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An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices
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An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices

3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  135 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Unlike other studies, this work not only explores Buddhism's world views but attempts to show how it functions as a set of practices based on devotion, ethics, and meditation.
Paperback, 396 pages
Published May 25th 1990 by Cambridge University Press
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Jul 15, 2007 Sabio rated it it was amazing
Shelves: buddhism
By far the best intro to Buddhism
But this is for those with an academic bent -- not for those who just want to try meditating.
Harvey is a great author and shows all sides of the various types of Buddhism.
Just as Christianity has more than a hundred sects (OK, they like to call theirs "denominations"), so does Buddhism.
There is no one thing called Buddhism. And each claims to be the original teaching. Yawn.

Humans are so predictable.
Jake Bornheimer
Oct 11, 2014 Jake Bornheimer rated it it was amazing
This book brings both scholarly accuracy and readability. An excellent introduction to the many and varied facets of Buddhism. It covers all the bases: the Southern, Eastern, and Northern varieties. I highly recommend this book for any prospective students of Buddhism.
Dec 24, 2014 Jamie rated it liked it
A very academic and comprehensive treatment of Buddhism that employs complex and at times somewhat confusing language. Overall this is a great reference book, but it'd be better if there were consistency in the romanization of Sanskrit and Tibetan terms. Read it in sections to get a handhold on the various tenants of Buddhism, if taken as a whole you'll get bogged down in irrelevant details and esoteric language.
Jun 13, 2009 Benji rated it it was amazing
I am re-reading this because its for my exams. Buddhism is such an inspiring religion for me because it is very well versed in the practicalities of highly intense spiritual work i.e. meditation, which is light years away from the practise of all but very few Buddhists but is just about within my realm. This comes from its very strong monastic tradition. It is also runs parallel to Christianity in many ways (Buddha the man that became Dhamma v.s. Jesus the God that became man) and it is very fai ...more
Jun 03, 2013 vlthm rated it it was amazing
I've read a little about Buddhism but got really specialists advices and this one is so far my favorite. It's really concerned about a scientific perspective, gives you a lot of histories from the sutras and it's very extensive about the developments of Buddhism. It's neither a "propaganda" book to answer questions of health or mental states, which is very annoying from a historian perspective, but more about what is buddhism historically and also philosophically (the authors really dig into phi ...more
Frank Jude
Sep 21, 2008 Frank Jude rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: All interested in the wealth and breadth of Buddhist traditions.
Recommended to Frank Jude by: I first read it for Seminary. This time I read it for MA in Budd
An excellent 'all-round' introduction, it strength is particularly in its treatment of history, major philosophical themes, and practices. Its weakness is due to its age. First published in 1990, its treatment of 'contemporary' Buddhism is terribly dated. However, reading it today makes the dramatic changes in the last 18 years all the more impressive.

I'd recommend this to anyone wishing to explore the over-arching traditions of Buddhism up to the last century.
Nov 12, 2013 Allison rated it liked it
This book has really great information, but the writing is very dry and hard to get through. My first Buddhism teacher got sick, and our new professor thinks this book is a snooze. I would give it two stars, but the substance of the text is very thorough for an introductory text.
Rodney M
Jul 09, 2015 Rodney M rated it really liked it
easy reading and very wide ranging study of Buddhism.
May 28, 2012 Yupa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Utile come introduzione generica per i non specialisti.
A tratti affetto da un approccio un po' troppo "confessionale" e poco critico.
A great and comprehensive introduction to Buddhism - read it together with some source texts!
Matias Altalef
May 18, 2015 Matias Altalef rated it did not like it
So incredibly dry and boring, I could not bring myself to finish it.
Mar 16, 2014 Kristian rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owns
A thorough introduction to Buddhism. One of the best out there.
Dec 08, 2009 Jono rated it liked it
Very good, but a bit too in depth to quite be termed an introduction.
Josiah Miller
Nov 19, 2015 Josiah Miller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written and readable. accessed pdf online.
Feb 03, 2009 Hollis rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
A thorough introduction to the Buddhist religion.
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Peter Harvey is Emeritus Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Sunderland. He is author of An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics: Foundations, Values and Issues (Cambridge University Press, 2000) and The Selfless Mind: Personality, Consciousness and Nirvāna in Early Buddhism (1995). He is editor of the Buddhist Studies Review.
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