Synopses & Reviews
Going well beyond the masterful presentationof Buddhism in the bestselling The World's Religions
, Huston Smith and his premier student Philip Novak offer an expert, contemporary, yet highly readable and incisive guide to the heart of this vibrantly diverse and rapidly growing tradition, one that has an increasing presence and importance on the American scene. Smith is universally regarded as the leading authority on the world's religious traditions, and Novak is an award-winning professor of world religions and a Buddhist practitioner immersed in the contemporary worlds of American and Asian Buddhism.
Smith and Novak respectfully cover the essential teachings, practices, and historical development of Buddhism in all its rich variety. Beginning with the life and legend of the Buddha, Buddhism explores core Buddhist doctrines such as the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, nirvana, and emptiness. The authors go on to discuss the split between Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism, the continued divisions of Mahayana into Pure Land, Zen, and Tibetan Buddhism, and the confluence of Hinduism and Buddhism in India. The second half of the book follows the global migration of Buddhism and its continuing diversification and development in the West, especially in America. This compelling work by two great scholars -- a legendary teacher and his long-time student and colleague -- is the most insightful, up-to-date, and accessible introduction to this great and immensely appealing religious tradition available today.
“A useful primer for those new to the study of Buddhism.” Indianapolis Star
“Those seeking to dip a toe into Buddhism will find this an inviting pond.” Dallas Morning News
“This book is an impressive and accessible overview of the core teachings [of Buddhism]. Inquiring Mind Magazine
“Stellar...outstanding....Highly recommended.” Library Journal
“A valuable primer on Buddhism East and West, old and new.” David Loy, author of A Buddhist History of the West
Developed from his masterful presentation of Buddhism in the bestselling The World's Religions, Huston Smith and his renowned student Philip Novak offer a highly readable and incisive guide to the heart of a quickly growing tradition, one of vibrant diversity with an increasing presence and importance on the American scene.
This book will stand apart as the most concise timely, and vital introduction to Buddhism available today, covering the essentials of Buddhist history from India to the Americas as well as Buddhist teachings and practices in all their rich variety.
About the Author
Huston Smithis internationally known and revered as the premier teacher of world religions and for his bestselling books The World's Religions and Why Religion Matters. He was the focus of a five-part PBS television series with Bill Moyers, and has taught at Washington University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Syracuse University, and the University of California, Berkeley.
Table of Contents
Foreword -- Acknowledgments -- Part I : Wheel of the Dharma -- Man who woke up ; Silent sage ; Rebel saint ; Four noble truths ; Eightfold path ; Other core Buddhist concepts : nirvana, anatta, the three marks of existence, dependent arising, and emptiness ; Theravada and Mahayana : the great divide ; Vipassana : the Theravadin way of insight ; Zen Buddhism : the secret of the flower ; Tibetan Buddhism : the diamond thunderbolt ; Image of the crossing ; Confluence of Buddhism and Hinduism in India -- Part II : Wheel rolls West -- New migration ; America the Buddha full ; Adaptations : the new Buddhism ; America starts meditating I : the ways of Zen ; America starts meditating II : Tibetan Buddhism in exile ; America starts meditating III : Vipassana movement -- Afterword : Flowering of faith : Buddhism's pure land tradition.