Buddhism is a vast and complex religious and philosophical tradition with a history that stretches over 2,500 years, and which is now followed by around 115 million people. In this introduction to the foundations of Buddhism, Rupert Gethin concentrates on the ideas and practices which constitute the common heritage of the different traditions of Buddhism (Thervada, Tibetan, and Eastern) which exist in the world today. From the narrative of the story of the Buddha, through discussions of aspects such as textual traditions, the framework of the Four Noble Truths, the interaction between the monastic and lay ways of life, the cosmology of karma and rebirth, and the path of the bodhisattva, this books provides a stimulating introduction to Buddhism as a religion and way of life, which will also be of interest to those who are more familiar with the subject.
Rupert Gethin is co-founder of the Centre for Buddhist Studies at the University of Bristol and a specialist in Indian Buddhism.
Introduction ; 1. The Buddha: The Story of the Awakened One ; 2. The Word of the Buddha: Buddhist Scriptures and Schools ; 3. Four Truths: The Disease, the Cause, the Cure, the Medicine ; 4. The Buddhist Community: Monks, Nuns, and Lay Followers ; 5. The Buddhist Cosmos: The Thrice Thousandfold World ; 6. No self: Personal Continuity and Dependent Arising ; 7. The Buddhis Path: The Way of Calm and Insight ; 8. The Abhidharma: The Higher Teaching ; 9. The Mahayana: The Great Vehicle ; 10. Evolving Traditions of Buddhism