Latest Issue: Vol 33, No 1-2 (2016) 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 34.1 (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
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®

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


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...

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...

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...

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...

Cambodian Buddhism: History and Practice , Ian Harris (Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai’i Press, 2005), 352pp, $62/£39.95, ISBN 0824827651

Posted: 2007-10-08More...

Most Recent Articles


Tibetan Evidence for the Sources of Chapters of the Synoptic Suvarṇa-prabhāsottama-sūtra T 664 Ascribed to Paramārtha

Four chapters survive of a supposed translation of the Suvarṇa-prabhāsottama-sūtra by Paramārtha (499–569). Versions of these chapters are also found in a later Chinese version of the sūtra by Yijing. In earlier work, I have argued that these chapters were most likely composed in China, basing my argument upon extensive verbatim correspondences between these chapters and a number of earlier Chinese texts. However, a significant obstacle still stands in the way of this thesis. A Tibetan version of the sūtra (here called 'Tib II') also includes the same chapters, and Tibetan tradition holds that this version is a translation from Sanskrit. Here, I examine evidence that suggests that these portions of Tib II might in fact be translations from Chinese, despite the reports of Tibetan bibliographers. In closing, I consider some broader implications of my findings.
Posted: 2016-01-18More...

Images of the Four Heavenly Kings in Unified Silla As the Symbol of National Defense

This paper aims to examine the role of the Four Heavenly Kings in Silla. The Four Heavenly Kings first created in Silla were all enshrined in the royal memorial temples. The temples are also those situated respectively in the four directions, with Silla royal capital at the center. The fact that they were all enshrined in the royal memorial temples, especially in the stupa, proves that the Four Heavenly Kings had their own special implications. The role of the Four Heavenly Kings in Silla was not only to protect the temple, but also, more importantly, to protect the whole nation.
Posted: 2016-01-18More...

The Ancient Theravāda Meditation System, Borān Kammaṭṭhāna: Ānāpānasati or ‘Mindfulness of The Breath’ in Kammatthan Majjima Baeb Lamdub

In Thailand the pre-reform Theravāda meditation system, borān kammaṭṭhāna, is now practised only by small and isolated groups. To promote detailed comparative study of borān kammaṭṭhāna, the tradition of it taught at Wat Ratchasittharam, Thonburi, is explored through a translation of a text on ānāpānasati attributed to Suk Kaitheun, the head of its lineage. This is followed by a detailed discussion and comparison with the description of the same technique in the Visuddhimagga. Some close connections between these two sources are identified and it is speculated that, despite features concerning nimitta, bodily location, terminology etc. that are diagnostically distinctive for borān kammaṭṭhāna, its method for ānāpānasati can be seen as a rational development of earlier techniques advocated by Buddhaghosa.
Posted: 2016-01-18More...

Observations on Some Technical Terms in the *Vimuttimagga and their English Translations: An Examination of Jiā (夾) and Visayappavatti

In the Chinese text of the *Vimuttimagga, namely the Jiĕtuō dào lùn (解脫道論), the word jiā (夾) is used as a technical abhidhamma term. It is used to refer to an initial cognitive activity through the five material sense organs. In the published English translation, the term is not understood clearly.
There are similarities and differences between the two terms, jiā (夾)and visayappavatti. They are linked to similar doctrinal structures and technical terminology, especially the concept of bhavaṅga, which is a distinctive doctrine of Sri Lankan Theravāda. On the other hand, visayappavatti implies an initial cognitive activity by any of the six sense organs, while the term jiā refers to an initial cognitive activity only through the five material sense organs.
A comparative study of the two terms proposes the following implications. Firstly, the text *Vimuttimagga is related to Sri Lankan Pāli abhidhamma because the orientation of the two terms is more than similar. Secondly, the text represents an early phase of the extant Pāli abhidhamma because the term jiā is less mature terminology than the term visayappavatti.
Posted: 2016-01-18More...

The Liberative Role of Jhānic Joy (Pīti) and Pleasure (Sukha) in the Early Buddhist Path to Awakening

This paper challenges the traditional Buddhist positioning of the four jhànas under the category of `concentration meditation' and the premise regarding their secondary and superfluous role in the path of liberation. It seeks to show that the common interpretation of the jhànas as absorption-concentration, attainments that have no liberative value, is incompatible with the teachings of the Pàli Nikàyas. The paper argues few things: First, that one attains the jhànas, not by fixating the mind or being absorbed into a meditation object, but by releasing and letting go of the foothold of the unwholesome mind. Second and related, that the entrance into the first jhàna is the actualization and embodiment of insight practice. Third, that jhànic joy (piti) and pleasure (sukha) has significant liberative importance in the path of liberation; they allow the mind to let go of a rooted and basic tendency that causes suffering: the tendency to desire sensual pleasures (kàma).
Posted: 2016-01-18More...



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