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The Buddha

A Beginner's Guide

Revealing the man behind the icon.

From his many births to his deathbed deeds, this authoritative biography unites the Buddha of history with the Buddha of legend in a bid to reveal the lasting spiritual relevance at the heart of the Buddhist tradition.

Acclaimed scholar John Strong examines not only the historical texts, but also the supernatural accounts that surround this great religious figure, uncovering the roots of many Buddhist beliefs and practices. Accompanied by helpful charts and tables, and drawing on a vast array of primary sources, the text also features such key topics as: biographical accounts from all the Buddhist schools, an analysis of the Buddha’s enlightenment, the life of the Buddha as depicted by Buddhist art and rituals, and the relics of Siddhartha Gautama, and how they continue his story, even after his lifetime.

John Strong is Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Bates College in Maine, USA. He has lectured in countries across the world, including Japan and Sri Lanka, and is the respected author of four books and numerous articles on Buddhism.

"Furnishes readers curious about the Buddha with a deep and broad introduction to his many lives."

– Booklist

"A most useful and enjoyable read. This volume will be welcomed by scholars and students alike."

– Rubert Gethin - University of Bristol

"Strong’s book is clearly the best available ‘Guide for Beginners’… But it will be of great interest for veteran Buddhist scholars; and for contemporary Buddhist practitioners as well."

– Frank Reynolds - Professor Emeritus of History of Religions and Buddhist Studies, University of Chic

More books in this series: Beginner's Guides