Radiant Mind provides essays and descriptive texts of the major components of the Buddhist Dharma, including: Historical Context, The Four Noble Truths; Eightfold Path; Karma; Impermenance; and the Sutras (Diamond, Lotus and Heart). The essays are very understandable, and often times, the book offers several different perspectives on a given topic.
A diverse group of authors contribute to the text. They come from a variety of schools(Mahayana, Theravdan, and Zen), and cultures (Tibet, America, India, Japan, Vietnam).
Great book, I highly recommend it.
This is a great book for first time exposure to Buddhism as it pulls together writings from some of the greatest teachers of antiquity, including Gautama Buddha himself, and some of today's most recognized teachers including D.T. Suzuki, Jack Kornfield and H.H. the Dalai Lama. The book is organized by subtopic, beginning with a brief history of Buddhism, including a brief biography of Gautama, and then discussing the major topics within Buddhism including meditation, enlightenment, ethics, the nature of the mind, etc. The selected writings draw fairly equally from the three major branches of Buddhism represented in the US today (Theravada, Zen and Tibetan) giving the reader a broad, balanced picture. Although the book was probably not intended to go into tremendous depth in any of its topics, there is plenty of material to engage the beginning student of Buddhism in very meaningful ways.