The Foundations of Buddhism
Buddhism is a vast and complex religious and philosophical tradition with a history that stretches over 2,500 years, and which is now followed by around 115 million people. In this introduction to the foundations of Buddhism, Rupert Gethin concentrates on the ideas and practices which constitute the common heritage of the different traditions of Buddhism (Thervada, Tibetan, and Eastern) which exist in the world today. From the narrative of the story of the Buddha,
through discussions of aspects such as textual traditions, the framework of the Four Noble Truths, the interaction between the monastic and lay ways of life, the cosmology of karma and rebirth, and the path of the bodhisattva, this books provides a stimulating introduction to Buddhism as a religion and
way of life, which will also be of interest to those who are more familiar with the subject.
This recent title stands out by its careful scholarship, lucid style, and sensitive appreciation of the subtleties of Buddhist doctrine.. This introductory work brings to its task not only careful scholarship and wide knowledge of Buddhist thought, but also a warm, sympathetic appreciation of Buddhism evident throughout its pages. No doubt, it is this sympathy that enables Gethin to penetrate beneath the surface crust of formal doctrine and discern deep connections between srains of Buddhist thought that might initially appear incongruous. Through Gethin's eyes we are given not only a clear and crisp picture of the doctrinal foundations of Buddhism, but also focused insights into the family ties underlying many apparent diversities within the Buddhist tradition. * Bhikkhu Bodhi, Buddhist Publication Society no 45 * '...Combining as it does readability and exact scholarship, elegance and erudition, this new OPUS series volume provides the novice with a solid foundation for his studies, and his elders food for reflection.' * THES Friday 2 April 1999 * At last! A general introduction to what is common to Buddhism across the broad range of practice, culture and history that I can recommend unhesitatingly to friends Buddhist and non-Buddhist alike. ... this book is good in the beginning, middle and end. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Mike Murray/The Middle Way/Journal of the Buddhist Society/ Feb 2000 Vol 74 No 4 offers a valuable improvement over What the Buddha Taught, its most likely competitor as an introductory textbook./Richard S. Cohen University of California, San Diego/ Religious Studies Review Volume 25 Number 3 July 1999
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