Latest Issue: Vol 34, No 2 (2017) RSS2 logo

Buddhist Studies Review

Peter Harvey, University of Sunderland
Alice Collett, Nalanda University

Book Review Editor
Christopher Jones

Please send books for review to:
Christopher Jones
Oriental Institute
11 Pusey Lane
OX1 2LE, United Kingdom

Buddhist Studies Review is published by Equinox on behalf of the UK Association for Buddhist Studies. The Association was founded in 1996 and two years later took over publication of Buddhist Studies Review, which had been run since 1983 by Russell Webb and Sara Boin-Webb. Membership in the Association includes a subscription to the journal among other benefits.You can join the Association through the membership pages on their website.

The journal seeks to publish quality articles on any aspect of Buddhism, with submitted papers being blind peer-reviewed by two experts prior to acceptance. Relevant fields for the journal are: the different cultural areas where Buddhism exists or has existed (in South, Southeast, Central and East Asia); historical and contemporary aspects (including developments in 'Western' Buddhism); theoretical, practical and methodological issues; textual, linguistic, archaeological and art-historical studies; and different disciplinary approaches to the subject (e.g. Archaeology, Art History, Anthropology, Asian Studies, Comparative Religion, Law, Oriental Studies, Philosophy, Philology, Psychology, Religious Studies, Theology). It will consider articles from both established scholars and research students, from the UK or elsewhere.


BSR 34.2 (2017)

Peter Harvey
Language Theory, Phonology, and Etymology in Buddhism and their relationship to Brahmanism
Bryan Levman
Local Buddhist Monastic Agreements
Masanori Shōno
A comparison of the Chinese and Pāli Saṃyukta/Saṃyuttas on the Venerable Mahā-Maudgalyāyana (Mahā-Moggallāna)
Mun-keat Choong
Lokanīti: Method of Adaption and New Vocabulary
Ujjwal Kumar
Ñāṇananda’s Concept and Reality: An Assessment
Stephen Arthur Evans
Curating the Sacred: Exhibiting Buddhism at the World Museum Liverpool
Louise Ann Tythacott
Book Reviews

Metrics/Indexing and Abstracting

CiteScore 2016: 0.13
H-Index 2015: 1
SJR 2015: 0.126 (2015)


Bibliography of Humanities and Social Sciences Literature, K.G. Saur Verlag

Index Buddhicus Online

Scopus Abstract and Citation Database

Web of Knowledge (Arts & Humanities Citation Index and Current Contents/Arts & Humanities)

European Reference Index (ERIH Plus)

ATLA Religion Database®

Religious & Theological Abstracts

Publication and Frequency: May and November
ISSN:0265-2897 (print)
ISSN: 1747-9681 (online)

Editorial Address: Peter Harvey, School of Art, Design, Media and Culture, Priestman Building, Green Terrace, Sunderland SR2 3PZ.

Most Viewed Articles


Popular Buddhist Ritual in Contemporary Hong Kong: Shuilu Fahui, a Buddhist Rite for Saving All Sentient Beings of Water and Land

Shuilu fahui (水陸法會) is a Buddhist rite for saving all sentient beings (pudu, 普度) with a complex layer of ritual activities incorporating elements of all schools of Chinese Buddhism, such as Tantric mantras, Tian Tai rituals of asking for forgiveness (chanfa, 懺法), and Pure Land reciting of Amitābha’s name. The ritual can be dated to the Tang Dynasty (c. 670–673 CE) and has been one of the most spectacular and popular rituals in Chinese Buddhism. Shuilu fahui is still performed in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, and continues to be very popular amongst such Chinese communities. This study is an aid to understanding how Chinese Buddhism is practised by monks and nuns in Hong Kong, and how they interact with lay Buddhists through Shuilu fahui. This rite constructs and represents a unified religious world that contains many important and profound religious meanings, and it continuous to ­develop in order to accommodate the various demands of people in Hong Kong.
Posted: 2008-05-18More...

