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.

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Dhāraṇī Sūtras

(5,738 words)

Author(s): Gergely Hidas
Dhāraṇī literature is one of the least-studied streams of Buddhist scriptural traditions. While the meaning of dhāraṇī is complex and context sensitive, those texts called dhāraṇī scriptures can be defined in most cases as works centered on a dhāraṇī spell. This diverse body of incantation literature has existed for some two millennia, and practices related to it have been popular and widespread up to the present time. Although several dhāraṇī scriptures and numerous individual dhāraṇī spells survive in Central, East, and Southeast Asia in Sanskrit, the present articl…