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Buddhism For Dummies, 2nd Edition

ISBN: 978-1-118-02379-2
384 pages
August 2011
Buddhism For Dummies, 2nd Edition (111802379X) cover image
Your hands-on guide to this widely practiced and ancient religion

Buddhism, one of the world's most widely practiced religions, is a fascinating yet complex eastern religion that is rapidly spreading throughout western civilization. What does it mean to be a Buddhist? What are the fundamental beliefs and history behind this religion? Buddhism For Dummies explores these questions and more in this updated guide to Buddhist culture. You'll gain an understanding of the origins of this ancient practice and how they're currently applied to everyday life.

Whether you're a searcher of truth, a student of religions, or just curious about what makes Buddhism such a widely practiced religion, this guide is for you. In plain English, it defines the important terms, explains the key concepts, and explores in-depth a wide range of fascinating topics.

  • New and expanded coverage on all the schools of Buddhism, including Theravada, Tibetan, and Mahayana
  • The continuing relevance of the Dalai Lama
  • Updated coverage on daily observances, celebrations, styles, practices, meditation, and more

Continuing the Dummies tradition of making the world's religions engaging and accessible to everyone, Buddhism For Dummies is your essential guide to this fascinating religion.

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Introduction 1

Part I: Embarking on a Journey: The Basics of Buddhism 7

Chapter 1: Entering the World of Buddhism: The Basics 9

Chapter 2: Understanding Your Mind: The Creator of All Experience 21

Part II: A Short History of Buddhism 35

Chapter 3: Surveying the Life and Teachings of the Historical Buddha 37

Chapter 4: The Development of Buddhism on the Indian Subcontinent 63

Chapter 5: Watching Developments Continue to the Present Day 85

Part III: Behaving Like a Buddhist 119

Chapter 6: Turning to Buddhism 121

Chapter 7: Meditation: A Central Practice of Buddhism 139

Chapter 8: A Day in the Life of a Buddhist Practitioner 161

Chapter 9: Walking in the Buddha's Footsteps 181

Part IV: Exploring the Buddhist Path 195

Chapter 10: What Is Enlightenment, Anyway? 197

Chapter 11: A Matter of Life and Death 217

Chapter 12: Minding the Concept of Karma 233

Chapter 13: Breaking Free of the Cycle of Dissatisfaction 249

Chapter 14: Fulfi lling Your Highest Potential 269

Chapter 15: Life Stories of Four Buddhist Masters 289

Part V: The Part of Tens 307

Chapter 16: Ten Common Misconceptions about Buddhism 309

Chapter 17: Ten Ways Buddhism Can Help You Deal with Life's Problems 317

Part VI: Appendixes 329

Appendix A: Explaining Buddhist Terms 331

Appendix B: Additional Buddhist Resources to Check Out 337

Index 347

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Jonathan Landaw is the former English Translation Editor, Translation Bureau of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Stephan Bodian has studied and practices several schools of Buddhism.

Gudrun Bühnemann, Professor, teaches the Sanskrit Language and its literature, along with courses on the religions of South Asia.

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