Sunday, April 06, 2008

Emancipate yourself from mental slavery...

Good stories take us to another place. They cause us to forget our reality for a time. Great stories transform, forcing us to reconsider the concept of reality and our place in it. Thanks to his well-honed story telling skills and the touching subject matter of an amazing life, Deepak Chopra's Buddha falls squarely in the camp of transformation.

I had a hard time putting this book down. I found myself looking forward to my 40 minute train ride (each way) to and from work for the reading time it would offer. Chopra takes us through the life of the historical buddha, laying out out a set of events that have their climax in Gautama's attaining enlightenment. Because it aims to tell a story rather than to convert the reader, the narrative is inviting and engaging. But more than simply a story, it facilitates introspection into the mind, into one's personal sense of freedom and into one's attitudes on compassion.

I was about to cite my own myriad experiences with Buddhism and state that this book isn't for everyone, but on further thought, that would not be an accurate statement. There is something in this book for everyone. For some, it might shed light on a mysterious school of thought. For others it could represent an opportunity to consider well-worn ideals from a new, refreshing angle. Still others may determine after finishing the book that they want to learn more about Buddhism. And then there are those who are experts in Buddhism, but have likely not heard the story told from such a personal, approachable viewpoint.

Those who would marginalize Buddhism as a strange Eastern religion for a misguided segment of the world's population are making a mistake. Buddha's teachings on the transient nature of the human condition and on alleviating suffering are a source of inspiration for millions. We owe it to ourselves to seek to better understand each other. This book is an ideal first step on that path. In a similar vein, if anyone is aware of an eloquently told story that serves to bridge the chasm of misunderstanding between the West and Islam, I would appreciate the recommendation.

I didn't mean to write a book report when I got started, but the material is that inspiring. If you have the means, I highly recommend you pick this book up.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Stine said...

Bob Marley AND Buddha. That is an enlightened pair. I fully support all other statements in your book analysis. My jury is still out on Deepak Chopra though.

Monday, April 07, 2008 5:43:00 PM  
Blogger Director Sportif said...

This was my first Deepak Chopra book and I understand it is quite unlike any of his others. I like his writing style though. I'll be trying out another of his more conventional books sometime soon.

Monday, April 07, 2008 8:49:00 PM  
Blogger Gramma Cyddie said...

you know me...i can only recommend some interesting and inspiring LDS books. Just haven't found time for anything else though your review and other recommendations intrigue me. Perhaps in all your reading you would be interested in throwing one or two of my favorites into the mix????

Tuesday, April 08, 2008 12:31:00 AM  
Blogger kilaMOMjaro said...

Ahhh reminds me of my favorite movie "Little Buddha". I'll have to pick this one up.

Sunday, April 20, 2008 7:34:00 PM  

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