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Invitation to Asian Religions

Jeffrey Brodd, Layne Little, Brad Nystrom, Robert Platzner, Richard Shek, and Erin Stiles

Publication Date - 02 September 2015

ISBN: 9780190211264

304 pages
7-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

An Invitation into the teachings, histories, and ways of life of Asian religions, encouraging respect and a sense of wonder


Featuring a unique, consistent, and modular chapter structure--"Teachings," "History," and "Way of Life"--and numerous pedagogical features, Invitation to Asian Religions invites students to explore Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Chinese religions (Confucianism and Daoism), and Shinto with respect and a sense of wonder. This chapter structure enables students to navigate each religion in a consistent and systematic way and helps students to make comparisons between religions. The book describes the essential features of each religion and shows how the religions have responded to basic human needs and to the cultural contexts in which they developed. The authors also encourage students to develop an appreciation for what religious beliefs and practices actually mean to their adherents.


A consistent, modular chapter structure--"Teachings, "History," and "Ways of Life"--enables students to navigate each religion in a consistent and systematic way and helps them to make comparisons between religions

A lucid and accessible writing style imparts a sense of invitation, welcoming students into the beliefs and practices of religious adherents around the world

A large team of authors with diverse specialties ensures that each religion is covered with true expertise

"Voices" present personal, candid interviews with a diverse array of people sharing the ways in which they live their faiths

"Seeking Answers" sections at the end of each chapter encourage students to compare the ways in which different religions address the same essential questions

"Visual Guides" offer keys to important religious symbols in easy-to-read tables for quick reference and comparison

Chapter-opening maps and timelines throughout the text provide geographical, social, and political context for each religion's development

"For Review" and "For Further Reflection" questions prompt students to reexamine essential concepts and invite students to think critically and to engage in deeper analyses

Key terms are boldfaced at their first appearance and defined in the glossaries that follow each chapter and also in the glossary at the back of the book

Suggestions for further reading direct students to some of the best and most recent print and online resources on each tradition

Also available to suit your course needs:

Invitation to World Religions, Second Edition: 978-0-19-937836-4

Invitation to Western Religions: 978-0-19-021127-1

About the Author(s)

Jeffrey Brodd is Professor of Humanities and Religious Studies at California State University, Sacramento.

Layne Little is Lecturer of Religious Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Bradley Nystrom is Professor of Humanities and Religious Studies at California State University, Sacramento.

Robert Platzner is Professor of Humanities and Religious Studies at California State University, Sacramento.

Richard Shek is Professor of Humanities and Religious Studies at California State University, Sacramento.

Erin Stiles is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Table of Contents

    Approaching the Study of World Religions
    Religion as a Subject of Academic Inquiry
    What Religions Do
    Religious Questions and Challenges
    Basic Components of Religions
    Historical Development
    Way of Life
    Religions in the Modern World
    Modernization and Related Phenomena
    The Changing Roles of Women in Religions
    The Encounter of Religion and Science
    An Academic Approach to the Study of Religions
    Balance and Empathy
    Comparative and Multidisciplinary Approaches
    The Teachings of Hinduism
    Hindu Beliefs about Divine Reality
    The Individual and the Quest for Liberation
    Three Paths to Liberation
    Vendanta: The Predominant School of Hindu Philosophy
    The Individual and Society
    * VOICES: An Interview with Jayashree Venkatesan
    Hindu Sacred Texts
    The Sects of Hinduism
    The History of Hinduism
    The Indus Valley Civilization
    Who Are the Aryans?
    The Vedic Period
    The Age of the Guptas
    The Development of Bhakti
    * Early Hindu Encounters with Islam and Rule Under the
    Mughal Dynasty
    * Colonial Critique and the Hindu Reformers
    * Gandhi and the Struggle for Indian Independence
    Hindu Nationalism and Hindutva
    The Future of Hinduism
    Hinduism as a Way of Life
    Seeing the Divine Image: Temples and Icons
    Forms of Worship
    Rites of Passage
    Women in Hinduism
    Festivals and Holidays
    Performance Traditions
    The Teachings of Buddhism
    The Life of the Buddha
    The Essentials of the Buddha's Teaching
    VOICES: An Interview with Katherine Sei
    The History of Buddhism
    The Period of the Buddhist Councils
    Theravada Buddhism
    Mahayana Buddhism
    Vajrayana Buddhism
    Buddhism in India
    Buddhism Beyond India
    The Western Transmission
    Buddhists in the World Today
    Buddhism as a Way of Life
    Who Is a Buddhist?
    The Buddha's Teachings on Ethics and "Skillful Means"
    Meditation and the Cultivation of Mind
    Mantra, Liturgical Ritual, and Chanting
    Conversion and Ordination
    Women in Buddhism
    Sacred Places and Objects of Veneration
    Holidays and Festivals
    Funerary Rites
    The Teachings of Jainism
    Mahavira, the Twenty-fourth and Last Tirthankara of
    This World Cycle
    An Eternal Succession of Tirthankaras
    Jainism and Hinduism
    Ahimsa and Asceticism: Jainism's Ideals
    Theory of the Universe
    Liberation and Salvation
    The History of Jainism
    The Indian Historical Context
    The Legacy of the Tirthankaras: Jainism through the
    Jainism in Today's World
    Jainism as a Way of Life
    Digambaras and Shvetambaras
    VOICES: An Interview With Girish Shah
    The Ascetic Life
    Jainism and Women
    The Religious Life of the Jain Laity
    The Teachings of Sikhism
    The Life of Guru Nanak
    Sikh Scripture
    On God, the Human Condition, and Spiritual Liberation
    Teachings of Guru Gobind Singh and the Khalsa
    The History of Sikhism
    Guru Nanak's Successors
    Guru Gobind Singh and the Khalsa
    Sikhs and Nationalism
    Sikhs in the Diaspora
    Sikhism as a Way of Life
    VOICES: An Interview with Onkar Singh
    Daily Devotional Practices
    Sikh Worship in the Gurdwara
    Life Cycle Rituals
    Worship, Work, and Charity
    Women and Sikhism
    Sikh Identity
    The Teachings of Confucianism and Daoism
    Ancient Chinese Religious Views
    The Teachings of Confucius
    Confucianism and Women
    The Teachings of Daoism
    Daoism and Women
    The History of Confucianism and Daoism
    The History of Confucianism
    The History of Daoism
    Confucianism and Daoism as Ways of Life
    Confucian Rituals
    VOICES: An Interview with Jason Ch'ui-hsiao Tseng
    Daoist Practices
    The Teachings of Shinto
    The Meaning of Kami
    Creation Myth in the Kojiki
    VOICES: An Interview with Watanabe Minoru
    The History of Shinto
    Medieval Shinto
    The Modern Period
    Shinto in Japan Today
    Shinto as a Way of Life
    Fertility Rites
    Women in Shinto
    Rites of Purification, Presentation, Petition, and

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