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Thread: Biography of the Buddha

  1. #1

    Biography of the Buddha

    I am interested in reading some of the biographies of the Buddha, but am not sure which ones are the best. I would love to hear your opinions on what the best books on the subject are.

    Gassho, Ian

  2. #2
    Senior Member rculver's Avatar
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    Re: Biography of the Buddha

    Hello Ian,

    Karen Armstrong did one that was pretty good. Deepak Chopra has one as well but I haven't read it.

    Ron

  3. #3

    Re: Biography of the Buddha

    Ah ... PLEASE, NO Deeprak Chopra! Few people get me so riled up as that New Age Fluff-meister!

    Karen Armstrong (I have not read it ... I like many of her other books such as "A History of God") writes as someone outside and not practicing the Buddhist tradition, and mostly for others outside and not undertaking the tradition ... so I am not sure.

    A very nice one, I felt, and on our Treeleaf Reading List ...

    viewtopic.php?f=1&t=889

    The Life of the Buddha by Bhikkhu Nanamoli

    http://www.amazon.com/Life-Buddha-Accor ... 547&sr=8-1

    It is a wonderful read, based on drawing from the Pali Cannon by a Theravadan priest ... but presenting a Buddha just as at home with Mahayana and Zen practice too.

    I have also heard good things (although I have not read it yet ... it is on the pile) about

    Old Path White Clouds: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha by Thich Nhat Hanh

    http://www.amazon.com/Old-Path-White-Cl ... 663&sr=1-1

    Gassho, Jundo

  4. #4

    Re: Biography of the Buddha

    Hello,

    may I suggest you consider getting a copy of the following as well:


    http://www.amazon.com/Historical-Buddha ... 0140192034

    The original German version is filled with important historical and archaeological information, written by one of Germany's foremost authorities on Buddhism. I haven't read the English translation though.

    Gassho,

    Hans

  5. #5

    Re: Biography of the Buddha

    Hello friends,

    I am currently in the third book of Old Path White Clouds. While at first it looks like a daunting read, it is written in a very compelling, novelistic style (and interestingly enough, has many fine Suttas and Sutras as integral parts of the book!). I would, based on where I am right now, recommend the book.

    Much Metta,

    Perry

  6. #6
    Senior Member rculver's Avatar
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    Re: Biography of the Buddha

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Ah ... PLEASE, NO Deeprak Chopra! Few people get me so riled up as that New Age Fluff-meister!

    Gassho, Jundo
    So, Tell us how you Really feel. :lol:

    Ron

  7. #7

    Re: Biography of the Buddha

    Stephen Batchelor's latest book has some interesting "Buddha Bio" stuff. Also a lot of Stephen Batchelor bio...but it's a good read (imho).
    Confession of a Buddhist Atheist:
    http://www.amazon.com/Confession-Buddhi ... 494&sr=8-1

    Deepak REALLY bothers me too...which is why I hate to admit that I bought and read that "Buddha" book of his. (I had a long flight, nothing to read, and saw it in a store at the airport. excuses excuses....sad to think now that I gave him my money and consumed his trash. should have just sat zazen.) anyway, the point is that that book is simple, shallow, and full of silliness ....and Deepak Chopra doesn't need your money.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Ah ... PLEASE, NO Deeprak Chopra! Few people get me so riled up as that New Age Fluff-meister!
    I assume "Deeprak" (you been in Japan THAT long?) appears in your metta practice frequently then...in the "enemy" field, no doubt. After all... "That is perhaps the most valuable and difficult practice of all." -Jundo Cohen
    :twisted:

  8. #8

    Re: Biography of the Buddha

    Hello,
    May I add my fav to the list, although I am not sure if it is still in print; 'Gautama Buddha' by Iqbal Singh. Oxford University Press 1994 (original Indian publication 1937) ISBN 0 19 563455 1. It starts with a description of the times whern he was born and the philosohical thinking of the age, goes through his life story and teachings and then looks at the impact of his teachings on the world. Of course this bit is not quite so up to date. I liked it but I think a lot of people might think it its style a bit dry and academic, it certainly is not the easy read of Thich Nhat Hahn.

    Gassho

    Joe

  9. #9

    Re: Biography of the Buddha

    A deep bow, and many thanks, for all of the suggestions. I have added all of the recommended books to my reading list.

    Gassho, Ian

  10. #10

    Re: Biography of the Buddha

    Hello brother Ian,

    If you want, I am almost done with Ven. Nhat Hanh's book. I'll be more than happy to loan it to you if you can't find it at a library or somesuch.

    Much metta,

    Perry

  11. #11

    Re: Biography of the Buddha

    Perry, thank you very much for the generous offer, however I found a copy at a used bookstore. Found Karen Armstrongs book as well. But thanks.

    Gassho, Ian.

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