Encyclopaedia of Buddhism

Compiling Encyclopaedia of Buddhism is one of milestones in the recent history of Buddhism in Sri Lanka (earlier Ceylon). It was initiated as one of several undertakings of Laṅkā Bauddha Maṇḍalaya (Buddhist Council of Ceylon) set up in connection with the celebration of Buddha Jayanti, 2500th anniversary of Buddha’s parinirvāṇa (passing away) (1955-1956). The encyclopaedia was planned to contain all the key terms pertaining to Buddhism in general that cover all schools and sects of Buddhism covering their teachings, literature, culture, history, arts, archaeology and related current issues.

Prof. G.P. Malalasekera, a renowned Pāli scholar and then professor of Pāli and Buddhist civilization, University of Ceylon (presently Peradeniya University) was the founder editor-in-chief, who established the structure of the encyclopaedia taking into consideration the views and suggestions of the world-renowned Buddhist scholars. He continued his valuable service to the encyclopaedia until his death at 73 in 1973. In his service of 17 years he completed virtually all the ground work and published two volumes completely, with four fascicles for each volume, and three fascicles of the third volume.

After Prof. Malalasekera the compilation of the encyclopaedia was handed over to four editors-in-chief consecutively, O. H. De A. Wijesekera, Jotiya Dhirasekera, Bandhula Jayawardhana and W.G. Weeraratne. The eighth and last volume, which has only three fascicles, was published in 2009. Each volume comprises approximately 750 pages, which makes the whole work containing 5,878 pages of B5 size ending with the term Zong a-han.

From the beginning the encyclopaedia was printed at the Ceylon Government Press under patronage of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, and at present the project is run by the Ministry of Buddha Sasana.

At present, newly appointed editorial board, with Prof. Asanga Tilakaratne as editor-in-chief, has started reviewing the entire project for updating contents, filling any missing material, and compiling an index volume. Launching the whole work gradually to the internet is an important part of the mandate of the current editorial board.   More.......

Present Editorial Board

Ministry of Buddha Sasana in collaboration with the Department of Buddhist Affairs appointed new Editorial Board effective from January 2018 with the view of achieving two goals. Firstly, the emphasis laid on the revision of whole encyclopaedia before publishing as second edition. Secondly, the encyclopaedia needs to be published online. With these new appointments the editorial board comprises four editors, including editor-in-chief.

Asanga Tilakaratne


Tripiṭakavedi (Sri Lanka), Pandit (Sri Lanka), BA (Hons) (Peradeniya), MA in Western Philosophy (Hawaii), PhD in Comparative Philosophy (Hawaii).

Formerly professor and head of the department of Buddhist philosophy and director (2003-2006), Postgraduate Institute of Pali and Buddhist Studies, University of Kelaniya; Chair Professor of Pali and Buddhist Studies, University of Colombo since 2009.

Bertram Gregory Liyanage

Deputy Editor

Pandit (Sri Lanka), MA in Sanskrit (Pune), PGDip in Indian Logic and Epistemology (Pune); Dip in Journalism (Colombo)

Ruwan Bandara Adhikari 

Assistant Editor         

Tripiṭakavedi (Sri Lanka), BA (Kelaniya), MA in Buddhist Studies (Kelaniya)             

Rev. Akiriye Somananda, PhD

Assistant Editor

Pandit (Sri Lanka), BA (Hons) (Peradeniya), MA in Buddhist Studies (Kelaniya)

PhD in Pali Language (Peradeniya)

Contact Information

Editor-in-chief            011 2679702

Deputy Editor            011 2679718

Office                         011 2694037



Raharata Charika


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