Cover image for Encyclopedia of Buddhism
Encyclopedia of Buddhism
Buswell, Robert E., Jr., 1953-
Publication Information:
New York : Macmillan Reference USA/Thomson/Gale, [2004]

Physical Description:
2 volumes (xxxix, 981 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates) : illustrations (some color), maps ; 29 cm
v. 1. A-L -- v. 2. M-Z, appendix, index.


Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BQ128 .E62 2004 V.1 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ
BQ128 .E62 2004 V.2 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ

On Order



Providing a comprehensive overview of one of Asia's most important religious and social forces, the "Encyclopedia of Buddhism describes the Buddhist world view, basic teachings and practices of Buddhism, as well as its different schools and sects. In addition to containing entries on Buddhist scriptures, art, architecture, saints, demons, monastic orders, festivals, rites and ceremonies, this new two-volume set explores the history of Buddhism, the different forms it has taken in different parts of the world, and how Buddhism has blended with other religions like Shinto, Confucianism, Taoism and Christianity.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Buddhism, according to the editor in chief of this encyclopedia, "is one of the three major world religions, along with Christianity and Islam." Unlike the other two, however, Buddhism lacks substantial reference works in Western languages. The majority are single-volume works, defining terms, concepts, deities, etc. The Encyclopedia of Buddhism0 , on the other hand, "seeks to document the range and depth of the Buddhist tradition in its many manifestations." The nearly 500 entries are alphabetically arranged, signed by their authors, and conclude with see0 references and supplemental bibliographies. Article length ranges from 50 to 4,000 words. There are illustrations throughout, including three maps on the diffusion of Buddhism in Asia as well as an eight-page insert of color plates in each volume. The set ends with several time lines of Buddhist history and a good index. Given the long history Buddhism has enjoyed and the many different cultural regions and national traditions in which it has developed, two volumes are not enough to do the subject justice. Consequently, the entries tend to be thematic and inclusive in nature, with specific mention of, say, an individual or place being made within a broader survey article. While the cosmological, doctrinal, and ritual aspects of Buddhism are covered extensively, entries also treat the cultural, social, and political contexts that have shaped and been shaped by Buddhist thought (e.g., Economics, Education,0 Law0 ). Entries for geographic locations provide nice historical surveys of the development of Buddhism to the present day and include the U.S and Europe. Buddhism's interaction with other world religions and philosophies (e.g., Christianity and Buddhism, Communism and Buddhism,0 ainism and Buddhism0 ) is treated. Finally, recognizing that Buddhism is a force in the world today, the editor has included entries that provide Buddhist perspectives on issues of contemporary concern (e.g., Abortion, Gender, Modernity and Buddhism0 ). The editor is correct to point out that covering Buddhism in its entirety is impossible in so short a work. Nevertheless, the\b \b0 Encyclopedia of Buddhism 0 is a welcome addition to the reference literature for the tradition itself and, more broadly, Buddhist and Asian studies. Public and academic libraries serving readers with interest in these areas would do well to acquire it. -- RBB Copyright 2004 Booklist

Library Journal Review

Buswell (Korean & Chinese Buddhism, UCLA), a strong editorial board, and 250 contributors from around the world have produced an outstanding encyclopedia that succeeds in its aim to document "the range and depth of the Buddhist tradition in its many manifestations." Intended for nonspecialists, some 470 scholarly, signed, and highly readable entries, ranging from 50 to 40,000 words in length, address Buddhist history and doctrines from cultural and national perspectives worldwide. The entries also address sacred texts and significant places, people, and schools. Each concludes with a bibliography of scholarly works, many of which, however, will prove difficult to locate in public or smaller academic libraries. Access to the alphabetically arranged entries is effectively augmented by a detailed subject index, a thematic listing of entries, and plentiful cross references. Readers seeking an introduction to issues affecting or affected by Buddhism as well as students of comparative religion will benefit from the many longer articles treating broad concepts, such as "Buddhist Studies," "Politics and Buddhism," or "Christianity and Buddhism," in which the author provides examples or case studies from multiple traditions (e.g., Chan, Mahayana) or nations (e.g., Tibet, United States). While each volume offers eight pages of vibrant color photographs to spark interest, the 150 line drawings supporting entries seem sparsely placed. One of the very few encyclopedia-like, English-language resources addressing Buddhism broadly, this work is highly recommended.-James R. Kuhlman, Univ. of North Carolina Lib., Asheville (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Macmillan sets a new standard of excellence for Western reference works on Buddhism with the most impressive reference title published in the past several years. Until now, browsing the reference shelves for Buddhism has been limited to encyclopedias that include Buddhism along with other Eastern religions; they often have poor binding, nondescript covers with embossed lettering already flaking, and dingy paper that appears to have been made from recycled pulp. By contrast, every detail about Macmillan's set reflects the care and pride that went into its creation--extensive bibliographies, signed articles by a global roster of contributors, dazzling color plates depicting the warm tones of Buddhist art, and spectacular aerial photographs of remote Buddhist temples. This first-class effort will be most welcome and has been long awaited. Editor Buswell (Asian languages and studies, Univ. of California, and Director of its Center of Buddhist Studies) and his advisors and contributors leave no stone unpolished, even incorporating the most suitable fonts for Asian languages. It requires more than two volumes to capture the vast, rich, varied history, development, and spread of Buddhism. The magnitude of the undertaking is daunting and helps explain the absence of first-quality Western reference sources, but the synoptic outline of this work's 24 major sections shows the restraint practiced to limit the scope of the task. The set concludes with brief chronologies of the history of Buddhism in Asia and a detailed index. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All college and university library collections. R. L. Abbott University of Evansville