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Buddhism For Dummies Paperback – 27 Jul 2011

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4.5 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 2nd Revised edition edition (27 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 111802379X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118023792
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 1.9 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 67,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From the Back Cover

Your hands–on guide to the rich history and modern practice of Buddhism

What does it mean to be a Buddhist? What are the fundamental beliefs and history behind this religion? Whether you′re a searcher of truth, a student of religions, or just curious about what makes Buddhism such a widely practiced religion, this friendly guide defines the important terms, explains key concepts, and explores in–depth the origins of this fascinating ancient practice, along with daily observances, celebrations, meditation, and more.

  • Buddhism 101 ― grasp how Buddhism can be regarded as a religion, a philosophy of life, and a practical approach to dealing with life′s problems

  • Buddha in full gear ― get the 411 on the life and times of the historical Buddha, known as Gautama or Shakyamuni, and the basic teachings attributed to him

  • Trace the routes ― discover how Buddhism developed in India and evolved as it spread from country to country across Asia

  • To be a Buddhist ― find out how followers bring Buddhism into their everyday lives, learn how to practice meditation, and take a tour of the major Buddhist pilgrimage sites

Open the book and find:

  • The origins and philosophy of Buddhism

  • Buddhist practices of wisdom and compassion

  • The life and teachings of the historical Buddha

  • How to develop a meditation practice

  • Buddhist attitudes toward life and death

  • A look at four Buddhist masters

  • Ten ways Buddhism can help you deal with life′s problems

Learn to:

  • Understand the fundamental beliefs and history of Buddhism

  • Grasp the continuing relevance of the Dalai Lama

About the Author

Jonathan Landaw is the former English Translation Editor, Translation Bureau of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Stephan Bodian has studied and practices several schools of Buddhism.

Gudrun Bühnemann, Professor, teaches the Sanskrit Language and its literature, along with courses on the religions of South Asia.


Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

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I have lost count of how many copies of this excellent book I have purchased and given away. I am an ordained Buddhist and am frequently asked by newcommers to suggest a book that provides an overview of all the main schools of Buddhism, and I am yet to find anything better than Buddhism for Dummies. It is written with authority but without dogma, but most of all, it doesn't take itself too seriously, so it is very accessible. I frequently refer to it when preparing talks on Buddhism to beginners. A great book!
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I bought this, and completed reading through it, over a month ago, and would strongly recommend it to those starting to look into Buddhism, whether for school, out of curiosity, or as the start of a long-term interest or journey.

The good points:
- very clear, well written, understandable language. New terms are introduced gently and the glossary is very helpful.
- written by people sympathetic to the subject (although more on this later)
- seems to cover all the basics: god / religion / karma / rebirth / meditation etc.

What it will do:
- give you a decent basic understanding of the key ideas in Buddhism as well as a brief overview of the history and cultures around it.
- get you interested to learn more
- provide a good base to start from, and some useful suggestions for further reading.

What it won't do:
- in depth coverage of anything. This is an introduction for the complete beginner or learner looking to get to grips with the basics. If you want to really get into any topic in any depth you will need to read beyond this.

The negatives:
- the writers are clearly very sympathetic to Buddhism. Personally I think this is a positive overall, but there were one or two points where I felt they glided over valid concerns.
- the book does tend to emphasize Tibetan Buddhism. It certainly mentions and discusses others, and overall gives fairly even handed coverage of them, but just be aware that what you are reading may have been written with a slight bias in favour of Tibetan Buddhism.

I want to emphasize that these negatives certainly don't prevent the book from being a very, very useful introduction to Buddhism, they are just a couple of points to keep in mind. As with any book, and especially any book on religion, read it with your critical brain engaged.
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I had to buy this as all of my Buddhism books are packed away in a cardboard box in a loft and I was so desperate to have someone 'talk to me' and remind me what Buddhism is all about. It is superb. It is on my bedside table so that I can pick it up when I am feeling down and need to be reminded that I had so much to be thankful for.
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A really great start for someone who is getting serious about Buddhism. Have almost read cover to cover and I have learned so much. It also gives lots of information about what to read next. Loved it.
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All the basics are here as well as some good history into the subject. If I had one small issue that would be with the constant references to what is coming up and to what page. I am guessing the authors are academics and have used similar techniques to those one would use when writing a dissertation. Overall though I have no problem giving this book 5 stars.
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This is an excellent book for those who are interested in Buddhism. As with all Dummies books it is filled to the brim with fantastic information, but some of it I feel was not really necessary and was a little over-whelming. That is why I have only given it 4 stars. I have, however learned a lot from this book and would recommend it for anyone who has a real interest in the subject.
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I bought this for a dear friend of mine who has recently shown an interest in The Buddha and The Dharma. I had it delivered to my address so I could make sure it wasn't too complicated for her and I was very surprised. It's laid out in a way where you don't need to read it from start to end. It's dip in and outable! Totally written with the Westerner in mind and when you do actually sit and start to read it, it's actually really in depth and very factual, for those students wanting to stud the subject more deeply. I am very impressed with this book, in fact, not just this book but the whole series (I bought one for my new DSLR - being a total novice!). A fully deserved 5 stars.
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As a newcomer I wanted an overview which this book gives in easily digestible chunks.It covers different schools of Buddhism though Triratna is not mentioned. It is a book I will continue to use for reference.
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