Paula AraiApr 14, 2023
Healing Buddhist Studies
A Discussion with Paula Arai
New Books Network 2023
Dr Pierce Salguero sits down with Paula Arai, a scholar of Japanese Zen, gender, and healing ritual. Paula is an inspiration in the way she blends critical analysis and compassion in her work. In this episode, we talk about how her journey into Zen began with her relationship with her Japanese mother, as well as her work on everyday Japanese healing rituals. Our discussion focuses on the ethics of empathetic scholarship and how Paula’s care for relationships has shaped her five books. Along the way, we touch on the centrality of women in Buddhism and the challenges of facing misogyny and sexism in academia.
Enjoy the conversation! And, if you want to hear from more experts on Buddhist medicine and related topics, subscribe to Blue Beryl for monthly episodes here.
- Article about Paula by Karma Lekse Tsomo in Challenging Bias Against Women Academics in Religion (2021)
- Women Living Zen: Japanese Soto Buddhist Nuns (1999)
- Bringing Zen Home: The Healing Heart of Japanese Women's Rituals (2011)
- Painting Enlightenment: Healing Visions of the Heart Sutra (2019)
- The Oxford Handbook of Buddhist Practice (2022)
- The Little Book of Zen Healing: Japanese Rituals for Beauty, Harmony, and Love (2023)
Pierce Salguero is a transdisciplinary scholar of health humanities who is fascinated by historical and contemporary intersections between Buddhism, medicine, and crosscultural exchange. He has 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. He is also the host (with Lan Li) of the Blue Beryl podcast. Subscribe to Blue Beryl here.