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

Gter ma

(5,329 words)

Author(s): Janet Gyatso
The Tibetan category of gter ma (“treasure”) refers to sacred scriptures and ritual objects that are discovered through a visionary process leading to these objects’ extraction from the ground, or, in more recent times, memory. By virtue of being concealed and then found, these items are like buried treasure, hence the moniker. Throughout its history, the gter ma mode of transmission provided an authoritative venue for Tibetan authors to write poetic and inspired ritual manuals, doctrinal treatises, and histories of religion, facilitating innovation a…


(6,181 words)

Author(s): Ryugen Tanemura
The Guhyasamājatantra (Scripture of Esoteric Assembly) is one of the most influential scriptures in later Indian tantric Buddhism. The key term “esoteric assembly” here is explained in the scripture itself (ch. 18) as the aggregate ( samāja) of body, speech, and mind ( guhya). It is the principal scripture of the yogottaratantra class, the wave following the yogatantra in the historical development of tantric literature. In this scripture, esoteric eroticism, only marginal in the yogatantras, has moved to the foreground, and multi-faced, multi-armed male deities are r…