Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction

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9780192853868: Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction
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This accessible volume covers both the teachings of the Buddha and the integration of Buddhism into daily life. What are the distinctive features of Buddhism? What or who is the Buddha, and what are his teachings? How has Buddhist thought developed over the centuries, and how can contemporary dilemmas be faced from a Buddhist perspective? Words such as "karma" and "nirvana" have entered our vocabulary, but what do they really mean? Keown has taught Buddhism at an introductory level for many years, and in this book he provides a lively, challenging response to these frequently asked questions.

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.

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Buddhism: Questions for Consideration and Discussion

  • In what ways is the Buddhist worldview similar to or different from the traditional Western one, and how do both of these compare to the current scientific way of thinking? Are the Buddhist and Western conceptions incompatible?
  • Does it make sense to believe in reincarnation? If "no," are people like the Buddha deluded when they claim to remember past lives? If "yes," what evidence is there for it? What difference would it make to you now if you believed you would be reborn and live again?
  • Is karma the same as destiny, in the sense that everything that happens to you is predetermined? Do you believe that "what goes around comes around," and if so is this the same as karma? Does everyone get what they deserve, in the end?
  • Do people have a soul, and if so, what is it like? If not, what is it that makes you who you are, and how do you remain the same person if--as science tells us--the material basis of your being changes continuously? If your memories changed, would you be someone else?
  • Is Buddhism more or less environmentally friendly than Christianity? Which aspects of Buddhist teachings might make it appear in harmony with contemporary ecological attitudes? Do you think Buddha was concerned about the environment?
  • About the Author:


    Damien Keown is Emeritus Professor of Buddhist Ethics at Goldsmiths College, University of London. His books on Buddhism include Buddhist Ethics: A Very Short Introduction, The Nature of Buddhist Ethics, and Buddhism and Bioethics.

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    Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

    9780199663835: Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

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    Oxford..., 1997
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