Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction

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9780192853295: 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.

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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 Lecturer in Indian Religion at the Department of Historical and Cultural Studies at Goldsmith's College, London. His recent publications include Buddhism and Bioethics, and The Nature of Buddhist Ethics.

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    Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

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

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    ISBN 10:  0199663831 ISBN 13:  9780199663835
    Publisher: Oxford University Press, 2013
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    9780192853868: Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction

    Oxford..., 2000
    Softcover

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