Eastern Wisdom: An Illustrated Guide to the Religions and Philosophies of the East

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Eastern Wisdom illuminates the main philosophies and faiths of Asia, from the Hindu traditions of India and Buddhism in its many variations to the Confucian and Daoist beliefs of China and the Shinto religion of Japan. Clearly written and lavishly illustrated with striking full-color images, the book explores these ancient and enduring traditions from their historical and mythical origins to the forms in which they exist today. Each chapter focuses on a single tradition, examining its main beliefs and placing ...
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Overview

Eastern Wisdom illuminates the main philosophies and faiths of Asia, from the Hindu traditions of India and Buddhism in its many variations to the Confucian and Daoist beliefs of China and the Shinto religion of Japan. Clearly written and lavishly illustrated with striking full-color images, the book explores these ancient and enduring traditions from their historical and mythical origins to the forms in which they exist today. Each chapter focuses on a single tradition, examining its main beliefs and placing them in the social and historical contexts from which they emerged. Views of the individual and society, nature, and the universe are clearly presented, illuminating such concepts as karma, reincarnation, and immortality. The chapters also explore the wide-ranging manifestations of these traditions, from the energetic festivals of the Shinto faith to the serene monasticism of the Zen Buddhists to the indiscernible but omnipresent philosophical discipline of the Confucians. Through words and pictures, Eastern Wisdom captures the richness and complexity of the Asian world, offering a vivid collage of Eastern beliefs and ritual.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This guide presents short, readable sections by scholars, who explain Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, and Shinto to the general public. Without becoming too technical, each writer manages to convey the most important elements of the history and content of each system. Terms are defined parenthetically within the text and more fully in a general glossary, and many captioned color photographs assist understanding and capture interest. There is also some cross-referencing and a good index. Possibly the best section is on Shinto, essential to understanding Japan and often overlooked in popular works. Conspicuously missing is Islam, which has also had a profound influence in India and throughout South East Asia and should not have been ignored. However, this is a good basic introduction to Eastern religious traditions. Recommended for public libraries.C. Robert Nixon, Lafayette, Ind.
School Library Journal
YAFive articles on Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and Shintoism give insight into the basic tenets of each religion and philosophy. The essays show how these religions have provided people with answers to the fundamental questions of life. Cultural and historical insights are also incorporated. This is a book readers would want to spend time with; there is a lot of information (beautifully divided into short passages) to ingest. The attractive format features many reproductions, photographs, and vignettes. The glossary, divided by religion, is quite helpful. Certainly this volume can be used as a research toolthere is a good index and a list of further readingsbut its best use is as an overview of Eastern belief systems.Rebecca C. Burgee, Langley High School, McLean, VA
Booknews
An introduction to the history of five Eastern belief systems--Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, and Shinto--and their roles in the cultures of the East, emphasizing the key themes and ideas of each tradition and overviewing sacred texts, gods and goddesses, places of worship, and holy days and rituals. Includes numerous color photos, paintings, and maps. For general readers. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Zom Zoms
With a few thousand years of history to present, this book needs to cover much ground for the popular audience at which it is aimed. Unfortunately, the trail it blazes is fragmented, jumping from topic to topic instead of paving an organized, seamless path through the complexity of these traditions. The work is first divided into five sections, one for each tradition included, namely, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, and Shinto. There are then assorted headings under each tradition for specific topics, but they are neither helpful to someone unfamiliar with the tradition, nor do they maintain any sense of continuity of presentation among the traditions included. For example, the headings "The Five Bushels of Rice Society" under Daoism and "A Neighborhood Matsuri" under Shinto are not as meaningful or as clear as "Sacred Texts" or "Priesthood and Ritual" would be. While Hinduism has a heading for sacred texts, Buddhism addresses this topic under "Canons and Sutras," Daoism under "Lao Zi and the Dao De Jing." The user would have benefited had the presentation of texts for each of the five traditions, along with similar discussion of ritual, ceremony, salvation, etc., been more consistently identified and treated throughout The idiosyncractic compartmentalization of topics is exacerbated by the use of feature boxes of text on discrete subjects e.g., the Dalai Lama, the Dancing Shiva that interrupt the flow of narrative. Attractive color illustrations do enhance the text, and the photographs of ceremonies or monks meditating demonstrate that these traditions are living religions affecting the lives of many people This guide falls somewhere between a dictionary, such as "The Encyclopedia of Eastern Philosophy and Religion" Shambhala, 1994, and an encyclopedia, such as "The Encyclopedia of Religion" Macmillan, 1987. The former gives succinct definitions of individuals, texts, concepts, and places. The latter offers lengthy, organized survey articles on the same. This guide really does neither; despite an index and a glossary of terms at the end, it doesn't function well as a reference tool. There is a place for this title in general circulating collections in public and high-school libraries, but reference collections will want to rely on the aforementioned sources.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805046472
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/1/1996
  • Series: A Henry Holt Reference Book
  • Edition description: 1st American ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 8.77 (w) x 11.27 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction
Hinduism
Buddhism
Confucianism
Daoism
Shinto
Glossary
Further Reading
Index
Picture Credits
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