Anyone have recommendations for books on Buddhism? Given the extent to which religion figures in the lives of many S.E. Asian people, I'd like at least to learn the difference between, for example, Theravada & Mahayana Buddhism before traveling there.
#1 gannongm has been a member since 5/11/2012. Posts: 2
Many of the recommendations you'd find for books on Buddhism are more practice oriented and less historical.
I think for an overview history the following is a good text to start with:
If you'd like something to read while traveling that is oriented to this I highly recomend Dwight Goddard's a Buddhist Bible, which has a nice introduction and gives you a chance to read the original works (you can find PDF copies easily online - not sure about eReader editions):
My favorite book about Buddhism is the novel Siddhartha. It won't give an academic explanation of Buddhism, but I think it gives a great sense of the feel behind the religion, particularly from the point of view of a westerner looking in.