An Introduction to Buddhism

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Table of Contents



Preface to the Second Edition, and Acknowledgements

A Note on Language and Pronunciation



Chapter 1 The Buddha and his Indian Context

Background to the life of the Buddha

The life of the Buddha

The nature and role of the Buddha

The nature and style of the Buddha’s teaching

Chapter 2 Early Buddhist Teachings: Rebirth and Karma

Rebirth and cosmology


Belief in rebirth and karma

Chapter 3 Early Buddhist Teachings: The Four True Realities for the Spiritually Ennobled

The first True Reality for the Spiritually Ennobled: the painful

The second True Reality for the Spiritually Ennobled: the origin of the painful

The third True Reality for the Spiritually Ennobled: the cessation of the painful – Nirvā&ndotbelow;a

The Fourth True Reality for the Spiritually Ennobled: The Path to the Cessation of the Painful

Chapter 4 Early Developments in Buddhism

The early Sa&ndotabove;gha

The Abhidhamma

The early schools and their doctrines

The three aspirations, Jātakas and Avadānas

Emperor Asoka and Buddhism

Devotion and symbolism in early Buddhism

The rise of the Mahāyāna

Chapter 5 Mahāyāna Philosophies: The Varieties of Emptiness

The Perfection of Wisdom literature and the Mādhyamika school

The Yogācāra school

Tathāgata-garbha thought

The Avata&mdotbelow;saka sūtra and the Huayan school

A comparative overview of Mahāyāna philosophies and their ideas of ‘emptiness’

Chapter 6 Mahāyāna Holy Beings, and Tantric Buddhism

The Path of the Bodhisattva

Mahayana Buddhology: Expansion with Regard to the Number, Location, Life-Span and Nature of Buddhas

The Mahāyāna Pantheon

The Tantric Perspective

Chapter 7 The Later History and Spread of Buddhism

India and Central Asia


South-East Asia Excluding Vietnam

The Lands of Northern Buddhism


Vietnam and Korea


Overview and Comparative Reflections

Chapter 8 Buddhist Practice: Devotion

Focuses and Locations of Devotional Acts

Bowing, Offerings and Chanting

The Refuges

Attitudes to Images

Protective Chanting

Some Mahāyāna Focuses of Devotion



Chapter 9 Buddhist Practice: Ethics

The Role and Basis of Ethics in Buddhism


Keeping the Precepts

Lovingkindness and Compassion

Care for the Dying and the Dead

The Ethics of Social Relationships

Chapter 10 Buddhist Practice: The Sa&ndotabove ;gha

The Role of Monasticism

The Monastic Code of Discipline

Patterns and Types of Ordination


The Economic Base of the Monastic Life

Study and Meditation

Communal Life

Relations with the Laity

Chapter 11 Buddhist Practice: Meditation and Cultivation of Experience-Based Wisdom

The Approach to Meditation

Qualities to be Developed by Meditation

Approaches Beginning with Samatha in Southern Buddhism

The Contributions of Samatha and Vipassanā Meditation in Southern Buddhism

Approaches Beginning with Vipassanā in Southern Buddhism

The Classical Path of Śamatha and vipaśyanā in Northern and Eastern Buddhism

Pure Land Visualizations

Tantric Visualizations

Tantric Techniques of Spontaneity

Zen Meditation

Chapter 12 The Modern History of Buddhism in Asia

Southern Buddhism

Eastern Buddhism

Northern Buddhism

Chapter 13 Buddhism Beyond Asia

The Early Influence of Buddhism Through Literature, Philosophy and Psychology

The Theosophical Society: a bridge between east and west


The Internet, Films and Music


Categories of Buddhists, and their Characteristics and Numbers

Buddhist Missions and Organizations

Appendix I. Canons of Scriptures

Appendix II„ Web Resources

General links and resources

Free online journals and e-texts of print journals

Southern Buddhism

General Mahāyāna, especially texts

Northern Buddhism

Eastern Buddhism

Other organizations





Teachings, History and Practices

— ~ r THT ~
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