Friday, August 14, 2009
Buddhism: A Concise Introduction - Huston Smith, Philip Novak
Going well beyond the masterful presentationof Buddhism in the bestselling The World's Religions, Huston Smith and his premier student Philip Novak offer an expert, contemporary, yet highly readable and incisive guide to the heart of this vibrantly diverse and rapidly growing tradition, one that has an increasing presence and importance on the American scene. Smith is universally regarded as the leading authority on the world's religious traditions, and Novak is an award-winning professor of world religions and a Buddhist practitioner immersed in the contemporary worlds of American and Asian Buddhism.
Smith and Novak respectfully cover the essential teachings, practices, and historical development of Buddhism in all its rich variety. Beginning with the life and legend of the Buddha, Buddhism explores core Buddhist doctrines such as the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, nirvana, and emptiness. The authors go on to discuss the split between Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism, the continued divisions of Mahayana into Pure Land, Zen, and Tibetan Buddhism, and the confluence of Hinduism and Buddhism in India. The second half of the book follows the global migration of Buddhism and its continuing diversification and development in the West, especially in America. This compelling work by two great scholars -- a legendary teacher and his long-time student and colleague -- is the most insightful, up-to-date, and accessible introduction to this great and immensely appealing religious tradition available today.