In Buddhism in Five Minutes, academic specialists offer answers to over 80 questions about Buddhism that people curious about Buddhism might ask. The questions cover the Buddha, what the Buddha taught, Buddhist monasticism and the role of lay people, the historical development of Buddhism, Buddhist art, Buddhist ethics, Buddhist responses to other religions, and Buddhist thought on contemporary issues. They include: Who is the fat Buddha figure? Can we know what the historical Buddha taught? What is Nirvana? Why do Buddhists meditate? Does Buddhism support gender equality? What is Zen Buddhism? Are Buddhists pacifist? What do Buddhists think about those who are LGBTQI? Are alcohol and drugs ever acceptable to Buddhists? How do Buddhists view Artificial Intelligence? Are there Buddhists in Latin America? Taken together the questions cover most aspects of Buddhist belief and practice in the contemporary world. The collection is sponsored by the UK Association for Buddhist Studies but contributors are drawn from Asia, North America and Latin America, as well as Europe. The questions are answered in accessible, non-specialist language without too many footnotes. Each should take not much more than five minutes to read.
Buddhism in Five Minutes, Elizabeth Harris, Equinox Publishing, Paperback, 2021, 390 Pages, $27.95
Elizabeth Harris is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow within the Cadbury Centre for the Public Understanding of Religion, University of Birmingham, UK. Before this, she was an Associate Professor at Liverpool Hope University. She specializes in Buddhist Studies and inter-faith studies, and has published widely in both disciplines. Her publications include: What Buddhists Believe (Oneworld, 1998): Theravada Buddhism and the British Encounter: Religious, missionary and colonial experience in nineteenth century Sri Lanka (Routledge, 2006): Buddhism for a Violent World: A Christian Reflection (Epworth, 2010/now published by SCM).