Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction (2nd edition)

ISBN : 9780199663835

Damien Keown
184 Pages
114 x 174 mm
Pub date
Feb 2013
Very Short Introductions


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  • Remains one of the most accessible introductions to Buddhism
  • Introduces the teachings of the Buddha and the integration of Buddhism into daily life
  • Looks at the distinctive features of Buddhism and how it differs to other religions
  • Examines how Buddhist thought has developed over the centuries, including the contemporary spread in to Asia

New to this Edition:

  • Incorporates recent new discoveries and new perspectives on Buddhist thought
  • Includes up to date material about the spread of Buddhism and historical evolution of buddhism throughout Asia
  • Looks at the material culture of Buddhism and its importance
  • Incorporates new thinking on the ethics of war and peace, which have become part of a lively debate in recent years
  • Updates to the interaction between Buddhism and the West, including topics such as ethnicity, class, and gender
  • Updated further reading list including several recent publications

Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction introduces the reader to the teachings of the Buddha and to the workings of Buddhism in daily life. Damien Keown looks at the distinctive features of Buddhism, examining who the Buddha was and what his teachings were. By considering how Buddhist thought has developed over the centuries, Keown considers how contemporary dilemmas can be faced from a Buddhist perspective. 

In this new edition Keown provides new perspectives on Buddhist thought, including up-to-date material about the evolution of Buddhism throughout Asia, the material culture of Buddhism and its importance, new teachings on the ethics of war and peace, and changes to ethnicity, class, and gender. 
"Keown's skill in explaining complex ideas and the book's clarity of structure and style ensure that it will retain the respect of scholars and students. In short, the book is a very worthwhile read." - Naomi Appleton, The Expository Times


List of illustrations
List of maps
Note on citations and pronunciation
1: Buddhism and elephants
2: The Buddha
3: Karma and rebirth
4: The Four Noble Truths
5: The Mahayana
6: The spread of Buddhism in Asia
7: Meditation
8: Ethics
9: Buddhism in the West
Further Reading

About the author: 

Damien Keown is Emeritus Professor of Buddhist Ethics at Goldsmiths College, London. He is Founding co-editor of the Journal of Buddhist Ethics and a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society. He is also the author of Buddhist Ethics: A Very Short Introduction (2005) and co-editor of Encyclopaedia of Buddhism (Routledge, 2007). He is now retried.

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