book hack

Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction

Damien Keown

5 mins

3 key insights

Visual, audio & text

In this installment of the Very Short Introductions series, British academic Damien Keown explains the basic teachings of the Buddha, the history of Buddhism, and some modern implications of its practices.


Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction

Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction

by Damien Keown


Buddhism is one of the world's major religions; 6.9% of people adhere to the teachings of Gautama Buddha. Many people, however, don't consider Buddhism a religion at all. Whatever we call it – a religion, a practice, a philosophy – it is one of the most long-standing and diverse traditions in human history.

Damien Keown is a British academic and bioethicist specializing in Buddhism, Buddhist bioethics, and their implications for modern medicine. Keown is a Professor Emeritus of Buddhist Ethics in the history department of Goldsmiths, University of London. Keown's research focuses on exploring contemporary moral problems from a Buddhist perspective.

This book is part of the Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press, written by experts to introduce beginners to a multitude of subjects. In this installment, Keown covers the main dimensions of Buddhism, its history, and its relevance for contemporary social, ethical, and political issues.

Favorite quote

Sow an act, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.

- Buddhist proverb

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