This book is a comprehensive introduction to the Buddhist tradition as it has developed in three major cultural areas in Asia, and to Buddhism as it is now developing in the West. It is intended to be a textbook for students of religious and Asian studies respectively, but will also be of interest to those who want a general survey of Buddhism and its beliefs. Unlike many other general books about Buddhism, it not only explores Buddhist beliefs, but also seeks to show how Buddhism functions as a set of practices. It thus includes chapters on devotion, ethics, monastic practices and meditation. Such practices are related to Buddhist teachings and historical developments. Emphasising as it does the diversity found within different Buddhist traditions, the book aims throughout to underline common threads of belief, practice and historical continuities which unify the Buddhist world. Dr Harvey has sought to answer questions that are often asked by people on first meeting the tradition, and in his section on Nirvana offers a novel interpretation of this ultimate, transcendent mystery.