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Introduction to Buddhism
An Account of Its Origin, Doctrines & Activities

By B. Peter Harvey
June 1990
Munshiram Publishers
ISBN: 81-215-0493-7
350 p.
$24.00 Cloth

This book to be a comprehensive introduction to the Buddhist tradition as it has developed in three major cultural areas in Asia, and to Buddhism as it is now developing in the west. It is intended to be a textbook for students of Religous or Asian Studies, but will also be of interest to those who want a general survey of Buddhism and its beliefs.

Unlike many other general books about Buddhism, it not only explores the world-views of the religion but also seeks to show how Buddhism functions as a set of practices. It thus includes chapters on devotion, ethics, monastic practice (of nuns as well as monks) and meditation, and relates each of these to buddhist teachings and historical developments. While describing thought and practice, the book sets out at the same time to convey something of the emotional tone or 'flavour' of Buddhism; and emphasising as it does the diversity found within different Buddhist traditions, it aims throughout to highlight the common threads of belief, practice and historical continuities which unify the Buddhist world.

Dr. Harvey has sought to answer questions that are often asked by people on first meeting the tradition, and has tried, where appropriate, to relate Buddhim to modern ways of thinking, while taking account of the most recent scholarship in the field. In his section on Nirvana the author offers a novel interpretation of this ultimate, transcendent mystery.