Religious Studies: Buddhism

Electronic Books


These dharmas cannot be demonstrated;
Words, which are only signs, are quiescent in them.
Among the remaining kinds of living beings
None can understand them,
Except for the multitude of bodhisattvas,
Whose power of faith is firm.

~ from the Lotus Sutra

This Web guide is intended to introduce information resources pertaining to Buddhism. Buddhism encompasses many different philosophical and cultural traditions, most of which are rooted in Asia and an increasing number that have been introduced to the West over the last 100 years. It is a guide to get you started; there are many more resources available, so this is just a jumping-off point for your research.

Ask Us for help if you need assistance in finding information about Buddhism.

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Encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference materials can be used to identify important concepts, find definitions, and gather background information on a topic. The University of Lethbridge Library has a large collection of reference materials related to religious studies. Following are a few of the key reference resources:

Encyclopedia of Religion (BL 31 E46 2005, Reference Collection, Level 10 AND online)
Edited by Lindsay Jones, the Encyclopedia of Religion is one of the most significant information resources in religious studies.

Encyclopedia of Buddhism (BQ 128 E62 2004, Reference Collection, Level 10 AND online)
A two-volume resource, which presents strong foundational information pertaining to all schools of Buddhist practice and philosophy. Most articles contain scholarly bibliographies for further research.

Encyclopedia of Buddhism (BQ 128 E53 2007, Reference Collection, Level 10)
Another good general reference on the topic.

Encyclopedia of the American Religious Experience (BL 2525 E53 1988, Reference Collection, Level 10)
Contains a survey essay about the history and development of Buddhism in the United States, from the Transcendentalists to Buddhism and Asian immigration to the establishment of various Buddhist centres (e.g. San Francisco Zen Center, Naropa Institute).

The Buddhists: Encyclopaedia of Buddhism (BQ 128 B82 2001, Reference Collection, Level 10)
Published in India, this five-volume encyclopedia covers important topics in all major Buddhist traditions.

Encyclopedia of New Religious Movements (BP 603 E56 2006, Reference Collection, Level 10 AND online)
Contains articles on modern-day Buddhist concepts and practices.

Religion and American Cultures: An Encyclopedia of Traditions, Diversity and Popular Expressions (BL 2525 R448 2003, Reference Collection, Level 10).

Religious Bodies in the United States: A Directory, edited by J. Gordon Melton (BL 2525 M452 1992, Reference Collection, Level 10).

Dictionary of Buddhism (BQ 130 K46 2003, Reference Collection, Level 10)

A Dictionary of Buddhism: Indian and South-East Asian (BQ 130 L55, Reference Collection, Level 10)

A Dictionary of Japanese Buddhist Terms (BQ 130 I62 1989, Reference Collection, Level 10)
Compiled by Hisao Inagaki, with emphasis on Japanese Buddhist traditions (e.g. Zen, Jodo Shinshu, Nichiren)

Dictionary of Buddhist Iconography (BQ 4620 L65 1999, Reference Collection, Level 10)
Contains images and image descriptions from Theravada, Mahayana and Tibetan (Vajrayana) traditions.

Buddhist Dictionary: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines (BQ 130 N9 1983, Reference Collection, Level 10 AND Main Collection, Level 9)

Buddhism: Critical concepts in religious studies (BQ 118 B83 2005, Reference Collection, Level 10) (8 volumes)


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Selected titles from the Library include the following:

Wild Geese: Buddhism in Canada, edited by John S. Harding, Victor Sogen Hori and Alexander Soucy. McGill-Queen's University Press, 2010.  (BQ 742 W55 2010).

The Buddhist Experience in America, by Diane Morgan. Greenwood Press, 2004. (BQ 722 M67 2004).

Essays in Zen Buddhism, by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki. Grove Press, 1961. (BQ 9286 S88 1961)

Significant text in the introduction of Buddhism to the West.

A New Handbook of Living Traditions, edited by John R. Hinnells. Blackwell, 1996. (BL 80.2 H275 1996)

Contains an essay on contemporary Buddhism.

Rebuilding Buddhism: The Theravada Movement in Twentieth-Century Nepal, by Sarah LeVine and David N. Gellner. Harvard University Press, 2005.

The Tantra: Its Origins, Theories, Art, and Diffuision from India to Nepal, Tibet, Mongolia, China, Japan, and Indonesia, by Victor M. Fic. Abhinav, 2003. (BL 1283.84 F53 2003).

The Tibetan Iconography of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and other Deities: A Unique Pantheon, by Lokesh Chandra and Fredrick W. Bunce. D.K. Printworld, 2002.

The Zen Canon: Understanding the Classic Texts, edited by Steven Heine and Dale S. Wright. Oxford University Press, 2004. (BQ 9264.2 Z45 2004).

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Electronic Books

Selected e-book titles in Buddhism include:

Religion and Peacebuilding, edited by Harold Coward and Gordon S. Smith. State University of New York Press, 2004.

The New Buddhism: The Western Transformation of an Ancient Tradition, by James William Coleman. Oxford University Press, 2001. 

