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By Stephen T. Asma, PhD

SBN-13: 978-1-939994-33-2
Price: US $15.95
6x9 | Pages: 160
eBook ISBN: 978-1-939994-34-9
eBook Price: US $15.95
May 19, 2015

B/W Illustrations

Despite the widespread popularity of Buddhist practices (like meditation), there is little understanding of the complex philosophy behind Buddhism. The historical Buddha, Gautama, was a real person—a radical—who challenged the religious leaders of his day. Buddha For Beginners introduces the reader to the historical Buddha, to the ideas that made him change his life, and to the fascinating philosophical debates that engaged him and formed the core of Buddhism.

Buddha For Beginners compares Buddha’s philosophy with those of his contemporaries, the later Buddhist schools, and Western Philosophy. The book includes a survey, distinguishing the philosophical differences of later schools like Theravada, Madhyamaika, Tantric, Zen, and others. 

Buddha For Beginners is not a book you read, it is a book you experience. It makes you stop and close your eyes. Through some magical combination of words, drawings, and intuitive wisdom, Buddha For Beginners conveys not only the facts of Buddhism, but the peace, the silence…the feel of it. It is historically accurate, spiritually challenging, and the white spaces mean as much as the words.


Stephen T. Asma, PhD, is Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Humanities, History, and Social Sciences at Columbia College Chicago, where he currently holds the titles of Distinguished Scholar and Fellow of the LAS Research Group in Mind, Science and Culture. In 2003, Dr. Asma was Visiting Professor at the Buddhist Institute in Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia. 

Dr. Asma is the author of several books: Against Fairness: In Favor of Favoritism (University of Chicago Press, forthcoming); 
Why I Am A Buddhist (Hampton Roads, 2010); On Monsters: an Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears (Oxford University Press, 2009); Stuffed Animals and Pickled Heads: The Culture and Evolution of Natural History Museums (Oxford University Press, 2001); Following Form and Function (Northwestern University Press, 1996); and more. His book The Gods Drink Whiskey: Stumbling Toward Enlightenment in the Land of the Tattered Buddha (HarperOne, 2005) explores the Theravada Buddhism of the region. He frequently writes on topics that bridge the humanities and sciences, including articles for the Chicago Tribune, In These Times magazine, the Skeptical Inquirer, the Chronicle ReviewSkepticmagazine, and Chicago Public Radio's news-magazine show Eight-Forty-Eight

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