated by Andreas Niehaus)*

* Lectures also suitable for a general audience (no Sinological background needed) (15 hours)

** Sinological background needed (6 hours)