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The Foundations of Buddhism


Rupert Gethin

16 July 1998

ISBN: 9780192892232

352 pages

In Stock

Price: £14.49


Buddhism is a vast and complex religious and philosophical tradition which is now followed by around 115 million people. In this introduction, Rupert Gethin concentrates on the ideas and practices which constitute the common heritage of the different traditions of Buddhism existing in the world today. From the narrative of the story of the Buddha, through discussions of aspects such as textual traditions, the framework of the Four Noble Truths, the interaction between the monastic and lay ways of life, the cosmology of karma and rebirth, and the path of the bodhisattva, this books provides a stimulating introduction to Buddhism.

About the Author(s)

Rupert Gethin, Centre for Buddhist Studies, University of Bristol

Table of Contents

    1:The Buddha: The Story of the Awakened One
    2:The Word of the Buddha: Buddhist Scriptures and Schools
    3:Four Truths: The Disease, the Cause, the Cure, the Medicine
    4:The Buddhist Community: Monks, Nuns, and Lay Followers
    5:The Buddhist Cosmos: The Thrice Thousandfold World
    6:No self: Personal Continuity and Dependent Arising
    7:The Buddhis Path: The Way of Calm and Insight
    8:The Abhidharma: The Higher Teaching
    9:The Mahayana: The Great Vehicle
    10:Evolving Traditions of Buddhism


offers a valuable improvement over What the Buddha Taught, its most likely competitor as an introductory textbook./Richard S. Cohen University of California, San Diego/ Religious Studies Review Volume 25 Number 3 July 1999 -

At last! A general introduction to what is common to Buddhism across the broad range of practice, culture and history that I can recommend unhesitatingly to friends Buddhist and non-Buddhist alike. ... this book is good in the beginning, middle and end. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Mike Murray/The Middle Way/Journal of the Buddhist Society/ Feb 2000 Vol 74 No 4 -

'...Combining as it does readability and exact scholarship, elegance and erudition, this new OPUS series volume provides the novice with a solid foundation for his studies, and his elders food for reflection.' - THES Friday 2 April 1999

This recent title stands out by its careful scholarship, lucid style, and sensitive appreciation of the subtleties of Buddhist doctrine.. This introductory work brings to its task not only careful scholarship and wide knowledge of Buddhist thought, but also a warm, sympathetic appreciation of Buddhism evident throughout its pages. No doubt, it is this sympathy that enables Gethin to penetrate beneath the surface crust of formal doctrine and discern deep connections between srains of Buddhist thought that might initially appear incongruous. Through Gethin's eyes we are given not only a clear and crisp picture of the doctrinal foundations of Buddhism, but also focused insights into the family ties underlying many apparent diversities within the Buddhist tradition. - Bhikkhu Bodhi, Buddhist Publication Society no 45