University of Michigan professor Donald Lopez spent the past twelve years compiling the most authoritative and wide-ranging reference on Buddhism ever produced in English.

Since the publication of “The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism” last November, Lopez has raised $40,000 to make the book available free of charge to all community colleges, public high schools, and public libraries in Michigan. Approximately 1,000 copies will be distributed for the students and citizens of the state.

With more than 5,000 alphabetical entries totaling over one million words, “The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism” explains the key terms, doctrines, practices, texts, authors, deities, and schools of Buddhism across all of the six major canonical languages and traditions: Sanskrit, Pali, Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. It also includes selected terms from Burmese, Khmer, Lao, Mongolian, Newar, Sinhalese, Thai, and Vietnamese. At over one million words and with over five thousand entries, it is the largest and most comprehensive dictionary of Buddhism ever published in a European language.

Lopez is the Arthur E. Link Distinguished University Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies and chair of the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures in U-M’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.  He co-authored the dictionary with Robert Buswell, Distinguished Professor of Buddhist Studies and director of the Center for Buddhist Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“Buddhism is one of the great religions of the world, with a vast geographical and chronological expanse,” Lopez says. “It is also generating great interest in the United States.  Robert Buswell and I wanted to produce a book that provided as much information about Buddhism as we could within the covers of a single book.” 

Support for the distribution program is being provided by the Office of the President, the Dean of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, the Dean of the Rackham School of Graduate Studies, the International Institute, the Nam Center for Korean Studies, the Center for Chinese Studies, the Center for Japanese Studies, and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies.

“As a faculty member at this great public university I feel a responsibility to offer the results of our scholarship to the people of the state of Michigan,” Lopez says. “I am grateful to the offices and centers on campus who generously agreed to support this program.”

Librarians at Michigan community colleges, public high schools, and public libraries may order a copy by sending their name, mailing address, and phone number to the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures (ALC) at

For more information: The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism