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Academic Study

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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Academic Study

“Early interest in the Mahayana, stimulated by the discovery of Sankrit texts from Nepal and the work of Eugene Burnouf and other scholars, had rather weakened by the end of the nineteenth century. This was due to the natural enthusiasm at the discovery of the Pali literature.

A number of scholars active during the first half of the twentieth century sought to re-emphasize the value of works available in Chinese and Tibetan translation. Many of these represent North Indian traditions just as ancient as those from Sri Lanka.

One group of scholars working in Russia was especially associated with the name of T. Shcherbatsky. Influenced by contact with the living tradition of Northern Buddhism, they sought to comprehend Buddhist thought in terms of European philosophical development.

A second group, composed mainly of Belgian and French scholars, was more interested in the Mahayana as a religion and in the history of Buddhism. The most influential writer of this group was probably Louis de La Vallée Poussin

The period [following] the Second World War has seen a strong continuance of this Franco-Belgian school, most notably with the work of E. Lamotte.

Moreover the researches in Tibet of the Italian scholar, G. Tucci, have given a new impetus to studies of Northern Buddhism. Important contributions have been made by scholars from India, especially in the study of Buddhist philosophy and history, and by Japanese scholars notably in the field of Eastern Buddhism.

At the same time new discoveries from the sands of Central Asia, the caves of Tun-huang, Gilgit in Kashmir and from the libraries of Nepal and Tibet have recovered lost Buddhist literature and opened up new fields for research.

Text-critical and historical studies using these new materials have been developed, especially in Germany.

The recent expansion of Buddhist studies in North America seems likely to develop new approaches [antric school, Pure Land school, Women Studies, etc..”

source: (The Seeker’s Glossary Of Buddhism)