The Bhikkhunī Ordination Debate: Global Aspirations, Local Concerns, with special emphasis on the views of the monastic community in Burma

This paper examines the recent events following the bhikkhunī revival in Sri Lanka, and looks at the position of the Burmese Saṅgha, which has traditionally seen itself as the custodian of an ‘authentic’ Buddhist legacy, thrown into a debate by the action of a Burmese bhikkhunī who was recently ordained in Sri Lanka. It introduces the early initiatives of revivalist monks in Burma as well as the viewpoints of Burmese Saṅgha and the nuns in regard to the bhikkhunī issue. Since most debate on the position of nuns take place without much reference to the local political contexts in which they stand, the state monastic organization in Burma is introduced to aid understanding of the framework in which the nuns operate today. At another level, the paper draws attention to the tension created between the international bhikkhunīs who promote liberal ideologies of gender equality, individual rights and universalism
into a faith based community, and local nuns who adhere to the traditional norms of religious duty, moral discipline and service to the community, and questions the ultimate aim in endorsing such secular ideals.
Posted: 2007-10-08More...

Mindfulness in Schools: Learning Lessons from the Adults, Secular and Buddhist

This paper explores the adult mindfulness landscape, secular and Buddhist, in order to inform an approach to the teaching of mindfulness in secondary schools. The Introduction explains the background to the project and the significant overlap between secular and Buddhist practices. I explain what mindfulness is and highlight a number of important practical differences between the teaching of mindfulness in the adult world and in schools. ‘Balancing Calm and Insight’ looks at mindfulness through a lens infrequently explored in the therapeutic literature, and suggests that a slight shift in the centre of gravity towards Calm might be appropriate. ‘Defining Objectives’ considers how difficult it is to clearly articulate the objective of mindfulness in schools given a new context in which it functions as neither clinical application nor spiritual practice. A range of alternatives is considered. ‘Building a Scaffolding’ explains the importance of context in both Buddhist and secular practice. To succeed, mindfulness should be nested within a broader framework of understanding, or what Kabat-Zinn calls a ‘scaffolding’. I suggest that perhaps the best ‘scaffolding’ for mindfulness in schools is its sense of possibility. ‘Ethics and Community’ describes how ethics are more important in secular mindfulness than they at first appear. The shape ethics might take in a school context is considered, then an assessment of the role of the teacher and what equivalent there might be for what Buddhists call saṅgha, or Community.
Posted: 2011-07-07More...

Toward a Global History of Buddhism and Medicine

The close relationship between Buddhism and medicine that has become so visible thanks to the contemporary ‘mindfulness revolution’ is not necessarily unique to the twenty-first century. The ubiquitous contemporary emphasis on the health benefits of Buddhist and Buddhist-inspired practice is in many ways the latest chapter in a symbiotic relationship between Buddhism and medicine that is both centuries-long and of global scope. This article represents the first steps toward writing a book that explores the global history of Buddhism and medicine ‘from Sarnath to Silicone Valley’. It identifies patterns in the transmission and reception of texts and ideas, networks of circulation, and intersections with local and regional histories that shaped the history of Buddhist ideas and practices concerning physical health and healing.
Posted: 2015-10-28More...

The Multi-life Stories of Gautama Buddha and Vardhamana Mahavira

Like Buddhist traditions, Jain traditions preserve many stories about people’s past lives. Unlike Buddhist traditions, relatively few of these stories narrate the past lives of the tradition’s central figure, the jina. In Jainism there is no equivalent path to the bodhisatt(v)a path; the karma that guarantees jinahood is bound a mere two births before that attainment, and the person who attracts that karma cannot do so willfully, nor is he aware of it being bound. There is therefore no Jain equivalent to the ubiquitous jātaka literature. In this paper I will explore what the absence of a jātaka genre in Jain traditions tells us about the genre’s role in Buddhism. Focusing upon the multi-life stories of Gautama Buddha and Vardhamāna Mahāvīra, I will ask how these two strikingly similar narratives betray some fundamental differences between Buddhist and Jain understandings of the ultimate religious goal and the method of its attainment.
Posted: 2012-07-12More...

Most Recent Articles


Māra in the Chinese Samyuktāgamas, with a Translation of the Māra Samyukta of the Bieyi za ahan jing (T.100)

This article addresses some philological and structural-narrative issues concerning the suttas on Māra the Bad in Āgama literature. Included is a translation of the Māra Samyukta of the Bieyi za ahan jing, which includes such famous passages as the suicide without further rebirth of Godhika.
Posted: 2018-06-20More...

