This Oxford publication seems best suited for a comparative world religion course. I found it in search of material for a unit on comparative world religion in my Sociology of Religion course, and I have used it several times now. I wish there was something comparable on Western Religions! EASTERN RELIGIONS is unorthodox in that it has the glossy pages and color photos typically found in a large-format textbook, but instead is in a 5" X 7.5" handbook format. It is 550 pages long, but with plenty of great photos, including reproductions of artwork, the actual text is nowhere near that long.
The organization of the sections is both the strength and the weakness. Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and Shinto are covered, and for each there is a section on 1) Origins and Historical Development, 2) Aspects of the Divine, 3) Sacred Texts, 4) Sacred Persons, 5) Ethical Principles, 6) Sacred Space, 7) Sacred Time, 8) Death and the Afterlife, and 9) Society and Religion.
The strength of this approach, from a sociological standpoint, is that religious practices receive as much attention as religious doctrines and beliefs. For instance, Dipavali, the Necklace (or Festival) of Lights, which was recently celebrated, is covered in the Sacred Time sub-section of the Hinduism section. For instance Laozi, fabled author of the Tao te Ching, is worshipped as a god by Taoists in China, which I'm sure is news to many in the West who read the Tao te Ching as philosophy and are informed that Laozi may never have existed as a singular historical person at all. The reader learns of the Three Teachings tradition of China, which combines Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. Here's where the strength becomes a weakness, though -- the China expert has to write the Taoism and Confucianism sections separately, and so while some of the material overlaps (for instance qi, yin and yang), it remains unclear exactly how they are (or were) combined in the everyday life of the Chinese people, let alone how they combine with Buddhism which has a separate author altogether. And the Chinese "popular religion" is mentioned as well, but never explained at all, because it doesn't fit the framework.
Credit where credit is due: the Hinduism section is written by Vasudha Narayanan, Professor of Religion at the University of Florida, the Buddhism section is written by Malcolm David Eckel, Associate Professor of Religion at Boston University, the Shinto section is written by C. Scott Littleton, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Occidental College in Los Angeles, and the sections on Taoism and Confucianism are written by Jennifer Oldstone-Moore, Assistant Professor (of what the book jacket does not say) at Wittenberg University in Ohio.