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Armstrong, Karen Buddha ISBN 13: 9780753813409

Buddha - Softcover

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9780753813409: Buddha
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Buddhism is a faith that commands over 100 million followers throughout the world. Buddha revolutionized the religious ideas of his time to advocate a new way of living. All that is known about him comes from a collection of ancient writings that fuse history, biography and myth. Karen Armstrong distils from these the key events of Buddha's life: his birth as Siddhatta Gotama in the fifth century BC and his abandonment of his wife and son; his attainment of enlightenment under the Banyan tree; his political influence; the divisions among his followers; and his serene death. Armstrong also introduces the key tenets of Buddhism. In our own age of secular anxiety, she shows that it has profound lessons to teach about selflessness and the simple life.

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Review:
Books on Buddhism may overflow the shelves, but the life story of the Buddha himself has remained obscure despite over 2,500 years of influence on millions of people around the world. In an attempt to rectify this, and to make the Buddha and Buddhism accessible to Westerners, the beloved scholar and author of such sweeping religious studies as A History of God has written a readable, sophisticated, and somewhat unconventional biography of one of the most influential people of all time. Buddha himself fought against the cult of personality, and the Buddhist scriptures were faithful, giving few details of his life and personality. Karen Armstrong mines these early scriptures, as well as later biographies, then fleshes the story out with an explanation of the cultural landscape of the 6th century B.C., creating a deft blend of biography, history, philosophy, and mythology.

At the age of 29, Siddhartha Gautama walked away from the insulated pleasure palace that had been his home and joined a growing force of wandering monks searching for spiritual enlightenment during an age of upheaval. Armstrong traces Gautama's journey through yoga and asceticism and grounds it in the varied religious teachings of the time. In many parts of the world during this so-called axial age, new religions were developing as a response to growing urbanization and market forces. Yet each shared a common impulse--they placed faith increasingly on the individual who was to seek inner depth rather than magical control. Taoism and Confucianism, Hinduism, monotheism in the Middle East and Iran, and Greek rationalism were all emerging as Gautama made his determined way towards enlightenment under the boddhi tree and during the next 45 years that he spent teaching along the banks of the Ganges. Armstrong, in her intelligent and clarifying style, is quick to point out the Buddha's relevance to our own time of transition, struggle, and spiritual void in both his approach--which was based on skepticism and empiricism--and his teachings.

Despite the lack of typical historical documentation, Armstrong has written a rich and revealing description of both a unique time in history and an unusual man. Buddha is a terrific primer for those interested in the origins and fundamentals of Buddhism. --Lesley Reed

About the Author:
Karen Armstrong spent seven years as a Roman Catholic nun, an experience she recollected in her two volumes of best-selling autobiography, Through the Narrow Gate and Beginning the World. She is the author of the world-wide best-seller, A History of God (which has now appeared in more than thirty languages), the acclaimed History of Jerusalem and, most recently, The Battle for God. She is a teacher at the Leo Baeck College for the Study of Judaism and, in 1999, she received the Muslim Public Affairs Council Media Award.

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  • PublisherORION PUBLISHING CO
  • Publication date2002
  • ISBN 10 0753813408
  • ISBN 13 9780753813409
  • BindingPaperback
  • Number of pages224
  • Rating
    3.9 avg rating
    ( 5,165 ratings by Goodreads )

Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780143034360: Buddha (Penguin Lives Biographies)

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ISBN 10:  ISBN 13:  9780143034360
Publisher: Penguin Books, 2004
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9780670891931: Buddha (Penguin Lives)

Viking, 2001
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9783878601210: Buddha

Lipper..., 2001
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9781407233710: Buddha [Sale Edition](Armstrong)

Phoenix, 2002
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9780786234288: Buddha

Thornd..., 2001
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Book Description Paperback. Condition: new. Paperback. Buddhism is a faith that commands over 100 million followers throughout the world. Buddha revolutionised the religious ideas of his time to advocate a new way of living. All that is known about him comes from a collection of ancient writings that fuse history, biography and myth.Karen Armstrong distils from these the key events of Buddha's life: his birth as Siddhatta Gotama in the fifth century BC and his abandonment of his wife and son; his attainment of enlightenment under the Banyan tree; his political influence; the divisions among his followers; an his serene death. Armstrong also introduces the key tenets of Buddhism. In our own age of secular anxiety, she shows that it has profound lessons to teach about selflessness and the simple life. A superb introduction to the life and thought of a revolutionary spiritual thinker.'Karen Armstrong has been one of the most persistent and powerful voices in the eminently respectable task of popularising religious scholarship in the anglophone world' GUARDIAN Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. Seller Inventory # 9780753813409

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