James & David Orr Lecture on Culture & Religion

The James and David Orr Memorial Lectures on Culture and Religion bring to Dartmouth each year scholars and writers whose achievements are at the highest level, but whose main fields of interest are not necessarily religion. Past Orr Lecturers include historians, anthropologists, novelists, biologists, and philosophers.

In 1972 James H. Orr, a Boston financier and supporter of the Religion Department at Dartmouth, provided the funding in memory of his son, David, for a lecture series now known as the "James and David Orr Memorial Lectures on Culture and Religion." The initial "Orr Lecture" was given that year by Mircea Eliade of the University of Chicago who lectured on "Sacred City, Sacred Time." Past Orr Lecturers include Lionel Trilling, Mary Douglas, Edward Said, Carolyn Bynum, Edward Shils, Rodney Needham, Donald Davidson, Amartya Sen, Gita Mehta, Judith Butler, Karen Armstrong, and Steven Pinker.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024



C. Pierce Salguero
Professor of Asian History and Health Humanities
The Abington College of Pennsylvania State University

Wednesday, May 1, 2024
4:00 PM
Filene Auditorium
Reception to follow

Free and open to all

Talk title: "Meditation Sickness"

Abstract: "Everyone knows that meditation is great for your health and wellbeing. But then why does a certain percentage of people experience psychotic breaks or other adverse mental and physical side-effects from practicing it? Are these the symptoms of improper practice or an unavoidable part of spiritual cultivation? While contemporary scientific literature is just beginning to document these phenomena, Buddhist communities have for centuries warned practitioners about 'meditation sickness' and 'wind illness.' Historical writings not only identify the potential dangers of meditation practice, but also explain why these issues arise and how they can be effectively prevented and treated. Taking these materials seriously will permanently transform the way we think about meditation in the West."