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Buddhist Religions: A Historical Introduction 5th Edition

Richard H. Robinson, Willard L. Johnson, Thanissaro Bhikkhu

  • Published
  • Previous Editions 1997, 1982, 1977
  • 384 Pages


This historical introduction to Buddhism presents students with an engaging exploration of the diversity of thoughts and practices of a wide segment of followers of the Buddha. It covers five main aspects of Buddhism: ritual, devotionalism, doctrine, meditation, practice, and institutional history.

Richard H. Robinson, late of the University of Wisconsin

Willard L. Johnson, San Diego State University

Willard L. Johnson received his Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Wisconsin in 1973. He is now a professor emeritus of San Diego State University, where he teaches world religions, primal religions, shamanism, Asian religions, and religious experience.

Thanissaro Bhikkhu,

Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Geoffrey DeGraff) grew up in rural New York and Virginia, and was later ordained as a monk in Thailand in 1976. He trained for ten years under Ajaan Fuang Jotiko, a member of the Forest Tradition, until the latter's death in 1986. After returning to the States to help set up Metta Forest Monastery in 1991, he was made abbot of the monastery in 1993 and was formally made a preceptor in 1995. In addition to teaching at the monastery, he teaches regularly with the John Wayne Dhamma Center in Orange County, and the Barre Center of Buddhist Studies in Massachusetts. He is the author of The Mind Like Fire Unbound, The Buddhist Monastic Code, and The Wings to Awakening. He is also translator of a number of Thai meditation guides, including the complete writings of Ajahn Fuang's teacher, Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo.
  • An updated treatment of Mahayana Buddhism in India reflects the latest scholarship in this area of study.
  • A new section on Avadana literature in India introduces students to this crucial set of Buddhist texts.
  • Reorganization of early chapters makes the text more readable for students.
  • The text now draws from a greater variety of sources to give a more balanced picture of Buddhism today.
  • The book is extensively cross-referenced to THE EXPERIENCE OF BUDDHISM: SOURCES AND INTERPRETATIONS, by John Strong (also published by Wadsworth). The books can be used independently or as a set.
  • A map of regions where Buddhism is largely practiced assists students in gaining an important geographical perspective.
Map: The World of Buddhism.
Buddhism in India.
1. The Buddha's Awakening.
2. The Buddha as Teacher and Power Figure.
3. The Development of Early Indian Buddhism.
4. The Period of the Three Vehicles.
5. Early Medieval Indian Buddhism.
6. Late Medieval Indian Buddhism.
7. Buddhism in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia.
8. Buddhism in Central Asia and China.
9. Buddhism in Korea and Vietnam.
10. Buddhism in Japan.
11. Buddhism in the Tibetan Cultural Area.
12. Buddhism Comes West.
An Overview of the Buddhist Scriptures.
Pronunciation Guide.
Select Bibliography.

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