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


(2,342 words)

Author(s): Steiner, Roland
Candragomin, the author of the Buddhist drama Lokānanda (Joy for the World) and the epistle Śiṣyalekha (Letter to a Disciple), is probably identical with the grammarian of the same name (BEB I: Dramatic Works: South Asia, 579; against this: Oberlies, 1989, 17–20; 1996, 266n2) who lived in the mid-5th-century CE (Oberlies, 1989, 12f.; Steiner, 1997, 32n4). According to the late 7th-century CE report of the Chinese pilgrim Yijing (義淨; 635–713), the playwright and Śiṣyalekha author Candra (Yueguan [月官]) was still (c. 673) alive in Eastern India (T. 2125 [LIV] 228a9 ff.,…


(4,622 words)

Author(s): Lang, Karen C. | Etschinger, Vincent
Candrakīrti (Tib. Zla ba grags pa) is one of the most outstanding intellectual personalities of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism and Madhyamaka. Besides composing one of the most important post-Nāgārjuna Mādhyamika treatises, the  Madhyamakāvatāra, Candrakīrti commented on most of Nāgārjuna’s and Āryadeva’s philosophical works. Radical in his critique of Yogācāra idealism and the nascent Buddhist epistemological “school”, Candrakīrti was an uncompromising opponent of Bhāviveka’s use of independent reasoning at the surface level of w…


(26,045 words)

Author(s): Jonathan A. Silk
Canonicity as a general concept revolves around authority, and therefore around power and the exercise of power: assertions about canonicity are therefore ipso facto attempts at assertion of power. In a Buddhist literary context, such assertions most centrally relate to the acceptance of works as scripture or holy writ, the nature and definition of such works, and the manner in which they are so valued. The connection of canonicity with power is certainly not limited to Buddhism: we see prominen…


(3,718 words)

Author(s): Péter-Dániel Szántó
Catuṣpīṭha may be either an abbreviation of the scriptural title Catuṣpīṭhatantra or the name of the textual cycle and teachings directly or supposedly based on that scripture. The Catuṣpīṭhatantra is one of the earlier yoginītantras, the penultimate wave of scriptural revelation in Indian esoteric Buddhism. It was composed most likely in the late 9th century in northeast India (Szántó, vol. I, 2012, 35ff.). Like other examples of the genre, the text for the most part teaches a pantheon, the initiation rite meant to create a qua…