Welcome back all! It has been some time. One reason is that I have had my head buried in both an International Business & a Principles of Financial Account textbook. Fear not those of you who know me closely, knowing business has it’s benefits, in order to work best with those you wish to work with it is truly beneficial to speak their language! In saying all of this, while I have been gladly sharpening the axe and often times swinging it, I felt that there had been a lack of spirituality in my life. And oddly enough a number of years ago this book – Buddhism: The Illustrated Guide – Kevin Trainor– had shown up randomly at my home. No time like the present to crack this puppy open.
I can tell you that prior to reading this book that my expectations were primarily that this book would be focused on a singular Buddha and would have but one path to follow. I also expected Buddha to be sitting cross-legged and floating from place to place, because while the Christians may have a guy that can walk on water, I am more likely to be interested in a guy who can just float merrily on (think Modest Mouse Float on – if you aren’t familiar go listen and come back, this page isn’t going anywhere!).
Did you listen to the song?! You did, awesome! If you didn’t, no worries! Onto the main course (writing while hungry, is that a muse or amusing) . This book is packed with a number of photos of artwork as well as many of Buddha in his many states You will also find that there are a number of maps that will illustrate the origins of Buddhism (Not China or Japan or even Asia proper! This was a surprise to me!)
According to this book the buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) was born around 550 BCE somewhere amidst the Indus River and the Ganges, India.
Given the area and the Indian predisposition of Hinduism, yoga and meditation play a huge role in the foundation of Buddhism. Buddhism also has many facets to its religion similar to Christianity, think Orthodox Greek , Russian Orthodox as well as Lutheran or Methodist, I am sure you get the picture.
It seems that while Christianity was spreading through the “Western World”, Buddhism was spreading through the Eastern. Although, it would appear that the religion spread with a great deal less violence. It seems that this makes a little sense as the pinnacle of being reaches nirvana/Buddhahood would seem to predicate that killing would stand in the way of achieving one of what seems like one of the huge goals for the participants in this religion.
This book also hits on a large number of other aspects of the religion from origins to the current day.
I am not certain if this was a book meant to be read from cover to cover, one thing that I can tell you is that it often put me into a meditative state, and often to sleep. Granted that the sleep I had while reading this book seemed to be refreshing and I felt that my heart seemed to be a little bit lighter while my mind wandered along some spiritual ethers.
On a scale of Truth Seeker to Nirvana, I would rate this one a Truth Seeker.
I will continue to read more on Buddhism as I truly enjoy the concepts and thoughts behind it and welcome the change of perspective. I certainly recommend this book to anyone looking to get a layman’s view of the religion.
If you have a book that you would recommend or a particular manuscript etc that is high on your list and is great for Buddhist newbies I would love to hear about it. I hope that this review has helped you in some way either in a decision to read the book or take a look into the religion or simply entertained!
Until next time!