The Won Buddhist Temple is more heavily involved in traditional Asian medicine than any others in the area, through its educational branch, the Won Institute of Graduate Studies. This is a separate legal entity founded by the temple community in order to forward their founder’s mission of spiritual development through education. Serving a primarily English-speaking non-Asian student body, the school is an accredited grantor of master’s degrees in acupuncture and Buddhist studies, as well as certificates in Chinese herbal medicine. They also run clinics and events where members of the public can receive treatments. The film focuses on the school’s mission and public outreach activities.

Background

Temples and meditation centers are often sites for the practice of a range of Asian medical traditions that are not uniquely associated with Buddhism. Qigongtaijiquan,  yoga, acupuncture, herbal medicine, medicinal foods, cupping, scraping, massage, and other therapies are all practiced at various Buddhist locations in Philadelphia.

Most exchanges of traditional Asian medicines occur in informal settings, perhaps before or after public ceremonies, and receive no official endorsement or organizational support from organization leadership. However, there are some examples around the city where institutions explicitly promote certain practices or traditions. The building might include a dedicated space for treatments, for example, or the resident monk might grow medicinal herbs in a garden on the temple grounds. 

 

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