Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment

Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment

by Deepak Chopra


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060878818
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/26/2008
Series: Enlightenment Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 187,268
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.65(d)

About the Author

Deepak Chopra, M.D., is the author of more than eighty books translated into over forty-three languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers in both fiction and nonfiction categories.


La Jolla, California

Date of Birth:

October 22, 1946

Place of Birth:

New Delhi, India


All India Institute of Medical Sciences

Read an Excerpt


Chapter One

The Kingdom of Sakya, 563 BCE

One crisp spring day King Suddhodana turned in his saddle to survey the battlefield. He needed a weakness to exploit, and he was confident the enemy had left one for him. They always did. His senses were closed to everything else. Screams of the wounded and dying were heightened by the hoarse commands of his officers bellowing orders and calling on the gods for help. Torn by hooves and elephants' feet, cut by iron-rimmed chariot wheels, the land oozed blood as if the earth itself were mortally wounded.

"More soldiers! I want more soldiers now!"

Suddhodana didn't wait for anyone to obey. "If any man within the sound of my voice runs away, I will kill him personally!"

Charioteers and infantry moved toward the king, battered figures so filthy with fighting they could have been demiurges fashioned from the mud of the field.

Suddhodana was a warrior king, and the first thing to know about him is this: he mistook himself for a god. Along with his army, the king would kneel in the temple and pray before he went to war, but he put no trust in divine help. Leaving the gates of the capital behind, Suddhodana turned his head for one last look at home. But as the miles lengthened from Kapilavastu, his mood changed. By the time he came to the battlefield, its roiling activity and the smells that assaulted his nostrils—straw and blood, soldiers' sweat and dying horses—carried Suddhodana into another world. It smothered him completely in the belief that he could never lose.

The present campaign wasn't of his doing. Ravi Santhanam, a northernwarlord along the Nepalese border, had taken one of Suddhodana's trade caravans in a surprise attack. Suddhodana's retaliation came almost immediately. Even though the warlord's men had the advantage of the high ground and home terrain, Suddhodana's forces steadily chewed into their holdings. Horses and elephants trampled over the fallen, dead or still alive but too weak to escape. Suddhodana guided his mount next to the belly of a rearing bull elephant, narrowly avoiding the massive feet as they plunged downward. Half a dozen arrows had pierced it, driving the beast into a frenzy.

"I want a new line of chariots, close file!" He had seen where the enemy front was exhausted and ready to buckle. A dozen more chariots pulled up in advance of the infantry. Their metal-bound wheels clattered across the hard ground. The charioteers had archers standing behind them who unleashed arrows into the warlord's army.

"Make a moving wall," Suddhodana shouted. "I want to crush their line."

His charioteers were experienced veterans; they were hard-faced, merciless men. Suddhodana rode slowly before them, ignoring the strife only a short distance away. He spoke quietly. "The gods command that there can be only one king. But I swear that I am no better than a common soldier today, and you are as good as kings. Each man here is part of me. So what's left for the king to say? Only two words, but they are the two that your hearts want to hear. Victory. And home!" Then his command cracked like a whip.

"All together—move!"

Both armies rushed screaming into the breach like opposing oceans. Violence brought contentment to Suddhodana. His sword whirled as he split a man's head with a single blow. His wall was advancing, and if the gods willed it, as they had to will it, the enemy forces would open, one corpse at a time, until Suddhodana's infantry moved in, a tight wedge gliding forward on enemy blood. The king would have scoffed at anyone who denied that he was at the very center of the world.

At that hour Suddhodana's queen was being carried in a litter through the depths of the forest. She was ten months pregnant, a sign, the astrologers said, that the baby would be extraordinary. But in Queen Maya's mind nothing was extraordinary except the anxiety that surrounded her. She had decided, much too impetuously, to travel back to her mother's home to have her baby.

Suddhodana hadn't wanted to let her go. It was the custom for new mothers to go home to deliver, but he and Maya were inseparable. He was tempted to refuse, until in her guileless way Maya asked his permission in front of the assembled court. The king couldn't refuse his queen publicly, despite the dangers involved.

"Who will accompany you?" he asked with an edge of harshness, hoping to frighten her away from this foolhardy plan.

"My women."


He raised his hand in grudging assent. "You'll have some men, whoever can be spared." Maya smiled and withdrew. Suddhodana didn't want to argue, because in truth his wife mystified him. Making her afraid of danger was futile. The physical world was like a thin membrane she glided over, as a midge glides over the surface of a pond without breaking the water's skin. Therefore, the world could touch Maya, move her, hurt her, but never change her.

The queen departed from Kapilavastu a day before the army. Kumbira, the eldest court lady, rode at the head of the procession as it moved through the forest. It was a meager company, consisting of six soldiers too old to serve in the war astride six nags too weak to charge the enemy. After them came four litter bearers, who had taken off their shoes to negotiate the stony path, shouldering the tasseled and beaded palanquin bearing the young queen. Maya made no sound hidden behind the swaying silk drapes, except for a stifled moan whenever a bearer stumbled and the litter took a sharp jolt. Three young ladies-in-waiting, who grumbled in low voices about having to walk, brought up the rear.

