The Buddhist Dead: Practices, Discourses, Representations
504pp. April 2007
The Buddhist Dead: Practices, Discourses, Representations
Editor: Cuevas, Bryan J.; Stone, Jacqueline I.;
In its teachings, practices, and institutions, Buddhism in its varied Asian forms has been—and continues to be—centrally concerned with death and the dead. Yet surprisingly "death in Buddhism" has received little sustained scholarly attention. The Buddhist Dead offers the first comparative investigation of this topic across the major Buddhist cultures of India, Sri Lanka, China, Japan, Tibet, and Burma. Its individual essays, representing a range of methods, shed light on a rich array of traditional Buddhist practices for the dead and dying; the sophisticated but often paradoxical discourses about death and the dead in Buddhist texts; and the varied representations of the dead and the afterlife found in Buddhist funerary art and popular literature.

This important collection moves beyond the largely text—and doctrine—centered approaches characterizing an earlier generation of Buddhist scholarship and expands its treatment of death to include ritual, devotional, and material culture.

Contributors: James A. Benn, Raoul Birnbaum, Jason A. Carbine, Bryan J. Cuevas, Hank Glassman, John Clifford Holt, Matthew T. Kapstein, D. Max Moerman, Mark Rowe, Kurtis R. Schaeffer, Gregory Schopen, Koichi Shinohara, Jacqueline I. Stone, John S. Strong.

13 illus.

Studies in East Asian Buddhism Series
Published in association with the Kuroda Institute
"[This is] the first full-length volume to investigate the place of death in Buddhism in a pan-Asian context. For that reason alone, it is a much-needed and welcome addition to the scholarly literature. That it is such a well-integrated, tightly argued, and beautifully crafted volume should make it the standard bearer for some time to come. . . . A thought-provoking and sophisticated volume, which challenges and advances the ways we think about death in Buddhism, and should serve as the foundation for future inquiries. The Buddhist Dead should be read by all Buddhist specialists and graduate students, and those interested in conceptions of and practices related to death and the afterlife. I moreover can recommend assigning select chapters for use in the undergraduate classroom, having successfully done so." —Journal of the American Academy of Religion (spring 2009)

"This volume presents research of the highest class by a set of the best scholars working in English in Buddhist studies. . . . Scholars of both Buddhism in general and of regional/national practices will need to turn to this collection for its up-to-date findings about the variety and importance of this fatally essential dimension of the religion." —Japanese Religions (33, 1–2, 2008)

Editor: Cuevas, Bryan J.; Stone, Jacqueline I.;
Bryan J. Cuevas is associate professor of Buddhist and Tibetan studies in the Department of Religion, Florida State University. Jacqueline I. Stone is professor of Japanese religions in the Department of Religion, Princeton University.
Read the table of contents and/or the introduction (PDF).