Encyclopedia of Buddhism Online

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Since publication of the first volume, in 2015, Brill's steadily growing Encyclopedia of Buddhism has been widely acclaimed as the long-awaited authoritative, reliable, and up-to-date reference work.

Illustrated with maps and photographs, and supplemented with extensive online resources, the print version of the thematic encyclopedia presents the latest research on the main aspects of the Buddhist traditions in original essays, all written by the world’s foremost scholars. 

Ultimately consisting of six volumes, the Encyclopedia presents a balanced and even-handed view of the Buddhist traditions across Asia, offering the most reliable up-to-date accounts of well-known issues. At the same time it fills many gaps in heretofore-neglected areas. Contributions emphasize time and again that Buddhism is simultaneously constituted by a plurality of regional traditions, as well as a far-reaching phenomenon spanning almost all of Asia, and, more recently, far beyond.

The 1000-page first volume (Literature and Languages, publ. 2015)  is available online now.

The online edition of volume 2 (Lives, publ. 2019) will be added in 2021, with further volumes following after their original publication in print.

More information: Brill.com


(2,342 words)

Author(s): Steiner, Roland
Candragomin, the author of the Buddhist drama Lokānanda (Joy for the World) and the epistle Śiṣyalekha (Letter to a Disciple), is probably identical with the grammarian of the same name (BEB I: Dramatic Works: South Asia, 579; against this: Oberlies, 1989, 17–20; 1996, 266n2) who lived in the mid-5th-century CE (Oberlies, 1989, 12f.; Steiner, 1997, 32n4). According to the late 7th-century CE report of the Chinese pilgrim Yijing (義淨; 635–713), the playwright and Śiṣyalekha author Candra (Yueguan [月官]) was still (c. 673) alive in Eastern India (T. 2125 [LIV] 228a9 ff.,…


(4,622 words)

Author(s): Lang, Karen C. | Etschinger, Vincent
Candrakīrti (Tib. Zla ba grags pa) is one of the most outstanding intellectual personalities of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism and Madhyamaka. Besides composing one of the most important post-Nāgārjuna Mādhyamika treatises, the  Madhyamakāvatāra, Candrakīrti commented on most of Nāgārjuna’s and Āryadeva’s philosophical works. Radical in his critique of Yogācāra idealism and the nascent Buddhist epistemological “school”, Candrakīrti was an uncompromising opponent of Bhāviveka’s use of independent reasoning at the surface level of w…


(26,045 words)

Author(s): Jonathan A. Silk
Canonicity as a general concept revolves around authority, and therefore around power and the exercise of power: assertions about canonicity are therefore ipso facto attempts at assertion of power. In a Buddhist literary context, such assertions most centrally relate to the acceptance of works as scripture or holy writ, the nature and definition of such works, and the manner in which they are so valued. The connection of canonicity with power is certainly not limited to Buddhism: we see prominen…


(3,718 words)

Author(s): Péter-Dániel Szántó
Catuṣpīṭha may be either an abbreviation of the scriptural title Catuṣpīṭhatantra or the name of the textual cycle and teachings directly or supposedly based on that scripture. The Catuṣpīṭhatantra is one of the earlier yoginītantras, the penultimate wave of scriptural revelation in Indian esoteric Buddhism. It was composed most likely in the late 9th century in northeast India (Szántó, vol. I, 2012, 35ff.). Like other examples of the genre, the text for the most part teaches a pantheon, the initiation rite meant to create a qua…