Buddhism An introduction to the Buddha's life, teachings, and practices

Joan Duncan Oliver

Book - 2019

A modern guide to the teachings of Buddhism.

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2nd Floor 294.3/Oliver Due Mar 11, 2024
New York : St. Martins Essentials 2019.
Main Author
Joan Duncan Oliver (author)
First Edition
Physical Description
xvii, 204 pages : illustrations, maps ; 21 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages [155]-165) and index.
  • Map: The Ganges Valley
  • Map: The Spread of Buddhism Across Asia
  • Introduction
  • 1. The Buddha
  • 2. Buddhism After the Buddha
  • 3. The Teachings
  • 4. The Practices
  • Parting Thoughts
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Glossary
  • Resources
  • Index
  • About the Author
Review by Booklist Review

Nearly 500 million people in the world consider themselves Buddhists, Oliver asserts, 1.1 percent of whom are North Americans. Those seekers who wish to join their ranks will find Oliver's clear exposition of her subject a useful introduction. She begins her guidance with a biography of the Buddha, followed by a history of the evolution of Buddhism and its teachings after the Buddha's death, bringing her coverage up to the current day to include the presence of cyber-sanghas (communities of followers) using such new methods of delivery of the Dharma (teachings and practices taught by the Buddha) as podcasts and social media. She then moves to the heart of her book, an introduction to the teachings themselves and the practices. Though these are sometimes arcane, ( Wrapping one's arms around the Buddha's teachings is, in one sense, a challenge ), Oliver's coverage is clearly written and illuminating. Happily, a glossary of Buddhism's sometimes esoteric terms is appended for reference. Libraries will welcome this latest addition to St. Martin's Essential Wisdom Library.--Michael Cart Copyright 2019 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In this interactive picture book by the Dragons Love Tacos team, a high-five champion called Sensei, who resembles Bigfoot and wears a multicolored belt, offers to apprentice readers. It's all to prepare for the annual high-five contest, where, Rubin writes, "high five fans from far and near/ all press their palms against the rest,/ to see whose high five is the best." Spreads invite readers to try out their best high fives, and Salmieri employs forced perspective so that each contestant's slapping hand extends right up to the image's foreground. The narrative arc is relatively straightforward: there's the training, in which the reader apparently makes a very favorable impression; followed by the big competition, which slowly ups the ante; culminating in the reader matching slaps with Octopus Jones ("He has eight hands, you just have two.../ a little uneven, it's true") before the winner is revealed. Although Rubin's rhymes are only serviceable and the plot feels less sturdy than the team's other collaborations, the pictures offer plenty of room to receive readers' high-five innovations, and the pages crackle with Salmieri's neon palette and scratchy, kinetic pencil lines. Ages 3-5. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

In this concise volume, Oliver (contributing editor, Tricycle; Commit To Sit) explains the fundamentals of Buddhism: the Buddha, his teachings, how they've been interpreted, and advice on how one might begin to practice. It begins with a brief biography of the Buddha's teachings passed through the ages. Then the author clearly explains the origins, similarities, and differences among the numerous forms of Buddhism worldwide. Following this is an overview of Buddhist teachings, which are skillfully described without oversimplification. The final chapter explains a number of common meditation practices that readers may choose as a jumping-off point. Essential terms are defined throughout; a glossary, endnotes, and resource list are also available for further exploration. Oliver is obviously at home here, and her friendly, approachable tone will help readers feel the same. This work is a logical next step for readers of Dan Harris's 10% Happier or anyone seeking a well-rounded understanding of Buddhism. VERDICT Approachable for beginners and informative enough to be a quick reference guide, this highly recommended read is essential for communities with an interest in the topic.-Anitra Gates, Erie Cty. P.L., PA © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.