Encyclopedia of Buddhism Online

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Brill’s Encyclopedia of Buddhism is the first comprehensive academic reference work devoted to the plurality of Buddhist traditions across Asia, offering readers a balanced and detailed treatment of this complex phenomenon in six thematically arranged volumes: literature and languages (I, publ. 2015), lives (II, publ. 2019), thought (III, forthcoming 2022), history (IV, forthcoming 2023), life and practice (V, forthcoming 2025), index and remaining issues (VI, forthcoming 2026).

Each volume contains substantial original essays by many of the world’s foremost scholars, essays which not only cover basic information and well-known issues but which also venture into areas as yet untouched by modern scholarship. An essential tool for anyone interested in Buddhism.
An online resource will provide easy access to the encyclopedia’s ever-growing corpus of information.

The online edition of volume 2 (Lives, publ. 2019) will be added in (mid-)2021, with further volumes following after their original publication in print.
Brill’s Encyclopedia of Buddhism is under the general editorial control of Jonathan Silk (Leiden University, editor-in-chief), Richard Bowring (University of Cambridge) and Vincent Eltschinger (École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris). In addition, each volume has a dedicated board of specialist editors.

More information: Brill.com


(6,844 words)

Author(s): Iyanaga, Nobumi | Jansen, Berthe
The term ḍākinī (Chn. tujini [荼吉尼]/ zhazhini [吒枳尼]; Jpn. Dakini; Tib. mkha’ ’gro ma) has been understood in a variety of ways. It can be traced back to the early 5th century, although the figures referred to with this name were not widely known until the blossoming of Tantric literature around the late 7th century. It is regularly seen as synonymous with the term yoginī – especially in tantric Buddhist sources (Hatley, 2007, 47) – and explained to mean “goddesses with magical powers” (Waddell, 1972 [1895], 366) or “a class, mainly of female sprites, akin to …


(3,646 words)

Author(s): Jülch, Thomas
Daoxuan (道宣; 596–667) was an extraordinarily productive and versatile monk scholar, who left his imprint in more than one field in the history of Chinese Buddhism. Especially in Vinaya scholarship and Buddhist historiography his influence and importance are unparalleled. His biography is found in the Song Gaoseng zhuan (宋高僧傳, T. 2061 [L] 790b7–791b26). Life Daoxuan was born in the Sui dynasty capital of Chang’an (長安), but moved with his parents to Jiankang (建康; present-day Nanjing), the former capital of the Chen (陳) dynasty. To enter the saṅgha, h…


(8,924 words)

Author(s): Channa, Li
Devadatta (Chn. Tipodaduo [提婆達多], Tiaoda [調達], Tianshou [天授]; Tib. Lhas [s ]byin) is commonly presented in Buddhist literature as Śākyamuni’s main rival. Generally said to be Śākyamuni’s cousin, he is portrayed perhaps most prominently as the instigator of the first schism in the Buddhist monastic community. Although the core narrative of Devadatta shared by the extant Vinayas depicts him as no more than an active separatist who intended to impose more severe monastic rules on the community, his role was q…