Encyclopedia of Buddhism (Encyclopedia of World Religions)

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Authors: Edward A. Irons
  • ISBN: 9780816054596
  • Price: LE 189.60
  • Special Offer Price: LE 151.68
  • Number Of Pages: 634
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Categories Encyclopedia  
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Facts On File has made the study of Buddhism much more accessible with the most recent addition to its Encyclopedia of World Religions series. More than 600 entries are concise yet surprisingly comprehensive for a one-volume work. Most notable are the biographical entries for lesser-known figures who do not grace the pages of larger reference sets like the Encyclopedia of Religion (2d ed., 2005). These figures include Buddhists past (Maitripa, 11th century) and present (Thich Nhat Hanh). The long line of Dalai Lamas is well represented, too. Asian regions like China and Thailand understandably receive lengthy entries in the encyclopedia. However, geographical perspectives from outside Asia are also highlighted—places like Australia, Canada, South America, and the U.S. Entries on Art, aesthetics, and architecture and on Buddhist festivals flank many conceptual treatments (e.g., Hell, Wheel of Life, Yin-yang). Noticeably absent are illustrations. There are surprisingly few in the volume, and those that are present are not in color. Like most major religions, Buddhism has its neighboring faith traditions, including several East Asian religions such as Daoism, Confucianism, and Shinto. Each of these receives major entries along with numerous references throughout. Consistently, readers are gently guided through potentially puzzling religious concepts. The contributors assume very little or no expertise from their readers. The tone is only slightly academic, with numerous source recommendations for more serious researchers. In fact, among the work’s greatest strengths are the further-reading suggestions, primarily print but including an occasional Web site, that accompany the majority of entries. The volume concludes with a more general 10-page bibliography as well as a meaty but compact index. Like others in the series, this encyclopedia is well suited for public libraries and academic collections. --Wade Osburn.