THE BUDDHA: The Story of an Awakened Life

David Kherdian, Author . White Cloud $14.95 (164p) ISBN 978-1-883991-63-0

Kherdian, who has written for both children and adults, pens a simple, lyrical biography of Buddha suited for all ages. Episodes from the life of the Indian prince born around the fifth century B.C.E. are narrated in chronological order to present an unfolding life history that engages and also teaches some central Buddhist tenets. The Buddha's life is the stuff of legends, and this telling is mythopoeic rather than dully historical or biographical. In a narrative with a well-marked beginning, middle and end, the Buddha finds the middle way at mid-life after pursuing youthful extremes of sensual indulgence and mortifying asceticism. Post-Enlightenment stories then show how the Buddha's spiritual authority and community grew over the course of 40 years of teaching, and the Buddha's resonant and honored final words ("Work out your salvation with diligence") close the narrative. Some well-known Buddhist parables, such as the story of the mustard seed, are included. If the goal is to humanize an eminent spiritual leader from another time and place, the book succeeds. Buddha has a mother and dad, an envious cousin, quarrelsome followers and a son who challenges him. Buddhist students may not want something quite this elementary, but it is an accessible introduction to the life of the Buddha for general readers wanting a taste of a legendary life story. (June)

Reviewed on: 05/10/2004
Release date: 11/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 164 pages - 978-1-935952-12-1
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