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The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Buddhism

Buddhism is the fifth largest world belief system in the world today, with an estimated 350 million adherents. This richly illustrated book introduces and explains Buddhist history, philosophy and practice, from its very beginnings to the present time. The first two chapters of the book deal with the life of the Buddha and his teachings. Buddhist texts, traditions and ideas are discussed. The relevant doctrines and principles are explained in detail, such as the Four Noble Truths, karma, samsara, nirvana, the Noble Eightfold Path, as well as the Buddhist understanding of compassion, tolerance, non-violence and healing. The third chapter covers the gradual spread of Buddhism and the interpretation of Buddhist scriptures over time. The fourth chapter deals with the practice of Buddhism today, country by country around the world. The final chapter discusses the major Buddhist schools and the key masters and interpreters within these schools, such as Theravada, Zen, Pure Land and Nichiren. Each section is beautifully illustrated by Buddhist paintings, statues and archaeological finds, as well as contemporary images of festivals and ritual. Buddhist architecture is shown and explained, alongside pictures of important temples and pilgrimage sites. The meaning of hand gestures and the practice of meditation is discussed in detail. Helpful terminology boxes appear throughout and are supported by a full glossary at the back of the book. Detailed colour maps show the spread of Buddhism from the 5th century BCE to the end of the first millennium CE; the routes of the pilgrims along the Silk Road from the 4th to the 7th century CE; and the sacred pilgrimage sites of Northern India as they are today. With expert text and 500 inspiring colour images, this book is the perfect introduction for general readers new to Buddhism, and a handy resource for students and scholars alike.
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About the Author

Ian Harris is Professor of Buddhist Studies in the Division of Religion and Philosophy. He was educated at the Universities of Cambridge and Lancaster and is the author of The Continuity of Madhyamaka and Yogacara in Early Indian Mahayana Buddhism (1991), Cambodian Buddhism: History and Practice (2005) and editor of Buddhism and Politics in Twentieth Century Asia (1999)and Buddhism, Politics and Power (2006). He is co-founder of the UK Association for Buddhist Studies and has written widely on aspects of Buddhist ethics and politics. He was Senior Scholar at the Becket Institute, St. Hugh's College, University of Oxford (2001-04) and is currently Senior Research Fellow at the Documentation Centre of Cambodia, Phnom Penh.

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