With an estimated 350 million adherents, Buddhism is the fifth largest belief system in the world today. This book explores the roots of this faith, from the life of the Buddha through to the early forms of Buddhism that developed into what is practised worldwide today. The opening section looks at the Buddha's life in detail, from his early years as a protected infant through to his spiritual awakening and quest for enlightenment. This book then moves on to look in detail at the Buddha's teachings, from his interpretation of the Dharma and the importance of karma, through to his attitudes towards the consumption of meat and alcohol and the pivotal role of meditation in the search for enlightenment. Written by a leading expert this beautifully presented exploration of early Buddhism is lavishly illustrated with over 200 stunning photographs and illustrations, and is an essential reference for anyone interested in Buddhist teachings and the history if Buddhism. This is an in-depth chronology of the life and times of the Buddha and how his teachings have developed into modern Buddhism. It offers a comprehensive overview of the key beliefs of Buddhism, lavishly illustrated with over 200 photographs and artworks. It examines the life and teachings of the Buddha and explores how they have been interpreted to form the various branches of modern Buddhism. There are special features on the Buddha's travels and the spread of his teachings throughout India. It looks at the doctrines that are central to the Buddhist universe, such as the Dharma, the importance of karma, the four noble truths and the role of meditation.