• Paperback
  • ISBN 9780143034360
  • 240 Pages
  • Penguin Books
  • Adult


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] offers a frequently inspiring look at this exemplary life… Invaluable. (Los Angeles Times)

Table of Contents

Introduction   xi

  1. Renunciation   1
  2. Quest   36
  3. Enlightenment   66
  4. Dhamma   98
  5. Mission   122
  6. Parinibbana   162

Notes   189
Glossary   201

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