Synopses & Reviews
With such bestsellers as A History of God and Islam, Karen Armstrong has consistently delivered penetrating, readable, and prescient (The New York Times) works that have lucidly engaged a wide range of religions and religious issues. In Buddha she turns to a figure whose thought is still reverberating throughout the world 2,500 years after his death.
Many know the Buddha only from seeing countless serene, iconic images. But what of the man himself and the world he lived in? What did he actually do in his roughly eighty years on earth that spawned one of the greatest religions in world history? Armstrong tackles these questions and more by examining the life and times of the Buddha in this engrossing philosophical biography. Against the tumultuous cultural background of his world, she blends history, philosophy, mythology, and biography to create a compelling and illuminating portrait of a man whose awakening continues to inspire millions.
"[Armstrong's] explications have great clarity and power, making this work essential reading for those looking for a brief introduction to the Buddha's life and Buddhist thought." Library Journal
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.
A concise, yet comprehensive introduction to the life and thought of the Buddha, written by the bestselling author of "A History of God", which has been translated into thirty languages.