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

Ritual Texts: Korea

(7,079 words)

Author(s): Heesook Nam
Buddhist ritual refers to the diverse ceremonial practices performed by the Buddhist community, and in the case of Korea, it encompasses the regulations governing the lives of Buddhists in Korean society and their essential features. Buddhist ritual texts denote the manuals that prescribe the rules and formalities of the liturgical proceedings for Buddhist rituals.Publication of Buddhist Ritual Texts in KoreaIn Korea, all surviving Buddhist ritual texts are from the Chosŏn (朝鮮) period (1392–1910; for a compilation of Buddhist texts published in the Chos…

Ritual Texts: South Asia

(4,672 words)

Author(s): Péter-Dániel Szántó
For most of its flourish in South Asia, Buddhism was not averse to rituals. In fact, in its highly successful esoteric manifestation, the prescriptive literature of which forms the focus of this entry, performance of rituals became the dominant feature of the religion. From relatively humble beginnings as short scriptures containing spells and their applications promising the fulfillment of a variety of worldly aims, ritual literature grew at a very fast pace, culminating in grand compendia of s…

Ritual Texts: Tibet: New Tantras (Gsar ma)

(8,817 words)

Author(s): David B. Gray
The “new” ( gsar ma) tantric ritual literature was the product of the translation activity of the “latter transmission” ( phyi dar) of Buddhist teachings to Tibet, which began in the late 10th century and concluded circa the 14th century, when the flow of texts and practices between Tibet and India was reduced to a trickle. It includes translations of Indian Buddhist works as well as Tibetan ritual literature composed by scholars in the “new” schools of Tibetan Buddhism that were established on the basis of the new …

Rnying ma Tantras

(5,950 words)

Author(s): Robert Mayer
Tibetan scholars conventionally divide their canonical tantric literature under two major rubrics: the old tantras ( rnying ma) of the earlier spread of the doctrine ( bstan pa snga dar) and the new tantras ( gsar ma), of the later spread of the doctrine ( bstan pa phyi dar). The terminology developed after many previously unknown translations of Indian texts began to enter Tibet from the late 10th century onward, becoming known as the new tantras: hence the tantric traditions that had appeared before became known as the old tantras.This distinction applied only within the most esot…