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An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices (Introduction to Religion) Paperback – May 25, 1990

ISBN-13: 978-0521313339 ISBN-10: 0521313333 Edition: 1 edition

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Product Details

  • Series: Introduction to Religion
  • Paperback: 396 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition edition (May 25, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521313333
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521313339
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #345,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Harvey's An Introduction to Buddhism is an admirably lucid, concise, and comprehensive exposition of the historical development and spread of Buddhism." Teaching Philosophy

"...the most comprehensive and detailed English-language introduction to the entirety of Buddhism in its historical development." Adris

"Peter Harvey's Introduction to Buddhism is to be recommended; in its breadth and scope it is without serious rival as an introductory volume...Harvey is to be congratulated on a rounded and sensitive presentation of Buddhist thought and practice." Times Literary Supplement

Book Description

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.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Sarakani on July 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
Most books available on Buddhism on bookshelves at the popular level leave a great deal to be desired. Either they are written by people who have had no contact with Buddhism, culturally or by practice (or at best very little practice of the wrong sort) thus taking a literalist approach to translated Buddhist scripts or they are too specialist, providing a view of Buddhism based on only one school or a narrow emphasis, often hawking for influence.
Professor Harvey has both contacted Buddhism culturally and continues to make an honest attempt to put Buddhism into practice. An introduction to Buddhism is one of the best overall introductions to this vast subject now available, superseding equivalent good books which are by now up to 50 years too old. Harvey combines scholarship including a knowledge of Pali and Sanskrit along with sensitivity to the contexts in which the various scriptures can be seen.
In the forest of competing books out now, this one can be recommended without reservation.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By K. Johnson VINE VOICE on November 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
Excellent introduction for the beginner, and/or anyone who wants to increase their historical and conceptual knowledge of Buddhism & Buddhist beliefs and practices. There are tons of books out there regarding Buddhism, it's different strains, texts, and interpretations. Many of these books seem to me to be "California Zen Pop-Buddhism," while others are 50 years old, very dry, and esoteric. After patiently skimming through various chapters at the bookstore, I realized that I had finally found a well-written book on this subject. I will also look into other works by Peter Harvey.
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37 of 43 people found the following review helpful By "cliftonwolf" on December 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
Peter Harvey's book is dull but extremely useful for those wanting help in learning about the history, practices, and divisions of Buddhism. If a comprehensive, encyclopedia-like reader is wanting you are needing, then this book is your answer, although I would advise taking "no dose" while reading it. Harvy sets forth a historical explanation for all elements of Buddhism and presents the sanskrit form of names and terms. I personally found Harvey's review of Tantra and Zen Buddhism to be particularly helpful. Too often, books and documentaries emphasize the sexual aspects of Tantra and the meditation of Zen without clearly stating what each denomination believes and, more importantly, why they believe such things. Also, before this book, I had trouble finding where to begin in learning about Buddhism, and this book leads its reader by the hand and into the most important issues of Buddhism, escaping the confusion caused by a western interest in Buddhism since the 1960's.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Craig on July 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
Harvey does a wonderful job of introducing the reader to the Buddhism of the Buddha. Then he takes you through the development of Buddhism country by country, showing you how mythology and cultural influences were then added to give us the different denominations we have now.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By JohnA37 on December 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
This text is used at univeristy to explain the history of Buddhism, not an easy read but useful if you want an indepth review and source of reference. Comprehensive introduction to the Buddhist tradition as it has developed in three major cultural areas in Asia, and to Buddhism as it is now developing in the West. It is intended to be a textbook for students of religious and Asian studies respectively, but will also be of interest to those who want a general survey of Buddhism and its beliefs. Unlike many other general books about Buddhism, it not only explores Buddhist beliefs, but also seeks to show how Buddhism functions as a set of practices. Since being written in 1990 some information is now out-of-date.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Cosmikk on November 4, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book gives a basic introduction for university or high school students of Buddhism. My one criticism is that it almost completely ignores doctrine and instead focuses on practices and monastic life. However, it treats these subjects thoroughly and does include some information on doctrine.
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