This article describes an unprecedented survey of a wide swathe of American Buddhists of diverse racial, cultural, socioeconomic, and sectarian backgrounds about their attitudes toward health and healing. The final section describes a follow-up study investigating how a segment of the survey respondents benefited from their practice of Buddhism during the Covid-19 pandemic. The most important overall finding is that American Buddhists see their participation in a wide range of Buddhist activities as a source of mental, physical, emotional, and social wellbeing. In light of this result, I argue that Buddhism is playing a larger than appreciated role in shaping Americans’ attitudes about health, and that the entire range of Buddhist approaches needs to be taken into account beyond simply meditation.
October 10, 2022