Broken Buddhas and Burning Temples: A Re-examination of Anti-Buddhist Violence and Harassment in South Korea

From 1982 through 2016, Korean media outlets have reported over 120 instances of vandalism, arson and harassment targeting Buddhist temples and facilities in South Korea. An extension of on-going tensions between South Korea’s Buddhist and Evangelical Protestant communities, this one-sided wave of violence and harassment has caused the destruction of numerous temple buildings and priceless historical artifacts, millions of USD in damages, and one death. This article surveys these incidents of anti-Buddhist vandalism, arson, and harassment, analyzing their general characteristics and summarizing major instances of each, before examining the frequency of these incidents within the wider chronology of recent Evangelical-Buddhist tensions. It then examines the responses from South Korea’s Buddhist and Evangelical communities and various government agencies, as well as the effects of these responses, before investigating the relationship between these incidents and the mainstream Evangelical doctrines of religious exclusivism, dominionism and spiritual warfare. The article closes with a discussion of the need for further research into these incidents and the wider Evangelical-Buddhist tensions surveyed herein as well as the relevance of such research to inter-religious conflicts outside Korea.
Posted: 2018-01-02More...

Christianity as Model and Analogue in the Formation of the ‘Humanistic’ Buddhism of Tài Xū and Hsīng Yún

This article examines how modern Chinese Buddhism has been influenced by Christianity. For our purposes ‘modern Chinese Buddhism’ refers to a form of what has become known in the West as ‘Engaged Buddhism’, but in Chinese is known by titles which can be translated ‘Humanistic Buddhism’ or ‘Buddhism for Human Life’. This tradition was initiated on the Chinese mainland between the two World Wars by the monk Tài Xū, and Part one of the article is devoted to him. Since the communist conquest of China, its main branches have flourished in Taiwan, whence two of them have spread worldwide. The most successful, at least in numerical terms, has been Fo Guang Shan (‘Buddha’s Light Mountain’), founded by a personal disciple of Tài Xū, Hsing Yun, now very old, and it is on this movement that we concentrate in Parts two and three. We differentiate between conscious imitation and analogous development due to similar social circumstances, and show how Protestant Christianity and Roman Catholicism have had different effects. In Part four, we examine Fo Guang Shan as a missionary religion.
Posted: 2018-01-02More...

Bhikkhu Ñāṇananda’s Concept and Reality: A Reply to Stephen Evans

This article offers a critical reply to the assessment of Bhikkhu Kaṭukurunde Ñāṇananda’s Concept and Reality in Early Buddhist Thought (1971) published by Stephen Evans in Buddhist Studies Review 34(1), 2017. The alleged flaws and inconsistencies detected by Evans — both internal to the presentation in Concept and Reality and vis-à-vis the doctrinal evidence in the early Pali discourses — are re-addressed in the light of Bhikkhu Ñāṇananda’s work. In particular, the response aims at clarifying the compass of the categories of ‘concept’ and ‘reality’ in relation to perceptions and notions that arise due to conceptual proliferation according to the exegetical line put forward in Concept and Reality.
Posted: 2018-01-02More...

Beyond Class, Only Commentary: Rereading the Licchavis’ Origin Story in Buddhist Contexts

The origin story of the Licchavis, retold in two commentaries on Nikāya texts, has received some scant attention in the modern scholastic record, yet has usually been either cast aside as so much myth or has been recast in thematic or structural studies that align it with other tales of incest, foundling narratives, or origin stories of gaṇa-saṅghas. This article argues against those interpretations and offers a thorough rereading of the story as not only encoding a class hierarchy but also, in so doing, critiquing the Brahmanical class structure and the concept of svabhāva by birth. In this new interpretation of the story, and by reading it alongside other narratives, it becomes apparent that the origin story of the Licchavis makes sense within the context of the Buddhist commentaries where it is found. The account of their origins is not merely retelling an old story but furthering a Buddhist message.
Posted: 2018-01-02More...


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