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Buddhism: An Introduction to the Buddha's Life, Teachings, and Practices (the Essential Wisdom Library)
Contributor(s): Oliver, Joan Duncan (Author)

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ISBN: 1250313686     ISBN-13: 9781250313683
Publisher: St. Martin's Essentials
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Binding Type: Paperback
Published: April 2019

Annotation: Presents an introduction to the principle teachings of Buddhism, discussing the three main traditions, the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, and the concepts of karma, samsara, and nirvana.

Click for more in this series: Essential Wisdom Library
Additional Information
BISAC Categories:
- Religion | Buddhism - General (see Also Philosophy - Buddhist)
- Philosophy | Buddhist
Dewey: 294.3
LCCN: 2018050710
Series: Essential Wisdom Library
Physical Information: 0.6" H x 5.4" W x 8.3" (0.40 lbs) 224 pages
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): Oliver, Joan Duncan: - JOAN DUNCAN OLIVER is a contributing editor at Tricycle: The Buddhist Review and an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in such publications as The New York Times, O: the Oprah Magazine, Health, Shambhala Sun, and The Best Buddhist Writing 2005. Her books include Happiness, Good Karma, Coffee with the Buddha, The Meaning of Nice, and Commit to Sit, an anthology of articles from Tricycle. A Buddhist practitioner for 40 years, she has studied with teachers from the Zen, Vipassana, and Tibetan Buddhist traditions, and from Bön, the indigenous religion of Tibet.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2019 March #1)

Oliver (Coffee with the Buddha), editor at Buddhist magazine Tricyle, provides a shaky introduction to the history, traditions, theories, and practices of Buddhism in this unconvincing primer. She considers her topic not Buddhism, but "more accurately titled Buddhisms, plural." Oliver's prose, peppered with Sanskrit and Pali—the languages in which many important Buddhist texts were written—is friendly and welcoming, and she's generally adept at making advanced meditation techniques and the many facets of the Buddha's teachings understandable to readers unfamiliar with the material. However, she presents Buddhism as a potpourri of mutually reinforcing and never contradicting conventions and customs, not only congruous across traditions, but compatible with other religious beliefs as well. This simplistic approach often overlooks the tensions and divisions that can and do exist between Buddhists of different lineages across the globe. While the book is intended as an introduction, the eliding of well-known conflicts and divisions within Buddhism undermines the authority of the work. While readers with no knowledge of Buddhism might find this a satisfactory invitation to learn more, Oliver's overview is disappointingly incomplete. (May)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.
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