South Asian Buddhism : A Survey book cover
1st Edition

South Asian Buddhism
A Survey

ISBN 9780415452489
Published August 13, 2009 by Routledge
256 Pages

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Book Description

South Asian Buddhism presents a comprehensive historical survey of the full range of Buddhist traditions throughout South Asia from the beginnings of the religion up to the present. Starting with narratives on the Buddha’s life and foundational teachings from ancient India, the book proceeds to discuss the rise of Buddhist monastic organizations and texts among the early Mainstream Buddhist schools. It considers the origins and development of Mahayana Buddhism in South Asia, surveys the development of Buddhist Tantra in South Asia and outlines developments in Buddhism as found in Sri Lanka and Nepal following the decline of the religion in India. Berkwitz also importantly considers the effects of colonialism and modernity on the revivals of Buddhism across South Asia in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

South Asian Buddhism offers a broad, yet detailed perspective on the history, culture, and thought of the various Buddhist traditions that developed in South Asia. Incorporating findings from the latest research on Buddhist texts and culture, this work provides a critical, historically based survey of South Asian Buddhism that will be useful for students, scholars, and general readers.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements  Abbreviations  Map of South Asian Buddhist Sites  1. Formations: The Buddha and his Dharma  2. Foundations: Mainstream Buddhist Texts and Communities  3. Furcations: Origins and Development of the Mahayana  4. Consolidations: Medieval Schools of Thought and Practice  5. Reappraisals: Later Developments in the South Asian Buddhist World  6. Revivals: Buddhism and Modernity in South Asia.  Appendix: Numerical lists of Buddhist concepts (in Pali and Sanskrit).  Glossary  Bibliography  Index

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Stephen C. Berkwitz is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Missouri State University, USA, and Editor of the Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism series. His publications include The History of the Buddha’s Relic Shrine: A Translation of the Sinhala Thupavasa (2007).


'This book is a most welcome survey of the history of South Asian Buddhism, which fulfills the need for a comprehensive and accessible presentation of Buddhism in South Asia. Berkwitz’s clear presentational style and a range of periods he covers make this book relevant and accessible not only to scholars and students of Buddhism but also to everyone interested in the cultural and historical aspects of South Asia.' – Vesna Wallace, Numata Professor of Buddhist Studies, University of Oxford

'An accessible and informative examination of the doctrinal, historical, and geographical development of Buddhism in South Asia ... In a succinct style, Berkwitz explores Buddhism's development in various communities as well as its mainstream texts ... To complement this fine survey, the author provides valuable information in the appended list of Buddhist concepts and an ample glossary of Pali and Sanskrit terms. Summing Up: Highly recommended.' – W. J. Pankey, William Rainey Harper College, April 2010 CHOICE

'A smart, comprehensive survey of Buddhism in the South Asian countries of Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan, as well as a valuable primer on recent scholarship on Buddhism in the region. Covering both ancient Indian and contemporary Buddhism in South Asia, the book manages to deal with a vast amount of information in only two hundred pages of text, plus an index and glossary.'Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly, summer 2010