This is a scholarly book on the first hundred years of the institutional aspect of the Buddhist religion. In the book the author has concentrated on the development of Buddhism as it applied to the monastic community as well as the lay people, dispelling the notion that Buddhism was only a philosophical system concerned with an independent quest by a few toward nirvana. Although there are a number of books in the market dealing with the doctrinal aspects of the religion, there are few that deal with the basic factors making it a popular religion, namely the authority of the founder, the nature of the communities and discipline within both monastic community and the lay. These aspects are further highlighted in the conclusion where they are compared with parallel developments, during the same early period, of Christianity.This fresh approach is particularly enlightening to the general reader and the students in religious studies, Asian studies and history. the book contains Bibliography and Index.
DR. CHAI-SHIN YU is Assistant Professor in East Asian Department, University of Toronto, and Executive Director of the Society for Korean and Related Studies, Inc. Toronto, Canada.