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

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ISBN: 1250313686     ISBN-13: 9781250313683
Publisher: St Martins Essentials
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Binding Type: Paperback
Published: April 2019


A modern guide to the essential teachings of Buddhism

Buddhism: An Introduction to the Buddha’s Life, Teachings, and Practices is an indispensable guide to a 2,600-year-old wisdom tradition that has transformed the lives of millions across centuries and around the world. Readers will learn how Siddhartha Gautama became the Buddha, one of the most influential spiritual leaders of all time, and discover how they too can follow his revolutionary methods to attain happiness and inner freedom. Along with accessible overviews of central teachings like the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, and the role of meditation and mindfulness, Buddhism offers basic instructions in key practices. Writing in an engaging, approachable style, author Joan Duncan Oliver outlines the fundamentals of Buddhism for every reader, revealing its timeless truths and their relevance for finding peace in uncertain times.

A practitioner of Buddhist meditation for forty years, Oliver has written extensively on Buddhism and Buddhist practice. Her knowledge and understanding make Buddhism an essential modern guidebook to an ancient tradition.

Click for more in this series: The Essential Wisdom Library
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
BISAC Categories:
- Religion | Buddhism
- Biography & Autobiography | Religious
Dewey: 294.3
LCCN: 2018050710
Academic/Grade Level: General Adult
Series: The Essential Wisdom Library
Book type: Non-Fiction
Physical Information: 9.00" H x 5.50" W x 0.50" (0.45 lbs) 204 pages
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): 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 in the Zen, Vipassana, and Tibetan Buddhist traditions.

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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