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In the second edition Keown provides new perspectives on Buddhist thought, including up-to-date material about the evolution of Buddhism throughout Asia, the material culture of Buddhism and its importance, new teachings on the ethics of war and peace, and changes to ethnicity, class, and gender.
About the Series:
Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.
List of illustrations
List of maps
Note on citations and pronunciation
1. Buddhism and elephants
2. The Buddha
3. Karma and rebirth
4. The Four Noble Truths
5. The Mahayana
6. The spread of Buddhism in Asia
9. Buddhism in the West
Posted May 11, 2003
Although most 'informed' persons would probably cringe at the broad strokes this book takes, it is a fantastic introduction to the Buddhist tradition. Covering the very basics of Buddhism in 130 easy-to-read, easy-to-understand pages, Mr. Keown's book is the perfect start for any Westerner interested in Buddhist ideas. This book is, in no way, meant to act as a comprehensive or in-depth scholarly study and should not be read as such. If you are at all well-versed in Buddhism, another title should be considered. This book is not, however, childish or 'easy,' it is merely, as the title says, a 'very short introduction.'
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Posted November 18, 2012
A nice, quick overview of Buddhism in historical context. Excellent on Indian origins, meditation, and ethics; the author is an eminent expert on the last. Cursory coverage of Buddhism's East Asian development and modern spread is based on English-language and especially British sources.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.