With a history spanning more than two and a half millennia and over 300 million adherents worldwide, Buddhism is one of humankind's most interesting and populous religions. This book provides a comprehensive framework for understanding Buddhism as a historically compelling religion. Because the study of Buddhism is a difficult task, including so many varied cultures, this volume seeks to assist the reader by providing a carefully designed pronunciation guide to Buddhist canical languages, an overview of the Buddhist scriptures preserved in Pali, Chinese, and Tibetan, a chrology of Buddhist history, a map of the Buddhist world, and an extensive introduction to the history, doctrine, and community life of the religion.
Charles S. Prebish, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Pennsylvania State, has published seven books and several dozen articles in such journals as History of Religions, Journal of the American Oriental Society, and Journal of Asian Studies. A past officer of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, he held the Numata Chair in Buddhist Studies in 1993 at the University of Calgary.