“The main source or reference on which King Chulalongkorn [of Siam/Thailand in 1904] relied in his research on Mahāyāna was a book about the history of Japanese Buddhism by a ‘Japanese priest’ translated into English” (p. 420). This rather remarkable statement in Arthid Sheravanichkul's excellent chapter in How Theravāda is Theravāda? Exploring Buddhist Identities encapsulates the complicated nature of trying to define particular Buddhist traditions, and it shows the difficulty the editors of this book (Peter Skilling, Jason Carbine, Claudio Cicuzza, and Santi Pakdeekham) faced in the first published attempt to trace the history of the term “Theravāda” and institutions, texts, teachers, and rituals associated with it. The product of their efforts is a monumental achievement. Let me state at the outset that this book, which no short review could do justice to, is one of the most important books in the field of Buddhist studies in the last fifty...

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