By Bradley K. Hawkins

Buddhism is a concise and readable survey of the heritage of Buddhism from its roots in India to its unfold throughout South and East Asia and its contemporary manifestation in Europe and the United States. Focusing quite at the sleek interval, it presents a helpful advent to different paths of Buddhism—the ideals and practices—and appears on the ways that this faith is assembly the demanding situations of the fashionable global. Written in an obtainable and informative kind, and assuming very little previous wisdom at the a part of the reader, this ebook provides a easy creation to the faith—its historical past, ideals, and practices. presents precious pedagogy, together with: timeline; maps; word list; checklist of sacred days/festivals; instructed studying; pronunciation advisor; index; function packing containers concentrating on a few features of the humanities; eleven black and white photos and works of art. Readers drawn to studying extra concerning the world's religions.

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More important than this, however, was the fact that as Tibet became more unified, the kings of Lhasa found that the old religion, Bon-po, could not contribute to their political ambitions to the same degree as could Buddhism. In addition, Tibet was coming to look beyond its own borders for the first time. During Songtsen Gampo’s reign, envoys were dispatched to India where they modified the existing Sanskrit script for use in writing Tibetan (no small feat given that the Sanskrit script is phonetic and Tibetan is a tonal language akin to Chinese).

E. , a Buddhist missionary called An Shih-kao is credited with translating Buddhist scriptures into Chinese for the first time. These translations were not of particularly high quality, since they necessitated the invention of Buddhist terms in Chinese and at first Taoist terms were used to convey Buddhist ideas. This was to lead to some intermixing of Taoist and Buddhist ideas in the Chinese mind. During these earliest days of Buddhism in China, short practical texts and handbooks on meditation, rather than long philosophical dissertations, were the first to be translated.

Both of these teachers were well known for their magical attainments, and Milarepa is recognized as the foremost poet of Tibet. The Kagyu were the first school to establish the concept of the tulku. A tulku is a highly developed monk, usually the founder of a particular order, who reincarnates and takes up residence in a new body time after time in order to resume his duties as head of his order. In much later times, the Kagyu order was one of the first to recognize the potential for expansion to Europe and America, and a number of famous modern monks such as Chogyam Trungpa and Chuje Akong belonged to this order.

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