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7/26/08 / Buddha

3:08 PM

I finished Deepak Chopra’s Buddha.  My primary motivation for reading it was to compare it to Hesse’s Siddhartha – not to see if it’s better or worse, but to see whether the message it conveys is similar and whether it’s conveyed in a similar way.

I enjoyed Buddha, but it is nowhere near as timeless as Siddhartha.  This is only the second Deepak Chopra book I have read, but I have a feeling that this book might not have been even published had someone unknown written it.  Frankly I don’t think it’s very well written.  I found his style a bit messy.  Whereas Siddhartha was simple and elegant, Buddha feels convoluted at times, maybe because of the characters and incidents he created as aids in telling his story.

Two passages stuck out for me in this book (italics mine):

“What if there is no holy life?” asked Buddha…  “You see,” said Buddha, “even holiness has become food for your ego to feed on.  You want to be different.  You want to be safe.  You want to have hope.”

Pg. 242

He threw the dust into the air; it remained suspended like a murky cloud for a second before the breeze carried it away.

“Consider what you just saw,” said Buddha.  “The dust holds its shape for a fleeting moment when I throw it into the air, as the body holds its shape for this brief lifetime.  When the wind makes it disappear, where does the dust go?  It returns to its source, the earth.  In the future that same dust allows grass to grow, and it enters a deer who eats the grass.  The animal dies and turns to dust.  Now imagine that the dust comes to you and asks, ‘Who am I?’  What will you tell it?  Dust is alive in a plant but dead as it lies in the road under our feet.  It moves in an animal but is still when buried in the depths of the earth.  Dust encompasses life and death at the same time.  So if you answer ‘Who am I?’ with anything but a complete answer, you have made a mistake.

Pg. 242-3

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