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Religions of the World: Eastern Religions

This is a guide to researching religions of the world: Western and Eastern Christianity, Eastern religions, Islam, Bahai, New Age Movements, Judaism. Last updated 06-26-2023

Eastern Religions: Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Confucianism

We have separate research guides for Hinduism and Buddhism that are more up to date than this page.

Oxford Reference Online 

Contains online versions of dictionaries and encyclopedias previously published in paper by Oxford University Press.  At the left, click on the word subject which opens the menu disciplines.  Choose religion.  From here you can enter any of the books that are unlocked or you can do a quick and dirty search for entry title words, at left.

Sacred Texts Interpreted, Religious Documents Explained  Main BL 71 .O47 2017 v. 1-2

Alphabetical arrangement of the faiths of the world, with lengthy chapters on each.  These chapters contain bits of primary sources from the sacred texts of each faith and explain the meanings of them.  Covers Baha'i, Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Daoism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Mormonism, Shinto, Sikhism, and Zoroastrianism.  Brief introduction to the religious traditions of each faith and information on sacred text development.  Definition of what is meant by the words "sacred text."  Basic introductory level. 

Dictionary of World Monasticism  Main BL 631 .O43 2020

Author is a librarian and a Benedictine living in the U.S.  Brief definitions of terms.  Some biographical entries on significant monastics.  Entries on religious organizations.  Doesn't confine himself to Western monasticism.  Has some entries on monasticism in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.  Criteria for inclusion:  some or all of the following: vows, rules of life, organized formation, poverty, obedience (obeying and listening), celibacy, sanction by an established religion, discipline, monastic lifestyle, historical interest.

Religion in Southeast Asia, an Encyclopedia of Faiths and Cultures.  Main BL 2050 .R43 2015

Entries on particular faiths, topics, people, places, organizations ranging in length from 2-6 pages.  All entries have further reading references.  Authors of the entries are academics in Asian countries and the West teaching philosophy, religion, anthropology, history, area studies, etc. or professionals with religious organizations. 

Dictionary of Buddhism Main BQ 130 .K46 2003

Primarily written by Damien Keown, senior lecturer in Indian religions at University of London.  Over 2,000 entries on both historical and contemporary issues.  Includes all the major Buddhist sects and cultures.  Treats abortion, marriage, and role of women.  Deals with modern Buddhist thought without prejudice, giving a fairly even distribution of explanations on all major sects.

Encyclopedia of Buddhism. Main BQ 128 .E62 2004 v. 1-2

Signed entries, with further reading references. Buddhism began in India 2500 years ago. This encyclopedia “is one of the first major reference tools to appear in any Western language that seeks to document the range and depth of the Buddhist tradition in its many manifestations…. feature entries on the history and impact of Buddhism in different cultural regions and national traditions, the work also covers major doctrines, texts, people, and schools of the religion, as well as practical aspects of Buddhist meditation, liturgy, and lay training.” Does not claim comprehensiveness. Covers the impact of societal and political forces on Buddhist thought and practice. There is a synoptic outline of entries under broad topics near the beginning of volume one. Includes biographies. Fairly lengthy articles, from a long paragraph to several pages.

Encyclopedia of Buddhism.  Reference BQ 128 .E53 2007

Brill's Encyclopedia of Hinduism 

Presents the latest research on all the main aspects of the Hindu traditions. Its essays are original work written by the world's foremost scholars on Hinduism. Offers a balanced and even-handed view of Hinduism, recognizing the divergent perspectives and methods in the academic study of a religion that is both an ancient historical tradition and a flourishing tradition today. Embraces the greatest possible diversity, plurality, and heterogeneity, thus emphasizing that Hinduism encompasses a variety of regional traditions as well as a global world religion. Will include all content from the 6 vol. print set.

Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Main BL 1105 .L63 2002 v. 1-2

“The very word Hinduism is misleading. The word was coined by the British as an umbrella term, referring to any and all forms of religion in India, many of which share few if any common features…. it is a vast religious tradition.” Indian subcontinent has great variations, in landforms, languages, regional identities, and sectarian affiliations. Hinduism is first and foremost a way of life, stressing correct behavior rather than correct beliefs. Pp. xiv-xxix is “contents by subject.” Subjects include art/architecture/iconography, astrology/cosmology, biographical entries, calendar/time, ceremonies/practices/rituals, communities/groups/organizations, dance, dynasties, geography, literature/language/drama, medicine/alchemy/physiology, music/hymns/prayers, mythology/beliefs, philosophy/logic, and yoga/tantra. Under each broad subject appear lists of the entries in this encyclopedia. Entries range from a paragraph to more than a page. Black and white illustrations. Articles not signed. No further reading references. Unannotated bibliography at the end of volume two. Author is an associate professor of religion at Carthage College in Wisconsin.

Dictionary of Hinduism.  Main BL 1105 .J65 2009

Historical Dictionary of Sikhism. Main BL 2017.3 .M35 2014

Illustrated Encyclopedia of  Confucianism.  Main BL 1850 .T38 2005 v. 1-2

Routledge Curzon Encyclopedia of Confucianism. Main BL 1840 .R68 2003 v. 1-2
Signed entries. To sixteenth-century Jesuits, the word “Confucius” was the Latin transliteration of Kong Fu zi. “Ism” was add in the 19th century to make Confucianism parallel with other “isms;” Confucianism was made into the religio-ethical tradition that dominated China and other parts of East Asia for many centuries. Entries are 200-5,000 words, from a paragraph to a few pages. Further reading references provided in the entries. Three indexes in back of volume two: by personal name, subject, and text. There is a lengthy, unannotated bibliography at the back of volume two, also. Text is in English; Chinese characters are romanized using Pinyin system. Personal name entries include the name in Chinese, Korean, or Japanese. Contributors are primarily history and Asian studies faculty at American, Canadian, and English universities and colleges, with a smattering of others.

Encyclopedia of Taoism.  Main BL 1920 .E539 2008 v. 1-2

Historical Dictionary of Daoism Main BL 1923 .L565 2020

Daoist Studies

Daoist Studies is dedicated to promoting the study of Daoism as both a living religion and an important historical influence within Chinese culture. The bibliographic database provides information for over 2600 books, articles, and dissertations. Original book reviews. Offers an index to the 1487 texts in the Daoist canon from the Ming Zhengtong period in Chinese pdf files. Index to this digital collection provides access to the texts through pinyin transliteration of the titles. Contains the most significant Daoist primary texts, a short history of Daoism, a Research Guide to Daoist Studies, and a glossary of Daoist terms.

A to Z of Shinto Main BL 2216.1 .P53 2006

Encyclopedia of Yoga and Tantra Main BL 1238.52 .F47 2011

Historical Dictionary of Sufism  Main BP 188.48 .R46 2016

Four Testaments, Tao Te Ching, Analects, Dhammapada, Bhagavad Gita: Sacred Scriptures of Taosim, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Hinduism  Main BL 70 .F67 2016  An overview of the Eastern  Religious Traditions with one major text from each of these faiths.