From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
More than 2,000 entries are alphabetically arranged from abhabba- tthana, the five things of which an arhat, or enlightened one, is said to be incapable, to Zimme Pannasa, the Burmese term for a collection of birth stories of the Buddha. Most entries are transliterations from Sanskrit, Chinese, Japanese, Pali, and so on, giving the work a very academic flavor and seeming to require some prior knowledge of the subject. In fairness, the author does state in his preface that this work is more of a companion to the growing literature on Buddhism rather than an introduction to it. The treatment of particular countries (e.g., China, India) as well as those for collections of sacred texts can serve as introductory essays of a sort. There are entries for terms in English (e.g., Diet, Reincarnation), including some on contemporary issues, such as Cloning and Stem cell research.
Despite the work's academic bent, entries provide no supplemental bibliographies. This is an especially disappointing omission in the appendix, which outlines the divisions of the three main collections of canonical scriptures (i.e., Pali Canon, Chinese Canon, and Tibetan Canon), as finding translations of particular sacred texts can be difficult.
The Concise Encyclopedia of Buddhism (Oneworld, 2000) also lacks a true index and supplemental bibliographies for entries but has some features the Oxford title doesn't, namely, a nice introductory essay on Buddhist history, doctrines, and literature as well as a thematic bibliography. Its coverage, however, is not as comprehensive, with just over 900 entries. Although Oxford's Dictionary of Buddhism may not be all it could be, it does provide authoritative and convenient treatment of a wide range of subjects. Academic and public libraries would do well to acquire it. RBB
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