Friday, April 10, 2015

Week 12 Essay: The Life of Buddha

        This week, I explored The Life of Buddha by Andre Ferdinand Herold translated by Paul C. Blum. The original text was written in French but the translation by Blum was seamless. The story flowed very well, and gave enough background information within the story itself to keep confusion at bay. Each chapter was relatively short, but incredibly descriptive and entertaining. It is obvious that this book was well thought out, and each word was placed with intention.

        The Life of Buddha was my favorite Un-Textbook story I have read. The simple, modern English made the reading so much easier than a couple others I have come across. The only issue with the available text was a lack of PDF. I often close everything out, without thinking and found myself having to re- find the website and re-find my place in the book. Not a huge deal, but enough of an ordeal for me to think of it as a hassle.

        I have always been somewhat acquainted with the story of Buddha, but told from the Asian point of view which, believe it or not, is different. Every piece of information I gathered from Buddha throughout my life focused almost exclusively on him after his revelations. Learning the story of Buddha from birth was so informational.

        My favorite story from the reading was Siddhartha’s trips into the city in Gopa’s Dream and Siddhartha is Eager to Know the Great Truths. Siddhartha was shocked to discover pain and suffering. So much so that he completely changed his entire life path toward seeking the end of these terrible pains. These two stories took me by surprise not because of their content but the message. We so often brush off the pain of the world and accept that sickness and age and death are inevitable, and while that is true and should be remembered it is all too often a justification. To see that Siddhartha was so incredibly inconsolable, reminded me that suffering is not mundane. Life is not mundane. The parallels between the story of Jesus and Siddhartha was also a little unexpected. I have always been aware of the principle of universal history but these two stories were much more similar than I had originally realized.

        I absolutely loved The Life of Buddha. It is one of those things that I feel was unjustly excluded from being a classic. The religious aspects aside Siddhartha’s story is such a good “Food for Thought” provoking story. This story has inspired me to re-kindle my exploration of the Greek, Roman, and now Eastern classics. 

Image of Buddha Meditating
Provided by Wikipedia

Bibliography: The Life of Buddha by Andre Ferdinand Herold (1922) 
Translated by Paul C. Blum (1927)


  1. Gloria,

    I am glad you read and enjoyed The Life of Buddha section of the Untextbook! I was planning on reading it this past week, but got caught up in things and didn't get around to it. So it was nice to have your essay and storytelling post to read and get a little synopsis of it!

    The stories of Siddhartha sounds truly incredibly. I agree with you that we are often very desensitized to the traumatic events that happen in the world. I'll admit, I'm even that way sometimes. And then sometimes, I cry at the drop of a hat (or some commercial on TV...really?!). But we all have our own ways of coping with things and, sometimes, we just have to harden ourselves against the bad. It is a very interesting thing to think about it!

  2. Gloria, I have yet to read any of the untextbook but I continue to find all of the stories interesting that I read from other people talking about the untextbook. It seems as if I need to dive into some of them, over, I still really enjoy the epics as we continue to see the overlap of the different authors.