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Buddhadharma : Spring 2014
SPRING 2014 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 75 THE PRINCETON DICTIONARY OF BUDDHISM By Robert E. Buswell Jr. and Donald S. Lopez Jr. Princeton, 2013 1,265 pages; $65 BUDDHISM— AtoZ gathers some of the most important lists found in Buddhist sources, from the one vehicle to the two truths to the one hun dred dharmas of the Yogacara school. The dictionary is the result of a long collaboration between Robert Bus well Jr., professor of Buddhist Studies at UCLA and founding director of the Center for Buddhist Studies and Center for Korean Studies, and Donald Lopez Jr., professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies at the University of Michigan. With a wealth of recent scholarship available to them and the assistance of many graduate students, and building on their experience compiling the two volume Encyclopedia of Buddhism over a decade ago, the two set the ambitious goal of creating a dictionary that begins to represent the full range of Buddhist traditions, not just one school or region. One of Buswell and Lopez’s primary objectives was to provide balanced cov erage of Tibetan and Korean Buddhist terminology. Earlier Western scholar ship tended to neglect Tibetan and Korean Buddhism, but over the past few decades the study of these tradi tions has intensified, affording greater access to their specialized vocabularies. Terms shared across Buddhist languages are also meticulously crossreferenced, an especially useful feature for scholars seeking parallels between traditions. Buswell and Lopez also hoped that a dictionary of such scope would challenge certain Western misconceptions about Buddhism. They anticipate that readers who believe Buddhism is a philosophy or a “way of life” and not a religion will be surprised by the bevy of miraculous tales about the Buddha and other semi nal figures, as well as by the elaborate systems of heavens and hells and various hagiographic stories of teachers. Much more than a compilation of the philosophies of elite Buddhist fig ures, the Dictionary deepens our under standing of local traditions and their unique approaches to Buddhist prac tice, offering glimpses into the many Buddhisms and Buddhist belief systems that have developed over the past two and a half millennia. Both professional and amateur scholars will want to keep The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism within easy reach. REVIEWS Reviewed by Rory Lindsay With over five thousand entries totaling over one million words, The Princeton Dictionary of Bud- dhism is the longest Buddhist dictionary ever produced in English. It provides more comprehensive coverage of the vast range of Buddhist ideas, figures, things, and places than any previous dictionary, targeting the six major canonical lan guages—Sanskrit, Pali, Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean—while also featur ing terms and proper names in vernacu lar Burmese, Lao, Mongolian, Sinhalese, Thai, and Vietnamese. In addition to its main entries, which offer both a concise definition and a short essay on each term’s meaning and context, the dictionary includes an impressive set of reference tools: a list of Asian historical periods (to which many of the entries refer); a timeline of Buddhism syncing critical moments in Buddhist history with general world his tory; multiple maps of Buddhist regions across time (including the Mount Sum eru world system as viewed from above and from the side); and a list of lists that