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

Early Sarvāstivāda Masters

(3,622 words)

Author(s): Dessein, Bart
Of the many Sarvāstivāda masters in India, four stand out for having been connected to four peculiar interpretations of the nature of and reason why entities ( dharmas) that have an unchanging substance ( dravya) proceed through the three time periods (past, present, and future). These four masters are, namely, Vasumitra (Shiyou [世友]; Poxumi [婆須 蜜]), Dharmatrāta (Fajiu [法救]; Damodanluoduo [達磨呾邏多]), Ghoṣaka (Miaoyin [妙音]; Jusha [懼沙]; Qusha [瞿沙]; Jusha [巨沙]), and Buddhadeva (Juetian [覺天]). The earliest extant source for the four interpretations is probably the *Āryavasumitrasaṃgṛh…

Early Scripture Commentary

(6,248 words)

Author(s): Oskar von Hinüber
A complete set of commentaries and subcommentaries on the Theravāda Tipiṭaka is preserved in the original language (Pali). This commentarial tradition begins with texts embedded in the Tipiṭaka and ends in late subcommentaries written during the 19th century. Theravāda commentaries are listed together with the basic text (Tipiṭaka) in H. Smith (1948). Commentaries of other schools usually survive only as translations, with the exception of important fragments of very early commentaries in Gandhari.It is impossible to date the first Theravāda commentaries. However, i…

Editors and Editorial Board

(660 words)

Bowring, Richard, is Professor Emeritus of Japanese Studies at the University of Cambridge, having held previous posts at Monash, Columbia and Princeton. He is known for his wide-ranging interest in many aspects of Japanese culture, from Murasaki Shikibu to Mori Ōgai. His more recent work includes two books on the religious and intellectual history of Japan: The Religious Traditions of Japan, 500–1600 (2005) and In Search of the Way: Thought and Religion in Early-Modern Japan, 1582–1860 (2017). Dolce, Lucia, is Numata Reader in Japanese Buddhism and Chair of the Centre fo…