Buddhist Thought: A Complete Introduction to the Indian Tradition, by Paul Williams and Anthony Tribe. Routledge, 2000.

Luminous Passage: The Practice and Study of Buddhism in America, by Charles S. Prebish. U of California Press, 1999.

Buddhism in Contemporary Tibet: Religious Revival and Cultural Identity, edited by Melvyn C. Goldstein and Matthew T. Kapstein. U of California Press, 1998.

The Sociology of Early Buddhism, by Greg Bailey. Cambridge University Press, 2006.

Rennyo and the Roots of Modern Japanese Buddhism, edited by Mark L. Blum and Shin'ya Yasutomi. Oxford University Press, 2008.

Buddhists, Hindus, and Sikhs in America: A Short History, by Gurinder Singh Mann, Paul David Numrich, and Raymond B. Williams. Oxford University Press, 2001.


Searching for e-books: Do an Advanced Keyword search in the Library Catalogue. Select the option to search by Material Type - E-BOOK. For more assistance in doing this kind of search, Ask Us at the Library's Information Services Desk.

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Articles pertaining to Buddhist themes and traditions are mainly accessible through the following databases:

ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials

Accesses research literature on topics such as biblical studies, world religions, church history and religion in social issues.  Indexes more than 1,500 journals, essays from multi-author works, book reviews, and a growing number of multimedia resources. Some full-text access to articles and listing of abstracts. Articles date back to 1949.

Religious and Theological Abstracts (BR 1 R286, Reference Collection, Level 10)

Indexes over 400 journals in the fields of religion and theology, from 1958 to the present.

Academic Search Complete

The world's largest scholarly, multi-disciplinary, full-text database designed specifically for academic institutions.  Indexes over 8,200 journals and provides full-text for nearly 4,650 scholarly publications, including more than 3,600 peer-reviewed publications. Includes religious studies scholarship.

Bibliography of Asian Studies

Research all subjects (emphasis on the humanities and the social sciences) pertaining to East, Southeast, and South Asia published worldwide. Indexes western-language journal articles, monographs, chapters in edited volumes, conference proceedings, anthologies, etc.

For a full list of the indexes/databases available, please consult the Religious Studies Indexes/Databases page.

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For information about the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Lethbridge, go to

The following are links to well known Buddhist organizations that have become well known in the West and that represent a number of the most significant paths in modern, western Buddhism:

Web site with links to various Buddhist information resources. Popular, practitioner audience is emphasized over academia.

Buddhism in Canada

Directory of Buddhist centres of all traditions throughout Canada. Organized by province/territory.

Buddhist Churches of Canada

Major Jodo Shinshu Buddhist organization in Canada, particularly in southern Alberta.

Living Dharma Centre

The Living Dharma Center (LDC) is an organization within the working structure of the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada

Buddhist Studies WWW Virtual Library

Extensive directory to international Buddhist Web sites of various traditions.

DharmaNet International

Web resources on Buddhism, mainly for western practitioners and spiritual seekers.

Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT)

A major organization in the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.

iBiblio - Buddhism

A type of digital library of various Buddhist information resources, some of academic interest and some for practitioners.

Internet Sacred Texts Archive: Buddhism

Audio recordings of major Buddhist scriptures.

Lethbridge Honpa Buddhist Temple

One of the major Buddhist centres/communities in southern Alberta. Aligned with the Buddhist Federation of Alberta and the Buddhist Churches of Canada (Jodo Shinshu).

Naropa Institute

Major post-secondary institution that emphasizes education from a Buddhist and alternative perspective.

Plum Village

Main meditation and retreat centre of Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh.

Robert Thurman Web site

Official Web site of one of the premier Tibetan Buddhist scholars in the West. Thurman was the first American to be ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist monk. Subsequently, he became one of the leading academics in Tibetan Buddhism at Columbia University.

San Francisco Zen Centre

Founded in 1962 by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, the San Francisco Zen Centre is one of the more established and best-known Zen Buddhist centres in the West. Considered by many to be an early contact site between American culture and traditional Buddhist culture from Japan.

Shambhala International

Tibetan Buddhist-based organization founded by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Connected to the Naropa Institute (see above on this list).

Soka Gakkai International

Home page of one of the major Buddhist organizations of modern times. Headquartered in Japan and based in Nichiren Buddhist philosophy.

Tibet Online

Web site operated by the Tibet Support Group community, with links about Tibetan religion and culture.

Student Guide to Buddhist Studies

Vipassana Meditation Web site

Worldwide organization emphasizing a primarily Theravadan Buddhist tradition centred in meditation. Based on the teachings of S.N. Goenka.

Guide to Online Schools: Buddhist Studies

Contains dozens of links to various types of Buddhism

Scholarly Approaches to the Study and Teaching of Religion

A website developed by the University of Lethbridge Department of Religious Studies with numerous links to aid in the academic study of religion.

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If you need help finding or using information about Buddhism:

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 Content Revised: October 2, 2014
 Content Created: October 25, 2006

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