Buddhism, Fourth Edition tells the story of how the teachings of the religion's founder, Siddhartha Gautama, evolved into its basic belief system. Buddhism differs from other major religions in that it has no concept of a supreme being. However, it acts as a guide to spiritual discovery and enlightenment through the principles of the Eightfold Path. Buddhism, Fourth Edition explores these traditions, as well as the concept of the "socially engaged Buddhist," the growth and practice of Buddhism in the United States, and the recent revival of Buddhism in Asia.
Almost from the start of civilization more than 10,000 years ago, religion has shaped human history. Today more than half the world's population adhere to a major religion or indigenous spiritual tradition. In societies throughout the world, increasing ethnic and cultural diversity has led to a variety of religions being practices side by side. This makes it vital that we understand as much as we can about the world's religions.
Rigorously nonsectarian, the books in the World Religions series offer clear, accessible overviews of the major religious traditions of our time, including
Origins and history
Central beliefs, rituals, and scared sites
Contributions to world civilization
Carefully chosen photographs complement the text, and sidebars, a map, fact file, glossary, bibliography, further reading, and index are included to help readers gain a more complete understanding of the subject at hand.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Introduction: The Modern Buddhist World 8
Chapter 2 The Life of the Buddha 18
Chapter 3 The Spread of Buddhism 36
Chapter 4 The Varieties of Buddhism 56
Chapter 5 The Literature of Buddhism 76
Chapter 6 The Arts and Buddhism 92
Chapter 7 The Year in Buddhism 110
Chapter 8 Buddhism Today 122
Fact File and Bibliography 138
Further Reading and Web Sites 139
About the Author and Series Editors 144
Picture Credits 144