Latest Issue: Vol 34, No 1 (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
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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
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®

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


Local Buddhist Monastic Agreements among the (Mūla)sarvāstivādins

Recently, there have been an increasing number of studies on the Buddhist monastic community as a whole and on individual Buddhist monks and nuns in Vinaya literature. However, we do not know much about how a local Buddhist monastic community was administered. In order to consider just an aspect of the administration in a local monastic community, I will in this paper investigate descriptions of agreements (Skt kriyākāra-) that local monastic communities or local Buddhist monks conclude in Vinaya texts belonging to the (Mūla)sarvāstivādins.
Posted: 2017-05-26More...

Ñāṇananda’s Concept and Reality: An Assessment

Bhikkhu Ñāṇananda’s Concept and Reality has exerted a certain influence on Buddhist Studies, from translations of the Pāli Nikāyas to interpretations of doctrine. Far beyond proposing translations for papañca and papañca-saññāsaṅkhā, the book lays out a thesis, supported and illustrated by frequent citations from the Nikāyas, concerning the role of concepts and language itself in perpetuating bondage to saṃsāra. Concepts and language are said to obscure reality in a self-perpetuating cycle that bars us from liberation. The thesis has intuitive force and profound implications for understanding the Pāli sources. However, the presentation is flawed by inconsistencies, lack of clarity, and overly interpretive translations of the Pāli — it is not even clear in important details precisely what Ñāṇananda’s intended thesis is. The present offering is an attempt at clarifying this seminal work so as to enable building upon it. The given thesis is elucidated, making its problems explicit, and suggesting resolutions, arriving finally with a proposal of what he may have intended. Along the way, I indicate where given support from the Nikāyas is weak.
Posted: 2017-05-26More...

Language Theory, Phonology and Etymology in Buddhism and their relationship to Brahmanism

The Buddha considered names of things and people to be arbitrary designations, with their meaning created by agreement. The early suttas show clearly that inter alia, names, perceptions, feelings, thinking, conceptions and mental proliferations were all conditioned dhammas which, when their nature is misunderstood, led to the creation of a sense of ‘I’, as well as craving, clinging and afflictions. Although names were potentially afflictive and ‘had everything under their power’ (Nāma Sutta), this did not mean that they were to be ignored or even neglected; words were to be penetrated and thoroughly understood, as an essential instrument for liberation. One of the problems of transmitting the Buddha’s teachings was the large number of disciples who did not speak an Indo-Aryan language as their first language or spoke a dialect different from that of the Teacher. This also led to altered transmission of the Vinaya and Suttas by disciples who could not hear certain phonological distinctions not present in their own language or dialect. Hundreds of these anomalies are preserved in the different editions of the canon, testifying to these transmission ambiguities. The passages dealing with this problem provide a valuable insight into the phonological issues that the early saṅgha had to deal with to try and preserve the integrity of the sāsana. At the same time the etymological practices of Brahmanism were imported into Buddhism very early, probably from the time of the Buddha himself, to demonstrate the intellectual superiority of the Buddha and his teachings. Despite the Buddha’s teachings on the arbitrary nature of language, the commentarial and grammatical traditions developed a sophisticated theoretical framework to analyse, explicate and reinforce some of the key Buddhist doctrinal terms. Also, an elaborate classification system of different types of names (nāman) was developed, to show that the language of the Buddha was firmly grounded in saccikaṭṭha, the highest truth, and that some terms were spontaneously arisen (opapātika), even though such a concept — that words by themselves could arise spontaneously and directly embody ultimate truth — was quite foreign to their Founder.
Posted: 2017-05-26More...

Lokanīti: Method of Adaption and New Vocabulary

In this paper I have made an attempt to discuss the adaptation method and new vocabulary employed and introduced by the Lokanīti (Ln). This text was composed in Burma most probably by Catruṅgabala around the fourteenth century CE. In premodern Burma Ln was used in monasteries to inculcate guidance on worldly affairs and everyday morality to the Burmese householders in general and to the Buddhist monks in particular.
Posted: 2017-05-26More...

A comparison of the Chinese and Pāli Saṃyukta/Saṃyuttas on the Venerable Mahā-Maudgalyāyana (Mahā-Moggallāna)

This article first examines the textual structure of the Maudgalyāyana Saṃyukta (目犍連相應 Muqianlian xiangying) of the Chinese Saṃyuktāgama (Taishō vol. 2, no. 99) in conjunction with its Pāli parallel. Then it compares the main teachings contained in the two versions. It reveals similarities but also differences in both structure and content.
Posted: 2017-05-26More...



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