The reference literature for Asian philosophy is scant, probably because philosophy and religion are viewed in the West as more inextricably linked in Asian cultures. Many reference works address Asian religious traditions, but the Encyclopedia of Asian Philosophy
aims to treat only philosophy, including "religion only in so far as it relates to philosophy."
Alphabetically arranged entries are signed by the scholars who wrote them and conclude with bibliographies. They range from ancient times through the twentieth century and include individuals (Gandhi, Mencius), schools of thought (Kagyu school, Yoga), texts (Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads), and concepts (Free will, Subject and object). Topics are drawn from the traditions of Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Shinto, and Zoroastrianism and cover the geographic areas of China, India, Japan, Korea, Melanesia, and Tibet. Given their proximity to Asia as well as their experience with indigenous cultures, there are entries for Australia and New Zealand, too. There is also coverage of Western influence on Asian philosophy, an example being Western learning in Japan. Extensive cross-referencing and see also recommendations are used throughout. The encyclopedia begins with a lengthy general bibliography and a thematic outline of entries by religious tradition and geographic area and ends with separate name and subject indexes.
Two other sources treat Asian philosophy fairly exclusively. The first is the Companion Encyclopedia of Asian Philosophy (Routledge, 1997). Its drawback is that it consists of lengthy, thematic essays and not discrete entries. Key Concepts in Eastern Philosophy (Routledge, 1999) follows a dictionary-like format, but compared to this new encyclopedia, the entries are fewer in number and shorter in length, with no individuals treated in separate entries. The Encyclopedia of Asian Philosophy is a valuable resource for readers interested in both Western and Asian philosophy, Asian religions, and Asian culture and civilization and is recommended for academic and large public libraries. RBB
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