Brill's Encyclopedia of Buddhism. Volume One

Literature and Languages


Edited by Jonathan A. Silk, Leiden University, Editor-in-Chief. Consulting Editors: Oskar von Hinüber, Albert-Ludwigs University of Freiburg and Vincent Eltschinger, Austrian Academy of Sciences
It has been evident for many years that no authoritative, reliable, and up-to-date reference work on Buddhism yet exists in any language. Brill’s Encyclopedia of Buddhism aims to fill that gap with a comprehensive work, presented in two phases: a series of six thematic volumes including an index volume, addressing issues of global and regional importance, to be followed by an ever-expanding online resource providing access both to synthetic and comprehensive treatments and to more individuated details on persons, places, texts, doctrinal matters, and so on.
Illustrated with maps and photographs, and supplemented with extensive online resources, the print version of the thematic encyclopedia will present the latest research on the main aspects of the Buddhist traditions in original essays written by the world’s foremost scholars. The encyclopedia aims at a balanced and even-handed view of Buddhist traditions, presenting the most reliable accounts of well-known issues and filling gaps in heretofore-neglected areas. In doing so, it emphasizes that Buddhism is simultaneously constituted by a plurality of regional traditions and a far-reaching phenomenon spanning almost all of Asia, and more recently far beyond as well.
Volume I, which appeared in 2015, surveys Buddhist literatures, scriptural and nonscriptural, and offers discussions of the languages of Buddhist traditions and the physical bases (manuscripts, epigraphy, etc.) available for the study of Buddhist literatures. Subsequent volumes will address issues of personages, communities, history, life and practice, doctrine, space and time, and Buddhism in the modern world.

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Biographical Note

Jonathan Silk is professor in the study of Buddhism at Leiden University. His research centers on the scriptural literature of Indian Buddhism. Vincent Eltschinger has been a research fellow at the Austrian Academy of Sciences since 2003. His research focuses on the genealogy and the religious background of late Indian Buddhist philosophy. Among his numerous publications, mention can be made of Buddhist Epistemology as Apologetics (Vienna, 2014) and a series of articles dedicated to the sources and polemical targets of Aśvaghoṣa. Oskar von Hinüber is professor emeritus at the Albert-Ludwigs University of Freiburg and ordinary member of the Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur, Mainz, foreign ordinary member (Associé étranger) of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, Paris, and corresponding member of the Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna. He has mainly published in the fields of ancient Indian cultural history, historical grammar and literature of Middle Indo-Aryan languages, the Buddhist manuscript tradition, and epigraphy.

Editorial Board

Editorial Advisory Board: Lucia Dolce, Johan Elverskog, Harunaga Isaacson, Christian Lammerts, Robert Mayer, Juhyung Rhi, Francesco Sferra and Stefano Zacchetti

Table of contents

Preliminary Table of Contents Volume I Scriptural: General: Canonicity; Tripiṭaka; Āgama / Nikāya; Abhidharma; Dazangjing; Kanjur; Tanjur Mahāyāna Sūtra Literature: Overview; Buddhāvataṃsaka; Dhāraṇī Sūtras; Laṅkāvatāra; Lotus Sūtra; Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra; Prajñāpāramitā; Pure Land Sūtras;Samādhirāja; Sandhinirmocana; Suvarṇabhāsottama; Tathāgatagarbha; Vimalakīrtinirdeśa; Chinese Buddhist Apocrypha; Mahāyāna Sūtra Anthologies Tantric Literature: Overview; Catuṣpītha; Guhyasamāja; Hevajra; Kālacakra; Mañjuśrīnāmasaṃgīti; Śamvara; Sarvabuddhasamāyogaḍākinījālaśaṃvara; Sarvavtathāgatatattvasaṃgraha; Vairocanābhisaṃbodhi; Rnying ma; Gter ma Vinaya Literature; Vinayas; Vinaya Commentarial Literature in Pali; Monastic Organizational Guidelines Nonscriptural: Commentary: Early Scripture Commentary; Abhidharma Commentarial Literature; Mahāyāna Sūtra Commentaries: East Asia; Tantric Commentaries: India; Rishukyo and Its Commentarial Tradition; Putixinlun Belles Lettres: Narratives: South Asia; Poetry: South Asia; Narratives: Tibet; Poetry: China: Pre-Song; Poetry: China: Song and After; Narratives and Drama: China; Narratives: Japan; Poetry: Japan; Korean Buddhist Literature in Korean; Korean Buddhist Literature in Chinese; Narrative: Southeast Asia Dramatic Works: South Asia; Tibet; Central Asia; Japan; Philosophical Literature; India; Tibet; China; Korea; Japan Ritual Texts: South Asia; New Tantras (Gsar ma); Rnying ma; Korea; Chinese (Esoteric) Buddhist Liturgical Manuals from Dunhuang; Fang Yankou Rites; Chinese Tantric Texts in Court Circles; Tantric Ritual Manuals in East Asia; Chan Literature Biography and Hagiography: Epistolary Literature; Tibet; Japan Teaching Literature: Tantric Prakaraṇas; Debate Literature: Japan; Doxography: Tibet; Iconography Historiography: South Asia; Tibet; China; Japan; Thailand and Laos; Burma Local Literatures: Tamil; Nepal; Bön; Sogdian; Tangut/Xixia; Khotanese; Uighur; Mongolia; Japan; Yunnan; Sri Lanka; Mainland Southeast Asia Languages: Indic; Tibetan; Central Asian Languages; Chinese; Southeast Asian Languages Physical Bases: Manuscripts and Printing: South, Southeast, and Central Asia; Manuscripts and Printing: Tibet; Manuscripts and Printing: East Asia; Epigraphy: South Asia; Epigraphy: Southeast Asia; Epigraphy: Tibet and Central Asia; Epigraphy: East Asia


All those interested in religions in South Asia, the history of Buddhism, as well as Indologists and historians of religions.


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