Synopses & Reviews
This engaging introduction to Buddhism by leading Buddhist scholar Donald S. Lopez Jr. offers an expert but lucid account that demystifies Buddhism and explains its practices, teachings, and schools. Blending penetrating analysis with engaging storytelling, Lopez makes Buddhism accessible and compelling as he reveals the commonalities and differences among the major traditions. "The Story of Buddhism" focuses on actual lived practice and shows why Buddhism has been so appealing and helpful through many centuries and many cultures, including our own.
Lopez begins with the creation and structure of the Buddhist universe and then tells the story of the life of the Buddha, weaving a tapestry of history, legend, and doctrine (a traditional approach in Buddhist literature). He explores important concepts such as dharma -- including devotional practices and techniques of meditation -- and sangha -- the communities of monks, nuns, and laypeople who follow the teachings of the Buddha. Finally, the author probes the meaning of enlightenment as a path to the realization of one's true nature and freedom from suffering.
Complete with a glossary, detailed index, and comprehensive bibliography, "The Story of Buddhism" is a rich presentation of the Buddhist tradition. Whether you are a practicing Buddhist, a student of world religions, or both, this concise, accessible introduction to the teachings, practices, and historical development of Buddhism is an invaluable guide that will set the standard for years to come.
“Aims to make the tradition both accessible and compelling, as well as to demystify its practices, teachings, and schools.” Tricycle
“A portrayal of Buddhism that...is readily accessible and appealing...[a] good introduction to Buddhism.” Choice
“Heads my list of books to give to someone ready to be introduced to the Four Noble Truths.” Phil Catalfo, Yoga Journal
“The clearest book we have on the history, variety, and meaning of what we now call Buddhism.” Kenneth Woodward, Newsweek
“At long last we have here an introductory volume on Buddhism that goes beyond the usual cliches.” Bernard Faure, Professor of Religious Studies, Stanford University
“The Story of Buddhism is one of those rare books that gives fresh insights on repeated readings.” San Francisco Chronicle
- How and when did the many schools of Buddhism emerge?
- How does the historical figure of Siddartha Guatama relate to the many teachings that are presented in his name?
- Did Buddhism modify the cultures to which it was introduced, or did they modify Buddhism?
Leading Buddhist scholar Donald S. Lopez Jr. explores the origins of this 2,500-year-old religion and traces its major developments up to the present, focusing not only on the essential elemenmts common to all schools of Buddhism but also revealing the differences among the major traditions. Beginning with the creation and structure of the Buddhist universe, Lopez explores the life of the Buddha, the core Buddhist tenets, and the development of the monastic life and lay practices. Combining brilliant scholarship with fascinating stories -- contemporary and historical, sometimes miraculous, sometimes humorous -- this rich and absorbing volume presents a fresh and expert history of Buddhism and Buddhist life.
About the Author
Donald S. Lopez Jr. is the Carl W. Belser Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies at the University of Michigan. He is the author and editor of many books on Buddhism, including Buddhism in Practice and Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West, and key religious texts by His Holiness the Dalai Lama: The Joy of Living and Dying in Peace, The Way to Freedom, and Awakening the Mind, Lightening the Heart.