What does Tibetan Buddhism teach? Just what is the position of the Dalai Lama, and how will his succession be assured? This Very Short Introduction offers a brief account responding to these questions and more, in terms that are easily accessible to those who are curious to learn the most essential features of Tibetan Buddhist history, teachings, and practice.
The latter half of the twentieth century witnessed a growing interest in Buddhism, and it continues to capture the imagination of many in the West who see it as either an alternative or a supplement to their own religious beliefs. For complex cultural and historical reasons, ethics has not received as much attention in traditional Buddhist thought as it has in the West, and publications on the subject are few and far between. Here, Damien Keown, author of Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction, illustrates how Buddhism might approach a range of fascinating moral issues ranging from abortion and suicide to cloning.
India has a long, rich, and diverse tradition of philosophical thought, spanning some two and a half millennia and encompassing several major religious traditions. This Very Short Introduction emphasizes the diversity of Indian thought, and is structured around six schools which have achieved classic status. Sue Hamilton explores how the traditions have attempted to understand the nature of reality in terms of an inner or spiritual quest, and introduces distinctively Indian concepts such as karma and rebirth. She also shows how Indian thinkers have understood issues of reality and knowledge — issues which are also an important part of the Western philosophical tradition. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
With a decline in traditional religious belief, interest in spirituality has grown in Western cultures. The notion of spirituality expresses the fact that people are driven by goals that concern more than material satisfaction. Here, the author explores the historical foundations of spirituality and thinks about how it transforms lives.
Hinduism is practised by nearly eighty per cent of India's population, and by some seventy million people outside India. In this Very Short Introduction, Kim Knott offers a succinct and authoritative overview of this major religion, and analyses the challenges facing it in the twenty-first century. She discusses key preoccupations of Hinduism such as the centrality of the Veda as religious texts, the role of Brahmins, gurus, and storytellers in the transmission of divine truths, and the cultural and moral importance of epics such as the Ramayana. In this second edition Knott considers the impact of changes in technology and the flourishing of social media on Hinduism, and looks at the presence of Hinduism in popular culture, considering pieces such as Sita Sings the Blues. She also analyses recent developments in India, and the impact issues such as Hindu nationalism and the politicization of Hinduism have on Hindus worldwide. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Throughout history, humanity has borne witness to the political and moral challenges that arise when people place national identity above allegiance to geo-political states or international communities. This book discusses the concept of nations and nationalism from social, philosophical, geological, theological and anthropological perspectives. It examines the subject through conflicts past and present, including recent conflicts in the Balkans and the Middle East, rather than exclusively focusing on theory. Above all, this fascinating and comprehensive work clearly shows how feelings of nationalism are an inescapable part of being human.
Fundamentalism is seen as the major threat to world peace, a conclusion impossible to ignore since the events in New York on September 11 2001. This book investigates fundamentalism's historical, social, religious, political, and ideological roots, and tackles the polemic and stereotypes surrounding this complex phenomenon.
In this lively and concise Very Short Introduction, David Albert Jones provides a crisp, broad-ranging survey of angels in theology, philosophy, and popular culture. Focusing on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, he examines how angels have been imagined and explained as well as why they continue to captivate us. Jones explores the classical discussion--what they are made of, when they came to be, and how many there are. He names the archangels, surveys the different hierarchies, and examines how they have changed over time. He looks at why the idea of angels remains so potent in modern culture, even among non-believers.