Venerable Master Hsing Yun of the Fo Guang Shan (Buddha's Light Mountain) Buddhist Order, Taiwan has been a Buddhist scholar and writer for more than 55 years. In this concise book on Buddhist basics, he lays out the core teachings of the Buddha extracted from a collection of essays he has written over the years. He also emphasizes Buddhism from a Mahayana perspective as well as an emphasis on "Humanistic Buddhism"- how to put these teachings into real-life practice in today's world.
Lotus in a Stream begins with an overview of how the author came to Buddhism and how he developed his focus both in China and Taiwan. In the next part he illustrates how to study Buddhism in order to develop wisdom through one's own experiences. The Four Noble Truths and the Eight-Fold Path are then explained in a very clear way. He then moves on to explaining the Buddhist concepts of Dependent Origination, The Three Dharma Seals, Emptiness, Mind, Nirvana and The Bodhisattva Life and Humanistic Buddhism. Master Hsing Yun ends this introduction to Buddhism with an overview of the Six Paramitas, in order to summarize how Buddhism can be beneficially used in our lives for both our growth, and the betterment of the world in which we live. All in all, this is the most useful compilation of Buddhism both for the beginner and advanced students I have thus far encountered.