This engaging introduction to Buddhism by leading Buddhist scholar Donald S. Lopez Jr. offers an expert but lucid account that demystifies Buddhism and explains its practices, teachings, and schools. Blending penetrating analysis with engaging storytelling, Lopez makes Buddhism accessible and compelling as he reveals the commonalities and differences among the major traditions. The Story of Buddhism focuses on actual lived practice and shows why Buddhism has been so appealing and helpful through many centuries and many cultures, including our own.
Lopez begins with the creation and structure of the Buddhist universe and then tells the story of the life of the Buddha, weaving a tapestry of history, legend, and doctrine (a traditional approach in Buddhist literature). He explores important concepts such as dharma -- including devotional practices and techniques of meditation -- and sangha -- the communities of monks, nuns, and laypeople who follow the teachings of the Buddha. Finally, the author probes the meaning of enlightenment as a path to the realization of one's true nature and freedom from suffering.
Complete with a glossary, detailed index, and comprehensive bibliography, The Story of Buddhism is a rich presentation of the Buddhist tradition. Whether you are a practicing Buddhist, a student of world religions, or both, this concise, accessible introduction to the teachings, practices, and historical development of Buddhism is an invaluable guide that will set the standard for years to come.