Origins, Traditions and Contemporary Life

Edited by Jana Igunma and San San May

Published by British Library Publishing

Published to accompany the British Library exhibition of the same name, Buddhism explores the history, philosophy and practises of this major world religion and features stunning full-colour images from rare manuscripts.

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Accompanying the largest ever display of the British Library’s Buddhist treasures, Buddhism follows the key concepts of the exhibition in four main chapters: the life of the historical Buddha, Buddhist philosophy, the spread of Buddhism and Buddhist practice. These chapters are interspersed with short entries explaining the significance of specific items. Astonishing colour and beauty emanate from the scrolls, manuscripts and printed books that are reproduced throughout, while the idea of the ‘Middle Path’ – promoting mindfulness, compassion, tolerance and non-violence – is presented with a renewed relevance for a 21st-century audience.

Today, Buddhism is one of the major world religions, with approximately 500 million followers worldwide. Beginning with Buddha’s Enlightenment in north India in the 5th century, Buddhism was adopted across Asia through the three large schools of Mahayana, Theravada and Vajrayana. Buddhism is well known and widely practised in the West today, and many people embrace a Buddhist lifestyle or certain practices, such as meditation.

Production Details

Published by The British Library
224 pages
Over 100 illustrations
280mm x 220mm