Buy Used
CDN$ 15.70
+ CDN$ 6.49 shipping
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by BookdonorsUK
Condition: Used: Very Good
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Buddhism: A Short History Paperback – Mar 1 2000

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback, Mar 1 2000
CDN$ 244.27 CDN$ 15.70

There is a newer edition of this item:

Buddhism: A Short History
CDN$ 21.50
In Stock.

Unlimited FREE Two-Day Shipping for Six Months When You Try Amazon Student

No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld; 3rd Revised edition edition (March 1 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 185168221X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851682218
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 1.3 x 22.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,569,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  •  Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price?

  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


'Clear, precise, informed and comprehensive.' - Middle Way 'A lucid and reliable introduction to Buddhism.' - Times Higher Education Supplement

About the Author

Edward Conze studied Indian and comparative philosophy at the universities of Bonn and Hamburg. He later lectured in psychology, philosophy and comparative religion at Oxford, held a number of academic appointments and served as Vice-President of the Buddhist Society. His many books include Buddhist Texts Through the Ages (Oneworld, 1995).

Customer Reviews

There are no customer reviews yet on
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa8299c24) out of 5 stars 7 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa83baba0) out of 5 stars More of a History than a Philosophical Examination March 5 2008
By Robert E. Morrell - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This "Short History" of Buddhism attributed to Edward Conze (1904-1979)was copyrighted after his death by Muriel Conze in 1980, 1982, and 1983, and first published 1993, according the publication information page. It is not to be confused with Conze's popular "Buddhism: Its Essence and Development" (New York: Philosophical Library, 1951) although it may be seen as a useful supplement to that work.

After a half-century Conze still has important ideas to clarify for us and is well worth a re-read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa8c43e64) out of 5 stars A barrage of names Nov. 28 2014
By Peter J. Adams - Published on
Format: Paperback
For a short book, it is too ambitious. It wants to touch on every school of Buddhist thought over more than 2000 years. The end result is a barrage of names of people, monasteries, and philosophies. Most of them are described in just a few sentences or a short paragraph. Parts are good, notably the introductions to the major branches such as Mahayana and Tantric. On the whole, however, the author has not done enough to pare his knowledge back judiciously to meet the needs of an introduction. He seems bent on cramming as much as he can into a few pages so that most topics get short shrift.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Steven H Propp - Published on
Format: Paperback
Edward Conze (1904-1979) was a notable translator of Eastern texts into English, as well as the author of books such as Buddhist Meditation, Buddhism, etc.

Here are some quotations from this posthumously published 1980 book (NOTE: page numbers refer to the 154-page 1993 Oneworld edition):

"The division of Buddhist history into periods of 500 years does not only agree with the facts, but it is mentioned in many Buddhist writings dating from the beginning of the Christian era. These five periods of 500 years are enumerated as marking the continued degradation of the doctrine." (Pg. 5)
"Some modern European books abound in confident assertions about what the Buddha Himself has personally taught. They are all mere guesswork. The 'original gospel' is beyond our ken now. The farthest we can get back in time is the period when the community split up into separate sects." (Pg. 9)
"Little attempt was made to weave all these stories into one consecutive biography (of Buddha). At present we are not in a position to decide which ones of them are trustworthy historical information and which ones are the pious inventions of a later age." (Pg. 20-21)
"Our Hinayana sources ... were practically incredulous of all these innovations (by the Mahayana sect) and they refused to take seriously the claim that the new Mahayana works gave the Buddha's actual words. In fact they rejected these works as just so many 'concoctions' and unworthy of serious consideration." (Pg. 54)
"Unlike the early Mahayanists, the Tantric authors no longer link their scriptures with Sakymuni, but frankly assign them to some mythical Buddha who is said to have preached them at some remote and distant past." (Pg. 77)
"What had of course happened was that in the course of 1,700 years of co-existence the Hindus had taken over a great deal from the Buddhists and the Buddhists likewise from the Hindus. In consequence the division between them had increasingly diminished and it was no great thing for a Buddhist to be absorbed into the largely Buddhified Hindu fold." (Pg. 109)
"In Japan our industrial age has put a premium on those sects, Zen, Shin and Nichiren, which have most radically departed from tradition." (Pg. 143)
HASH(0xb8f33300) out of 5 stars Excellent brief history of Buddhism across Asia Oct. 25 2010
By Ravi C. - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book would certainly be my first recommendation for an afternoon read and introduction to the history (but not the philosophy) of Buddhism.

Conze breaks down his narrative into four parts, the first three 500 year segments, and the last millennium. This is useful in tracking the history of Buddhism within India and as it spread across South, Southeast, and East Asia. He provides a helpful gloss on the early divisions in Buddhism (especially Mahayana and what became Theravada), as well as the schools that developed further in China and Japan. He doesn't bore you with too much detail, and I found it much more helpful than Skilton or Lopez's histories, although those are deeper in philosophy.

One point he makes repeatedly is that there are times when Buddhism "loses it's creative impulse" - I guess I would take issue with this. Certainly there are periods of decay and decline in all of the countries examined, but also renewal and reinvigoration. We are in the midst of a resurgence now, and the integration with neurosciences and psychology has just begun. I think it's an exciting time. I also disagree that innovation necessarily is a sign of vigor. There are many traditions which still compel though they haven't changed for centuries, because the human spirit still faces the same challenges. Buddhism certainly speaks to those challenges.
HASH(0xa81a6390) out of 5 stars I think is a good effort of trying to fit something that is bigger ... May 7 2015
By Sam - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is a book of a Christian trying to fit the Buddhism into his understanding, and into the western history accepted rules. So, he tries to take into account only 'facts' (this in western history methodology means that there should be at least a document that could be used as a prove of facts; as if documents were always true). On the other hand, Buddhism is not interested in history or leaving documents to prove anything, but, as it is a tradition of people achieving outstanding memory and directly transmitting from teacher to student, he does not takes into account important events. I think is a good effort of trying to fit something that is bigger than history rules and that has no explanation of many things within the Christian theories. Then, it seemed to me that it was like trying to put the clothes of a slim person in a very overweighted person. But it is a good effort to explain in terms of what westerners would like to see. It gives a good idea of the evolution of Buddhism, but it is just a dimension of something having many dimensions (practical, esoteric, philosophical, etc).