While Buddhism has no central text such as the Bible or the Koran, there is a powerful body of scripture from across Asia that encompasses the dharma, or the teachings of Buddha. This rich anthology brings together works from a broad historical and geographical range, and from languages such as Pali, Sanskrit, Tibetan, Chinese and Japanese. There are tales of the Buddha's past lives, a discussion of the qualities and qualifications of a monk, and an exploration of the many meanings of Enlightenment. Together they provide a vivid picture of the Buddha and of the vast nature of the Buddhist tradition.
Donald Lopez is Professsor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Michigan. He is the author of Buddhism (Penguin, 2000, r/i 2002) and Modern Buddhism (Penguin, 2002).