The life of Siddhartha Buddha (which means 'Awakened One') is that of one who awakened from the sleep of ignorance and saw conditions as they really were. Through his example every one of us can do the same-awaken from the sleep of non-awareness and understand the experience or 'sufferings' of birth, sickness, ageing and death that ultimately lead to enlightenment. The Essence of Buddhism provides a clear, straightforward approach to the rich traditions of the Buddhist faith and its ideological foundations. It explains the power of karma, the practice of Zen, and the notion of the life of the Buddha and his influence throughout the world. Through its elucidation of the definitive Buddhist texts, this splendid introduction puts into perspective one of the world's most significant religions and reveals that it is as relevant now as at any time in its 3,000-year history.