This Very Short Introduction introduces the reader to the teachings of the Buddha and to Damien Keown’s book provides a lively, informative response to these. Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction introduces the reader to the teachings of the Damien Keown, author Emeritus Professor of Buddhist Ethics, Goldsmith’s. Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction by Damien Keown, , available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide.
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Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us keowb the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Buddhism by Damien Keown. This accessible volume covers both the teachings of the Buddha and the integration of Buddhism into daily life.
What are the distinctive features of Buddhism? What or who is the Buddha, and what are his teachings? How has Buddhist thought developed over the centuries, and how can contemporary dilemmas be faced from a Buddhist perspective? Words such as “karma” and “nirvana This accessible volume covers both the teachings of the Buddha and the integration of Buddhism into daily life.
Words such as “karma” and “nirvana” have entered our vocabulary, but what do they really mean? Keown has taught Buddhism at an introductory level for many years, and in this book he provides a lively, challenging response to these frequently asked questions.
Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative–yet always balanced and complete–discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field.
Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.
Paperbackpages. Published by Oxford University Press first published Very Shotr Introductions 3. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Buddhismplease sign up. Lists with This Book. May 09, Sarah Booth rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Recommended to Sarah by: Library had it on the shelf.
This book gives you the bare bones history of Buddhism. The quick and dirty – who, what, where, when, and how. It gives you a good foundation for learning more about Buddhism and the different schools of Buddhism with some idea where their ideas come from and how they differ.
It’s a great way to get a quick foundation of something that you know little or nothing about so that you can read more with much better understanding. Oct 21, Darwin8u rated it really liked it Shelves: I’ve been fascinated with Buddhism for years and for years jokingly called myself a Zen Mormon. Although keownn probably undersells my relationship with Mormonism and oversells my relationship with Buddhism. I do, however, follow many secular Buddhist practices and read severa ” I do, however, follow many keowwn Buddhist practices and read several books on Buddhism every year.
Buddhist Ethics: A Very Short Introduction : Damien Keown :
I try to meditate, but I’m really, really bad at it. I joke that if I could meditate properly for just one minute, I might at that point achieve Nirvana, or at least begin to float a couple inches over my cushion. Anyway, I’ve got several damifn on Buddhism sitting on my shelf to read, but this year I wanted to read a simple overview of Buddhism.
Finally, Keown ends the book discussing Buddhism in the West and the possibilities of development and enlightenment as Buddhism grows in a new field. Anyway, for a book that is limited to less than pages, Keown did a great job and covered a lot of ground.
The limits were Keown necessarily needed to leave unexplored a lot of Buddhist teachings think bullet points introducyion the main concepts. Oct 21, Dr Osama rated it really liked it. Oct 24, S. Baqer Al-Meshqab rated it liked it Shelves: It seemed the answer to all my problems, until – through a defect in my spiritual understanding or the application of common sense – I fell from grace and my vision clouded over.
As a result of a string of more or less bitter disappointments, I am very wary of any form of enthusiasm I might experience on the Quest for Meaning front, because they all seem to be followed by a disappointment tha Indulging my hobby of The Search for Ultimate Meaning recently, I was for a while captivated by Buddhism. As a result of a string of more or less bitter disappointments, I am very wary of any form daamien enthusiasm I might experience on the Quest for Meaning front, because they all seem to be followed introdudtion a disappointment that is more severe than the short-lived euphoria of enlightenment.
There are all sorts of reasons promulgated by the various creeds regarding this state, of course, and indeed any self-respecting religion has built-in safeguards against potential lapsers. There are loads of anecdotes concerning Buddhist masters expounding on the fragility of life and the importance of the present moment over future and past.
One renowned master up-ended his drinking cup every night before retiring to bed, and when his faithful disciples dutifully asked why he did so answered that he might die that night and have no further need of it.
All very commendable, and something to meditate long and hard on, no doubt — but what if everybody took that attitude? Same goes for the ancient Greeks and early Christians. All these high-minded thinkers depend on a substratum of ignorant toilers to support them, and it quickly comes to look less like a search for meaning and truth and more like an extreme case of self-indulgence brought on by too much time on your hands. You can almost start to sympathise with the Chinese communists for thinking that enough is enough and that these people should get a proper job and make some sort of a contribution to society.
Every actor buxdhism props, and the enlightened ones are no exception. Even Jesus, who famously packed in carpentry to follow his true calling, needed someone to carry on with the trade to make everything come together at Calvary, and hundreds of extras to follow, clothe and feed him in the meantime.
I sympathise with Pilate and Judas. Pilate, according to the eventual winners, was a rough, sadistic budrhism without an iota of culture in him.
