This book presents Buddhism from the Buddhist point of view. It is an earnest attempt of eleven devout Buddhist scholars to describe the beliefs and practices of the Buddhist world twenty-five centuries after the Buddha.
The need for such a book grew out of conversations among Fellows of the National Council of USA on Religion in Higher Education. It was agreed that a fuller understanding of the leading non-Christian religions requires books written by men speaking from the point of view of their own faiths, and edited by a Westerner to make the meaning clear to readers brought up in the Greek-Hebrew-Christian tradition.
Bhikkhu J. Kashyap of India has contributed the first chapter on the origin and expansion of Buddhism. U. Thittila of Rangoon wrote the second chapter on the fundamental principles of Theravada Buddhism. Balangoda Ananda Maitreya of Ceylon who wrote the third chapter was recommended as a man who can speak for all Theravada countries. Prof. Yamagu, the author of the fourth chapter on the development of Mahayana Buddhist beliefs is one of the great masters of Mahayana thought. The fifth chapter on Buddhism in China and Korea has been contributed by Prof. Tsukamoto, President of the Institute of Humanistic Studies at the University of Kyoto. In the next chapter Tibetan Buddhism is described by Lobsang Phuntsok Lhalungpa, who now lives in India, with the help of two scholarly Lamas. The seventh chapter on Buddhism in Japan includes four sections, of which the first is a general introduction by Prof. Hanayama, the second on the Shui sect by Prof. Ishida, the third on Zen Buddhism by Prof. Masunaga and the fourth on Nichiren Buddhism by Prof. Kubota. The last chapter on unity and diversity in Buddhism is by Prof. Nakamura who undertook the difficult task of pointing out the common elements and the points of divergence in Buddhism, both Theravada and Mahayana.
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