Deepak Chopra brings the Buddha back to life in this gripping New York Times bestselling novel about the young prince who abandoned his inheritance to discover his true calling. This iconic journey changed the world forever, and the truths revealed continue to influence every corner of the globe today.
A young man in line for the throne is trapped in his father's kingdom and yearns for the outside world. Betrayed y those closest to him, Siddhartha abandons his palace and princely title. Face-to-face with his demons, he becomes a wandering monk and embarks on a spiritual fast that carries him to the brink of death. Ultimately recognizing his inability to conquer his body and mind by sheer will, Siddhartha transcends his physical pain and achieves enlightenment.
Although we recognize Buddha today as an icon of peace and serenity, his life story was a tumultuous and spellbinding affair filled with love and sex, murder and loss, struggle and surrender. From the rocky terrain of the material world to the summit of the spiritual one, Buddha captivates and inspires—ultimately leading us closer to understanding the true nature of life and ourselves.
User Ratings and Reviews
5 Stars An Interesting Journey into Buddhism
If you're looking for entertaining historical fiction, this may hit the mark. If you're looking to be inspired with how to evolve spiritually as did Siddhartha, into the Buddha, then this is the perfect book for you.
Buddha, who lived in a time of oral, not written tradition, has many differing accounts of his life now in print. Deepak Chopra's historical novel takes the most agreed-upon facts and adds his interpretation of Buddha's emotions and experiences. At once, Buddha becomes a more understandable figure, and the Buddhist philosophy more approachable to the reader.
Chopra reimagines the early life of Siddhartha, who left his princely throne to seek spiritual enlightenment. This novel is replete with evil gods, bloody battles, and a taste of the Indian culture of the time to capture the reader's interest. This tome on the inner thoughts and motivations of Buddha traces each step in the journey that led Siddhartha to cast off his material life and reach enlightenment. In this way, Chopra illustrates, rather than preaches, the principles of Buddhism – that the root of suffering is illusion and belief in the separate self.
At the end of the book, there is an epilogue that explains the basic tenets of Buddhism for those who want to follow this path.
3 Stars Buddha, the novel
I immediately began to see that this was written more like a novel than a true story, but Chopra tries to bring us an inside look into what life was like when Buddha was alive and experiencing his transformation to enlightenment.
It was a good story….but the concept of prolonged meditation is not one that would be easy for most people to experience.
I was interested in learning more about Buddha, and for that, Chopra did not fail me.
4 Stars Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment
Initially the story was slow going with details of Siddhartha's early life and childhood, I believe it was narrated for the purpose of suggesting his normalcy given his situation. Overall Deepak's writing style left me a little dry.
The amount of time and the degree of being an ascetic where he was near physical death I had not previously considered, though I am aware this happens on a regular basis for those taking this path.
Fundamental metaphysical understandings such as the Oneness of All that Is and how to reach/attain and then live such an understanding were pretty well presented. That the Buddha was not anyone more special than anyone else might be a challenge for some if they are looking for a spiritual icon. The suggestion that the only thing that is real is not real is of course a brain twister. This refers to the Universe of form and appearance.
Many consider Buddhism a religion. It is nothing but a more philosophical method of experiencing ones life and by implication all methods ultimately are the same.
If the reader is new to such thoughts they may have a hard time with the concepts presented. It is only towards the end of the book where these concepts are presented. I would have liked to read Deepak's impressions of what was really going on in the mind of the young Siddhartha. What kind of questions he had internally about life and its possible purpose.
A friend of mine recently told me of seeing a picture where there was the body of the Buddha with the head of a dog. She's a dog person. Anyway I told her I believe the Buddha would have agreed with such a representation. The Buddha nature resides in All that Is.
I would recommend this book to people who are just starting to more seriously question aspects of their beliefs. Personally I enjoyed Hermann Hesse's "Siddhartha" more.
5 Stars An Experience
I understand the book primarily as an experience. At the risk of sounding grandiose: I knowingly experienced infinity for the first time and understand "Truth" differently. All the patterns connect.
5 Stars Beautifully told story
Wow! What a wonderfully told story. Deepak did an awesome job with this work of fiction. The story moves from Siddhartha the prince, to Gautama the monk, to the enlightened being Buddha, in three distinct but intricately interwoven sections — from glimpses of enlightenment through the fog of delusion, to the tormenting struggle with duality, to complete transcendence of duality and attachment. The character is developed so well that by the time Deepak got to the end of the book, Buddha came alive for me. I absolutely loved the way the story ended. I found myself wanting more, which, for me, makes a great book. Without the primer on Buddhism at the end, the reader gets a full and fundamental understanding of Buddhism just by the way the story unfolds and is told. Loved it!