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Canonicity

(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…

Introduction

(5,798 words)

Author(s): Jonathan A. Silk Leiden, August, 2015
Works sometimes considered to be “Buddhist Encyclopedias” have existed at least since the 7th century in China, compilations such as those of Daoshi (道世; 591?–683 ce), the Fayuan zhulin (法苑珠林; The Pearl Forest in the Dharma Park; T. 2122) and the Zhujing yaoji (諸經要集; Collection of Key Passages from Scripture; T. 2123; for both see Teiser, 1985). But the categorization of such texts as “encyclopedia” indicates something rather different than what we generally intend by the term in modern usage. In traditional China, as earlier in the Wes…