Review: N. Ross Reat seems to have accomplished the impossible: a one-volume survey of Buddhism that is accurate, inclusive and readable. In an excellent narrative that links facts and ideas over three millennia, Buddhism: a History begins with four chapters on the background, inception and development of early Buddhism, then moves on through nine individual chapters on Buddhism in each of its major geographic locales, from Sri Lanka to Japan and even the West. A valuable work for student and casual reader alike.
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Reat covers the history of Buddhism in a marvelously interesting and informative way that will appeal to the general reader. In 13 chapters, he discusses the Buddha in history and legend; the death of the Buddha and the split that resulted in the Theravada and Mahayana schools of Buddhism; the teachings of the Buddha; and the development of Buddhism around the world, primarily in the United States. He also demonstrates the impact of the political history of different countries on the development of Buddhism and interweaves explanations of the importance of several Buddhist canonical texts with his descriptions of the development of the Theravada and Mahayana schools of Buddhism in various countries. Reat presents this history in a way that draws the reader into the account and provides answers to the questions a beginning reader would have. The result is more detailed than most introductions to the subject. Highly recommended for libraries needing a current introduction to the subject.
David Bourquin, California State Univ., San Bernardino
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Buddhism isn't esoteric anymore. It has become a significant factor throughout world spirituality, and, further, plays a serious part in international politics. This history presents the Buddhist mind at work in the intricacies with which modern humanity is involved. The remote history of this religious and philosophical phenomenon is presented in its present-day expression. While some of the terminology may at first seem difficult for Western comprehension, Reat's absorbing style makes his points understandable for everyone. The content is very thorough and will satisfy the scholar. It may challenge other readers, but nonetheless cannot be accused of being turgid or confusing. This is the first of a new series about major religions, and if Reat's treatment is an indication of the quality of the subsequent works, readers can look forward to all books in the series converting us to understanding. Gary Young
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Book Description Jain Pub Co, 1994. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110875730027
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