Pilate also has the best line in the book: Judas also managed to hold down a proper job as self-respecting freedom fighter, something that got Caractacus and Spartacus plenty of plaudits just a few years earlier. Judas must be the supreme example of someone being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I have plenty of brilliant insights concerning the nature of reality, but they all come to nothing because I end up having to get on with eating, drinking and socialising.
Come to think of it, perhaps I could demonise my friends and colleagues for blocking the Light. View all 7 comments. Jan 06, Nick Imrie rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is pretty much a perfect introduction to Buddhism.
Although short, it’s very concise and packs in a load of information and, even better, tells you when severely summarising so that you can do your own further reading – and, yes, there is a bibliography! S more could inquiring yet impatient minds want?
The opening chapter is a very good framing chapter: In Asia, Buddhism is not known as Buddhism exactly, more usually it’s something like the teac This is pretty much a perfect introduction to Buddhism. In Asia, Buddhism is not known as Buddhism exactly, more usually it’s something like the teachings of the Buddha.
It’s really not a monolith – there are different interpretations of Buddha’s teachings, and each country has its own native religions and philosophies which are often integrated with one or another Buddhist sect, so you end up with lots of different ways of practising; in Japan they have a saying: Apparently lots of people from more Abrahamic faiths doubt that Buddhism is a religion, given that it can be non-theistic aside: I didn’t know this but apparently it can also be very theistic because Buddhist vuddhism includes whole realms of gods keiwn spirits and as well as that many Buddhists still worship local gods and spirits.
Keown comes down on the side of ‘yes, it is a religion’ because it fits Ninian Smarts seven dimensions of religion: I learnt a little about the different branches of Buddhism. Speaking very shlrt Buddhism breaks down into Theravada and Mahayana which are the biggest branches like Protestant and Catholic in Christianity or Sunni and Shia in Islam.
Theravada roughly translates as ‘Doctrine of the Elders’ and considers itself the original, authentic Buddhism. A more simple, austere Buddhism it places emphasis on acheiving enlightenment as a personal responsibility and sticking to the original words of the Buddha. The Mahayana translates, more or less, as ‘The Great Vehicle’ because its the way to salvation.
It places emphasis, not just on acheiving enlightenment yourself, but also on working selflessly to lead all living things to nirvana. Mahayana also has a much more complicated cosmology and ‘Buddhology’ with theories about Buddha having three bodies in three different dimensions, a prophecy of a second Buddha, Maitreya, who will usher in a utopia, and lots of new and inspired scriptures which of course means a lot of different sects and even a few messianic cults.
There’s a very interesting history of how Buddhism spread from Northern India where the Buddha preached across Asia, carried by travelling monks or encouraged by Vey, occasionally beaten back by barbarian hordes. It’s sad to think that what is now Pakistan and Afghanistan were once prosperous Buddhist centres of trade and learning. Keown is also cautiously aware that his reader is most likely to be Westerner unfamiliar with Buddhism except as practised by veey hippies.
He highlights some of the more conservative aspects of Buddhism, such as buddism refusal of Buddhist authorities in many countries to allow female ordination, and the existence of Buddhist monks who have supported wars.
In the chapter on Buddhist ethics inyroduction an interesting discussion of the fact that Buddhism has mostly existed in feudal societies Tibet was a medieval theocracy until about 70 years ago. So it often has a lot of useful advice if you’re, say, a lord considering the best treatment of your serfs, but it doesn’t have buddhizm language analogous to the Western concept of ‘human rights’.
Altogether, this is a very intersting book that does a great job of putting Buddhism into context as a global religion. I haven’t dwelt on it here, but needless to say, there’s also some great chapters on the basics of Buddhism: Apr 07, Jan-Maat added it Shelves: My floundering about buuddhism have been spared had I read Keown’s book sooner.
I’m sure a reader with a fuller knowledge could take issue with the choice of material to include, the amount of space given over to discussing abortion, about four times that given over to Human rights, struck me as a good indicator that Keown has either written or was in the process of writing a journal article on the subject.
There are a lot of ways that one could cut this particular cake. Since this is a very short introduction to the subject then if your interest is in Korean Buddhism or militant Buddhism and the recent long running civil war in Sri Lanka then you are best advised to look elsewhere.
It is a book written from a “Western” perspective, the last paragraph view spoiler [ The Historian Arnold Toynbee described the encounter between Buddhism and the West as ‘one of the greatest collisions of the twenty-first century’. To this confluence of cultures Buddhism brings a sophisticated psychology, techniques of meditation, a profound metaphysics, and a universally admired code of ethics.