Dictionary of Buddhism wins prestigious prize

Feb. 4, 2014
Contact: Rachel Reed, (734) 615-6456, rachreed@umich.edu

Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism Wins Dartmouth Medal for Most Outstanding Reference Work

ANN ARBOR – The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism, co-authored by University of Michigan
Professor Donald Lopez (and LRCCS faculty associate), has been awarded the prestigious Dartmouth Medal for 2015, which honors the
most outstanding reference work of the past year according to the American Library Association (ALA).

“If you can apply the word ‘elegant’ to a reference work, this would be the book,” said the ALA in their
award announcement.

The dictionary, co-authored with Robert E. Buswell of UCLA, features more than 5,000 entries totaling
more than a million words on Buddhism and is the most comprehensive book of its kind in English. It
draws from a burgeoning body of scholarship on the religion around the world, as well as centuries of
Buddhist literature.

The selection committee praised The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism for its accessibility to novices as
well as its suitability for experts and academics, and for its extensive coverage of the religion, which was
born on the Indian subcontinent more than two and a half millennia ago.

“Robert Buswell and I are deeply honored to have our twelve years of labor on The Princeton Dictionary
of Buddhism recognized by the prestigious Dartmouth Medal,” Lopez says of the award. “One of our aims
for the dictionary was to represent the Buddhist traditions of Korea and Tibet as extensively as those of
India, Southeast Asia, China, and Japan. We wanted to give readers a full sense of the depth, breadth, and
richness of the Buddhist traditions over its entire history and its geographical expanse.”

Lopez is the A.E. Link Distinguished University Professor of Buddhist Studies and chair of the
Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Michigan. He and Buswell, another
prominent scholar of Buddhism, spent more than a dozen years writing the book, which includes terms
from all of the canonical Buddhist languages, including Sanskrit, Pali, Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese, and

The Dartmouth Medal is the latest in a line of accolades for the work; it was also named by Choice as one
of the Top 25 Academic Books of 2014. The Dartmouth Medal will be presented at the ALA Annual
Conference in San Francisco in June.

“[The dictionary] is a project that has many great story lines: collaborative research, bicoastal—or at least
bi-time zone—cooperation, the power of the public research university, and graduate students as fully
acknowledged contributors to a major work of scholarship,” says Lopez. “And it’s proof that everything
we hear about the death of the humanities is nonsense.”