Meditation, karma, Zen, Tantra, Nirvana - these are some of the many Buddhist ideas that have entered our Western popular idiom, usually inappropriately and half-baked. What is the truth of Buddhism, its history and variety of practices? This vast and complex non-theistic religion is woven into the fabric of Asian civilizations, from India to the Himalayan regions, China, Vietnam, Korea, Japan and elsewhere.;This book describes the life and teachings of the Buddha, but it also shows that enlightenment is a matter of experiencing the truth individually and by inspiration which is passed from teacher to student. The book illuminates this process through a rich legacy of stories and explains the practices of meditation, Taoism and Zen. It goes on to describe the role of Buddhism in modern Asia and its growing influence on Western thought.