Buddhism is practiced by millions of adherents around the world. Originating in ancient India, it spread throughout Asia and then to the West, and it exists in multiple traditions. Despite its popularity, it is also the subject of many misconceptions. This book examines those misconceptions along with the historical truths behind the myths.
The book begins with an introduction that places Buddhism in its historical and cultural contexts. This is followed by chapters on particular erroneous beliefs related to the religion. Chapters explore whether Buddhism is a singular tradition, if it is a religion or a philosophical system, if it is rational and scientific, whether the Buddha was an ordinary human, and other topics. Each chapter summarizes the misconception and how it spread, along with what we now believe to be the underlying truth behind the falsehood.
Quotations and excerpts from primary source documents provide evidence for the mistaken beliefs and the historical truths. The book closes with a selected, general bibliography.
- An introduction places Buddhism in its historical and cultural contexts.
- Chapters discuss both misconceptions related to Buddhism and historical truths behind the mistaken beliefs.
- Excerpts from primary source documents provide evidence for what scholars now believe to be the historical facts.
- A selected, general bibliography directs users to additional sources of information.