Buddhism is a major spiritual and ethical force in the world today--and certainly one of the fastest growing religions in the West. Its compelling insights into human existence offer an ancient and radical alternative to the materialism of the modern age. More and more people are turning to Buddhism to rediscover the human and the spiritual values they find lacking in traditional Western religions.
Now, in this strikingly illustrated and authoritative volume, general readers have an illuminating introduction of one of the world's great living faiths. Based on the most recent scholarship, Buddhism provides a vibrantly written and marvelously illustrated overview of this ancient and yet still vital religion. Each chapter is written by an acknowledged authority in the field. The book describes the origins and historic development of Buddhism as well as current trends. Perhaps most important, it explores the central, unifying principles of a religious and philosophical system that finds expression in an extraordinary diversity of forms, from the elaborate and esoteric rituals of Tantric Buddhism to the rarefied, minimalist refinement of Zen. A major section is devoted to an analysis of the religion's more important sacred writings. And throughout the book, magnificent illustrations capture the sacred art, architecture, daily practices, and symbols inspired by the Buddha and his teaching.
Buddhism in the United States has grown dramatically. Buddhism: The Illustrated Guide offers a wealth of reference information that will deepen one's understanding and appreciation of this ancient Eastern faith.
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From Publishers Weekly:
Kevin Trainor is Associate Professor of Religion at the University of Vermont. He is the author of Relics, Ritual, and Representation in Buddhism: Rematerializing the Sri Lankan Theravada Tradition.
This illustrated guide to Buddhism skillfully embodies brains, brawn and beauty. With its 200 full-cover photos, maps and reproductions of art and architecture, it is a gorgeous coffee-table book that also succeeds in being both scholarly and lively. Short topical essays, enlightening sidebars and complementary photo cutlines grace almost every two-page spread. In four major sections ("Origins," "Principles and Practice," "Holy Writings" and "Buddhism Today"), general editor and University of Vermont religion professor Trainor and his five contributors craft a rich mosaic of Buddhism, from its specific cultural roots to its global resonances today. Many facets of Buddhism's diamond are held to light, including Buddha's "wondrous birth," ethics, visualization, saints and teachers, women, meditation centers, socially engaged Buddhism and timely groups such as Falun Gong. Picture researcher Cee Weston-Baker deserves special mention for the carefully selected, handsome photographs and art reproductions that offer much more than retail allure. These places, spaces and rituals inform the work beyond normal measure, revealing, for example, the robust tenderness of a young Burmese boy about to become ordained as he sheds the symbolic Buddha's princely robes for the simple ones of a monk. China, Sri Lanka, Tibet, India, Hawaii and the United States are but some of the featured locales in this rich evidence of "right effort." This book will prove useful to the curious, the scholar and the devotee.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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