Introducing Buddhism: 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Introducing Buddhism

2nd Edition

By Charles S. Prebish, Damien Keown


326 pages

Companion Website
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Paperback: 9780415550017
pub: 2009-12-02
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Introducing Buddhism is the ideal resource for all students beginning the study of this fascinating religious tradition. It explains the religion’s key teachings and traces its historical development and geographical spread of from its foundations up to present day. Charles S. Prebish and Damien Keown, two of today’s leading Buddhist scholars, devote a chapter each to the major regions where Buddhism has flourished - India, South-east Asia, East Asia and Tibet. In addition, contemporary concerns are discussed, including important and relevant topics such as Engaged Buddhism, Buddhist Ethics, Buddhism and the Western World and Meditation.

This new edition includes more material on the different schools of Buddhism including explanations in graphic form, monastic life, popular religion, Buddhist ethics, ritual, the Bodhisattva Path, the Jatakas, the transmission of Buddhism, and class, gender and race.

Introducing Buddhism includes illustrations, extracts from original sources, summary boxes, questions for discussion, suggestions for further reading and a companion website at

Charles S. Prebish is Charles Redd Chair of Religious Studies at Utah State University. Damien Keown is Professor of Buddhist Ethics at Goldsmith's College, University of London. They are the editors of the Encyclopedia of Buddhism (Routledge, 2007).


'This is a wonderful book, comprehensive and readable, that covers a wide spectrum of Buddhism. It's clearly presented and probably the best general textbook available today. Aimed at undergraduate readers, it can also provide reliable information for anyone interested in Buddhism.' - John Powers, Australian National University, Australia

'Well-structured, clearly written, and equipped with a variety of helpful didactic tools, Introducing Buddhism is an excellent starting point for studying the complex teachings and religious practices of Buddhism and its historical developments up to the present time. The book provides straightforward orientation for absolute beginners as well as more detailed discussions for advanced students. The first edition of the book has proved its worth in class, and I look forward to using this new, enhanced edition in my introductory classes.' - Oliver Freiberger, The University of Texas at Austin, USA

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements. Chronology of Buddhist History. The Buddhist Scriptures. Pronunciation Guide. Introduction: The Background to Buddhism Part 1: Foundations Karma and Cosmology. The Buddha. The Dharma. The Sangha. Meditation Part 2: Development Mahayana Buddhism. Buddhism in India. Buddhism in Southeast Asia. Buddhism in East Asia. Buddhism in Tibet Part 3: Modernity Buddhism in the Western World. Engaged Buddhism. Buddhist Ethics. Reflections on the Nature and Study of Buddhism

About the Authors

Charles S. Prebish is Charles Redd Chair in Religious Studies at Utah State University. Damien Keown is Professor of Buddhist Ethics at Goldsmiths College, University of London. They are the editors of the Routledge Encyclopedia of Buddhism.

About the Series

World Religions

This exciting series introduces students to the major world religious traditions. Each religion is explored in a lively and clear fashion by experienced teachers and leading scholars in the field of world religions. Up to date scholarship is presented in a student-friendly fashion, covering history, core beliefs, sacred texts, key figures, religious practice and culture, and key contemporary issues. To aid learning and revision, each text includes illustrations, summaries, explanations of key terms, and further reading.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General
RELIGION / Buddhism / General (see also PHILOSOPHY / Buddhist)