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A Short Introduction

This short introduction to Indian Buddhism provides a general overview as well as some in-depth treatment of issues central to Indian Buddhism. It is text based, introducing the reader to some of the most important textual sources of Buddhism. It is divided into three parts which are subdivided into a varying number of chapters. Part I deals with the basics of Buddhism, the proverbial 'Three Jewels': the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. In that context, the Indian background to the Buddha's teaching will also be mentioned, as well as the development of Buddhism. Part II offers a systematic study of Buddhist teachings: a comprehensive account of the path to liberation according to the Pali Canon; a detailed study of meditation, the most typical Buddhist practice; and a summary of the bodhisattva path. Part III introduces more technical philosophical expressions of Buddhism and the teachings of distinctive schools that emerged in the course of time. Chapter 8 deals with the theoretical framework of Theravada Buddhism in the Abhidamma and with the controversies between Buddhists and (primarily) Hindus; chapter 9 discusses Madhyamaka and Yogacara, two important philosophical systems, and Vajrayana, a late development of Indian Buddhism, its Tantric expression.

Klaus K. Klostermaier, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, is University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Manitoba in Canada.

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