Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

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

This Very Short Introduction offers readers a superb overview of the teachings of the Buddha, as well as a succinct guide to the integration of Buddhism into daily life. What are the distinctive features of Buddhism? Who was the Buddha, and what are his teachings? Words such as "karma" and "nirvana" have entered our vocabulary, but what do they mean? Damien Keown provides a lively, informative response to these frequently asked questions about Buddhism. As he sheds light into how Buddhist thought developed over the centuries, Keown also highlights how contemporary dilemmas can be faced from a Buddhist perspective.

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.

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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 Reader in Buddhism at Goldsmiths College, University of London. His books on Buddhism include Dictionary of Buddhism and Buddhist Ethics: A Very Short Introduction. He is also Editor of The Journal of Buddhist Ethics and Co-Editor of The Curzon Critical Studies in Buddhism series.

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    Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 2nd Revised edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction introduces the reader to the teachings of the Buddha and to the workings of Buddhism in daily life. Damien Keown looks at the distinctive features of Buddhism, examining who the Buddha was and what his teachings were. By considering how Buddhist thought has developed over the centuries, Keown considers how contemporary dilemmas can be faced from a Buddhist perspective. In this new 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: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable. Bookseller Inventory # AOP9780199663835

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