In this comparative analysis the view of Buddhism in scientific thought will be discussed by means of two main works, one being American and one Chinese, both representing a reference of scientific knowledge in printed media. The Chinese work is the ZHONGGUO DA BAIKE QUANSHU, especially its volume 21 ZONGJIAO (religion). The American work is THE NEW ENCYCLOP\AE DIA BRITANNICA, especially the MACROP\AE DIA volume 15.
The newer version of the Encyclopædia Britannica (CD/ROM version 1997) mentions the Zhongguo Da Baike Quanshu in an article. There it states that the Greater Encyclopaedia of China Publishing House published a 74-volume topically arranged large-entry encyclopaedia--the Zhongguo Da Baike Quanshu which was issued one volume at a time, beginning in 1980; the final volume was completed in 1993.
Both works in this comparative analysis are encyclopedias covering vast information on various subjects in detailed large-entry contributions. The New Encyclopædia Britannica was published in 1987. The Zhongguo Da Baike Quanshu was published in 1988. Although these two works correspond to each other in some ways, their structure is not identical. The ZHONGGUO DA BAIKE QUANSHU is divided into several works each of which covers a certain field, like e.g. Lishi [History], Zhexue [Philosophy], or Zongjiao [Religion]. The New Encyclopædia Britannica deviates from this form. The Britannica is classified into the ``Micropædia,'' ``Macropædia,'' the Index and a part called ``Propædia,'' which is a guideline of knowledge providing suggestions for research.
Volume 21 of the Zhongguo Da Baike Quanshu, Zongjiao (religion) is in the focus of interest; in the American work it is the volume 15 of The New Encyclopædia Britannica--Macropædia. The volume Zongjiao of the Zhongguo Da Baike Quanshu contains a great amount of articles related to various topics on Buddhism. Besides the main article Fojiao profound articles are presented for Yindu Fojiao and Zhongguo Fojiao and other subjects. Apart from the explanations on Buddhist history and philosophy in different countries, this Chinese reference presents detailed contributions concerning many Buddhist aspects such as certain doctrines, the canon and scripts, technical terms, schools and sects, biographies, and even sites, cloisters and temples.
In The New Encyclopædia Britannica detailed articles are located in the Macropædia, less detailed articles are located in the Micropædia. The major article dealing with Buddhism and its context is: The Buddha and Buddhism found in the Macropædia. The subject's origin, development, and spread are given (by different authors) in successive order. Other articles of medium or small size, e.g. dharma or Xuanzang are provided in alphabetical order in the volumes of the Micropædia. The articles were chosen for analysis in this thesis for several reasons. The articles about Buddhism in the Zhongguo Da Baike Quanshu, volume 21 and The New Encyclopædia Britannica--Macropædia, volume 15 are similar in structure and detail. They cover Buddhist origin, development, and spread in regard to historical, social, and philosophical context. As mentioned above, these two encyclopedias were published at about the same time. The New Encyclopædia Britannica was published in 1987, the Zhongguo Da Baike Quanshu in 1988. Especially because the two works and their articles correspond, they will be used for this comparative analysis.
Subject of the analysis is the origin and development of Buddhism in articles by various authors contributing to the two encyclopedias mentioned above. To limit the subject in this thesis, certain topics like Buddhist holidays, art and music, as well as Buddhist architecture are excluded.
The main topics of the Chinese encyclopedia--analyzed in this thesis--are based on the sources of Fojiao and Yindu Fojiao. Furthermore, additional information on specific subjects related to detailed explanation (e.g. Shijiamouni, the main schools, their representatives and doctrines), provided by various authors in supplementary articles of the same work, will be embedded.
Within the text of the articles there are certain characters or words mentioned but neither explained in full detail nor clarified in the general context. In this case the encyclopedia offers references on specific subjects. Most of the Chinese characters relating to persons, Buddhist scripts, and technical terms are emphasized in the Zhongguo Da Baike Quanshu, pointing out that there is a further reference (Buddhist technical terms, e.g. kong; Buddhist scripts, e.g. Daborejing, Miaofalianhuajing; and Persons, e.g. Shiqin and Longshu). The Zhongguo Da Baike Quanshu provides separate contributions for these emphasized words in the same volume (volume 21, Zongjiao [Religion]).
Correspondingly, the article on Buddhism with special regard to the sections concerning Indian Buddhism in the Macropædia will serve as the basis for the comparative analysis on the American side. The New Encyclopædia Britannica does not emphasize words for cross-reference, although this encyclopedia also has several smaller separate contributions that are situated in alphabetical order, spread across the volumes of the Micropædia. The smaller articles are less in number compared to those of the Zhongguo Da Baike Quanshu. The basic article on Buddhism in The New Encyclopædia Britannica is greater in extent than that of the Zhongguo Da Baike Quanshu. However, these minor differences in the way of distribution say nothing about the quality of their content.
The author of the main Chinese article ``Fojiao'' (Buddhism) is Zhao Puchu; he also wrote the article ``Zhongguo Fojiao'' (Chinese Buddhism). The authors of the second main article ``Yindu Fojiao'' (Indian Buddhism) being analyzed here are Gong Jing and Yu Zhong. Gong Jing is co-author of several other contributions about Buddhist scholars in ancient India which are also taken into consideration (see also the reference for Huang Xinchuan & Gong Jing). Yu Zhong also wrote the articles on Satpada sastra and the Vikramasilavihara. There are many other authors who provided essential facts e.g. on the person Buddha, his basic teachings, like the Four Noble Truths etc. These authors are Bian Bu (Sakyamuni), Liu Feng (satya) and more than 25 others. Some of these authors have written several contributions like Gao Zhennong (The Eightfold Path, Anatman, Abhidharma-mahavibhasaAbhidharmakosaAbhidharmakosa-sastra, Vimalakirti-nirdesa-sutra, etc.), Fang Guangchang (sunya, Nalanda, etc.), Huang Xinchuan (Yogacara, Madhyamika, etc.).
In comparison to the Zhongguo Da Baike Quanshu the number of articles and authors in The New Encyclopædia Britannica--Macropædia is significantly smaller. G. Tucci and J.M. Kitagawa who compiled a great amount of the chapters about Buddhism in The New Encyclopædia Britannica are also the authors of the section on the foundations of Buddhism and the cultural context. W. Rahula wrote about the life of the Buddha. G. Tucci, J.M. Kitagawa and H. Nakamura wrote together about teachings of the Buddha and early developments of Buddhism in India (including early Buddhist councils and sectarian schisms). The sections on major schools (the earliest and the transitional schools) are written by G. Tucci, H.V. Guenther, and J.M. Kitagawa. The next sections about the major systems and their literature are also written by G. Tucci, H.V. Guenther, and J.M. Kitagawa. The chapter on Buddhist mythology, roles and functions of myth by D.L. Snellgrove can be taken into consideration only in part, because a complete appropriate counterpart in the Chinese work is missing. In the last chapter (Historical Developments of Buddhism and its Spread, page et seq.) the authors of the articles in the Encyclopædia Britannica are A. Sen, Chen T.H., E. Zürcher, D.C. Twitchett, H. Franke, and H. Chan et al.. Other chapters on Buddhist culture (e.g. ceremonies and festivals as well as Buddhist arts and architecture) and Buddhism in contemporary Asia had to be rejected because including these would go beyond the scope of this analysis.