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Buddhism: The Illustrated Guide by Kevin Trainor (Editor)

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Buddhism: The Illustrated Guide by Kevin Trainor (Editor)

Product By Oxford University Press, USA
(4 customers reviews)

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Book details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (17 Jun 2004)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 0195173988
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195173987
  • Dimensions: 23.1 x 17.8 x 2.8 cm

Buddhism: The Illustrated Guide Description

Buddhism is a major spiritual and ethical force in the world today--and certainly one of the fastest growing religions in the West. Its compelling insights into human existence offer an ancient and radical alternative to the materialism of the modern age. More and more people are turning to Buddhism to rediscover the human and the spiritual values they find lacking in traditional Western religions. Now, in this strikingly illustrated and authoritative volume, general readers have an illuminating introduction of one of the world's great living faiths. Based on the most recent scholarship, Buddhism provides a vibrantly written and marvelously illustrated overview of this ancient and yet still vital religion. Each chapter is written by an acknowledged authority in the field. The book describes the origins and historic development of Buddhism as well as current trends. Perhaps most important, it explores the central, unifying principles of a religious and philosophical system that finds expression in an extraordinary diversity of forms, from the elaborate and esoteric rituals of Tantric Buddhism to the rarefied, minimalist refinement of Zen. A major section is devoted to an analysis of the religion's more important sacred writings. And throughout the book, magnificent illustrations capture the sacred art, architecture, daily practices, and symbols inspired by the Buddha and his teaching. Buddhism in the United States has grown dramatically. Buddhism: The Illustrated Guide offers a wealth of reference information that will deepen one's understanding and appreciation of this ancient Eastern faith.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly
This illustrated guide to Buddhism skillfully embodies brains, brawn and beauty. With its 200 full-cover photos, maps and reproductions of art and architecture, it is a gorgeous coffee-table book that also succeeds in being both scholarly and lively. Short topical essays, enlightening sidebars and complementary photo cutlines grace almost every two-page spread. In four major sections ("Origins," "Principles and Practice," "Holy Writings" and "Buddhism Today"), general editor and University of Vermont religion professor Trainor and his five contributors craft a rich mosaic of Buddhism, from its specific cultural roots to its global resonances today. Many facets of Buddhism's diamond are held to light, including Buddha's "wondrous birth," ethics, visualization, saints and teachers, women, meditation centers, socially engaged Buddhism and timely groups such as Falun Gong. Picture researcher Cee Weston-Baker deserves special mention for the carefully selected, handsome photographs and art reproductions that offer much more than retail allure. These places, spaces and rituals inform the work beyond normal measure, revealing, for example, the robust tenderness of a young Burmese boy about to become ordained as he sheds the symbolic Buddha's princely robes for the simple ones of a monk. China, Sri Lanka, Tibet, India, Hawaii and the United States are but some of the featured locales in this rich evidence of "right effort." This book will prove useful to the curious, the scholar and the devotee.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Public, academic, and school librarians will find it difficult to categorize this profusely illustrated encyclopedic introduction to the Buddhist world, both past and present. But whatever definition they choose, most should find a home for it in their collections. Trainor (Univ. of Vermont; Relics, Ritual, and Representation in Buddhism) and five academic colleagues draw upon current scholarship to describe the origins, principles, practices, holy writings, and current trends among the major schools and regional variations of this ancient belief. The contributors treat most topics in a few pages, providing a highly accessible text (the discussion of prajna Buddhist wisdom or insight is the clearest yet encountered by this reviewer) sparked by stunning color photographs or illustrations of temples, statues, artifacts, texts, ceremonies, and maps. Though far from comprehensive, this work is recommended as an excellent, one-volume supplement to Charles Prebish's Historical Dictionary of Buddhism (Scarecrow Pr., 1993) and Christmas Humphreys's A Popular Dictionary of Buddhism (McGraw Hill-NTC, 1997). James R. Kuhlman, Univ. of North Carolina Lib., Asheville

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

"Great book on Buddhism!" 2007-09-18
By Mauibluecat (California)
I really enjoyed reading this book! The book is comprehensive, yet written clearly and understandably. The book gives you the history of the religion and originating countries. Well-written and enjoyable!

"Suitable for both the scholar and the laity" 2007-07-06
By Douglas Robinson
Written by some of the most respected scholars in the field, Buddhism the Illustrated Guide is both highly accessible and sophisticated. The authors have managed to present the vast and complex array of beliefs, practices, and relationships constitutive of this world religion with the brevity of exceptional scholarship. Yet, astoundingly, throughout the entire compendium, one is never deprived of the rich texture and depth of lived Buddhism, which is quite rare in objective scholarship. This debasing of religion to trite, and often insipid, historical outlines is, unfortunately, often characteristic of most erudite attempts to impartially summarize religions. On another note, this work also represents a paradigmatic shift in contemporary Buddhist studies away from the western presupposition of Buddhism as primarily a rational quest and a new attempt to "rematerialize" Buddhism by emphasizing the role of ritual, image, and relic. This introduction is simply unmatched in its treatment of Buddhism, and it has enough flavor to get anyone excited about learning. From its exquisite high quality images which adorn almost every page and regular sidebar commentaries, to its easily accessible chapter sections, Buddhism practically comes to life as you flip the pages.

"insanely awesome" 2006-08-14
By Bruce D. Wilner (Virginia, USA)
I don't know what it is about these Duncan Baird hardcover titles. Whether it's the visual appeal of the litany of two-to-four-page spreads, the flood of color and texture, or the deliberate crispness of the sidebars, all contribute to the tessitura of a truly unique library of works. The current opus is a strong introduction to the underpinnings, trappings, and implications of Buddhism, beginning with its history and motivational background and carefully working through all the historical and, ultimately, modern instantiations of this unique way of life and thought. Not that they pertain to Buddhism at all, scholars, do yourselves a favor and check out the Duncan Baird hardcover editions "China: Empire and Civilization" by Shaughnessy and "Jesus Christ: The Jesus of History, the Christ of Faith" and "The Lost Bible" by Porter. They are a treasure to have, to hold, to thumb threw, to admire, to lose oneself in, let alone to devour and learn from.

"Good modern intro to Buddhism for Western readers" 2005-09-24
By Michael K. Smith (Gonzales, Louisiana)
My first exposure to Buddhist ideas was in the 1960s, in California, in what I later realized was a rather self-conscious, thoroughly Westernized form that viewed Buddhism as a philosophy rather than a "religion," compared to Christianity. American and European scholarship regarding Buddhist thought and its application in eastern social systems has changed considerably in the past few decades, however, and this recent volume is a very good introductory overview. Each section is written and edited by a different scholarly authority, beginning with Buddhism's historical and political origins, progressing to its principals and practices and a discussion of its evolved holy writings, and concluding with a section on "Buddhism Today" that points up its diversity from Indian to China to Japan to southeast Asia. The narrative is smooth and frequent sidebars offer more detailed explanations of doctrinal or historical points as needed. The illustrations are numerous and mostly in color. My only gripe, really, is an editorial one: On nearly every page, it seems, there is at least one in-text cross-reference ("see pp. 20-21") which encourage the reader to jump around, which leads one to lose track of what are often very alien ideas.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 October 2009 09:22