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

Philosophical Literature: Japan

(10,589 words)

Author(s): Sueki Fumihiko
Buddhist philosophical literature in Japan makes extensive use of Classical Chinese works, and with the exception of certain works written in Japanese, it was the norm for Buddhist philosophical literature in Japan to be written in Classical Chinese. Japanese Buddhism, along with that of China, Vietnam, and the Korean Peninsula, thus belongs to the Classical Chinese Buddhist cultural sphere. Classical Chinese, within this sphere, played a role similar to that of Latin in the Western world.Despite this use of a common language and set of cultural assumptions, there is m…

Philosophical Literature: South Asia

(18,876 words)

Author(s): Vincent Eltschinger
Kamalaśīla (740–795 ce?), one of the most outstanding figures in the history of Indian Buddhism, composed and glossed works on logic, epistemology, and Madhyamaka; commented on important Mahāyāna sūtras such as the Vajracchedikā and the Śālistamba; and, besides being versed in Tantra, authored treatises in defense of the view that salvation results from a gradual cultivation process extending over innumerable lifetimes. Mutatis mutandis, the same can be said of the most revered Indian Buddhist authorities, Nāgārjuna, Vasubandhu, …

Philosophical Literature: Tibet

(13,930 words)

Author(s): Jonathan Samuels | Berthe Jansen
Although Tibetan lacks an emic term that might correspond to “philosophy”, there is certainly an indigenous conceptual domain that can broadly be characterized as philosophical. This territory is to some extent demarcated by terms such as lta ba (“view”; Skt. darśana), which has been understood in contradistinction to spyod pa (“conduct”; Skt. caryā). Some basic tenets of faith go unquestioned, including belief in the efficacy of the three jewels (the Buddha, his teachings, and his community), the workings of karma, the existence of past and futu…