Gray-haired Kumbira kept her gaze moving, aware of the dangers that lurked on both sides. This road, which was just a narrow cut in the granite slope, had begun as a smuggler's trail when poached deer hides, spices, and other contraband were trafficked to Nepal; it was still favored by bandits. Tigers were known to snatch their prey from terrified bands of travelers in this area, even in the brightest hour of the day. To ward them off, the bearers wore masks facing backward on their heads, believing that a tiger will only leap from the rear, never directly at a person who is looking at it.

Buddha. Copyright © by Deepak Chopra. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

What People are Saying About This

"The Buddha's story is compelling and...Chopra captures the essence of the spiritual seeker." -- Booklist

"A page turning masterpiece. To me, this is Deepak's story telling at its best. The telling of one of the greatest stories ever in a fashion that will make the Buddha come alive for the reader. I couldn't put it down. I now feel as if I have met the Buddha and he is in all of us who search for our own greatness. This book is destined to become a classic, I guarantee it." -- Wayne Dyer, author of The Power of Intention

"BUDDHA is unlike anything Deepak has ever written before. A timeless story retold by one of the most inspiring spiritual guides of our era, it is essential reading for anyone curious about the foundations of Buddhism." -- Brian Grazer, Oscar award-winning producer of A Beautiful Mind, Emmy-winning producer of 24

"Deepak Chopra crafts his BUDDHA in an astonishing narrative, a veritable literary feast engaging every color of the bouquet of human experience. With dramatic precision and inspired literary artistry he transports us on an adventure in enlightenment with all the twists and turns of a great movie." -- Peter Guber, Chairman of Mandalay Entertainment, producer of Batman, Rainman, and The Color Purple and host of AMC's Sunday Morning Shootout "From prince to fully awakened being we enter the mythic life of the Great Lord Buddha painted in primary colors on a canvas so fresh and unpretentious that we can sit and contemplate the essence of this ultimate spiritual adventure. Bravo Deepak!" - James O'Dea, President, Institute of Noetic Sciences "Outstanding! Deepak's creative and dramatic retelling of Buddha's life is proof, that, when it comes to conveying spiritual verities, fiction can be more true than fact." - Arvind Sharma, Birks Professor of Comparative Religion McGill University

Wayne Dyer

“A page turning masterpiece. This book is destined to become a classic.”

Ken Wilber

“A wonderful novelization of the greatest adventure you will ever undertake....”

Peter Guber

“An adventure in enlightenment with all the twists and turns of a great movie.”

Brian Grazer

“Essential reading for anyone curious about the foundations of Buddhism.”

Customer Reviews

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Buddha 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 709 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Knowing almost nothing about Buddha, I was surprised how exciting this novel is. I enjoyed it immensely and found it fun AND enlightening. You do not have to be interested in becoming a buddhist to enjoy this exciting, almost fairy tale-like novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow, the path to finding your true self within. If you have an open mind then this book is for you.
wookietim More than 1 year ago
I rarely give five star reviews... usually the best I do is four. And I came at this skeptically because of the touchy feely repuation of the author. I was wrong. This is an absolutely incredible book.
gettin_picky More than 1 year ago
I had trouble getting into this book but after I got into it I really enjoyed it. Not having any real knowledge of who Buddha was except that there was a religion based on his teachings I really liked that the author took what is known about Buddha and made it into a novel that was educational and interesting (I know that should have been one or two sentences but I've been taking down Christmas decorations and I'm tired). Obviously it's fiction so the book is not 100% true to his life but after researching more about Buddha after finishing the book I found that the author didn't really change to much.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great historical look in an interesting format.
gleyshull More than 1 year ago
Best telling of the Buddha story I've read. Read it while traveling through Thailand and it was perfect complement to what I was seeing and experiencing.
ZBDO More than 1 year ago
I attended Catholic school for thirteen years and, as a result, I'm not very religious. I also have never considered myself a particularly spiritual individual. This book, while a fictionalized account of the life of Siddhartha Gautama, made me really want to investigate Buddhism. Deepak Chopra, while not famed for being a novelist, demonstrates a compelling way with words. His prose feels heightened without being flowery or ornate. You can approach this book as a novel, a spiritual treatise, or a mix of both. You are in good hands with Chopra and the experience will move you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! I have only mediocre knowledge of the story of Buddha but always had a yearning to discover it. I was interested the entire way through and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great story. I had thought it would be focused on spirituality but Deepak Chopra does an excellent job of creating a story of it!
Pegasus777 More than 1 year ago
Very well written, good job Mr. Chopra! I feel as though I was beside Siddhartha, on his Journey to understanding himself and his Quest for "Nirvana/Buddha"! I will recommend this excellent read!
zina on LibraryThing 28 days ago
Fictionalized biography and excellent introduction to Buddhism
ashley_schmidt on LibraryThing 28 days ago
A clear cut and straight-forward story of the enlightenment of Buddha. I'll read anything by Deepak Chopra. And this one shouldn't be missed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He did an unbelievably job at creating Buddha's life. Interesting, eye-opening at times, all around lovely job.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book because it was the telling of a story. The reader met the characters and had the opportunity to like and dislike them. I felt I learned something without having Buddhism shoved down my throat. I would have given this 5 stars had the book ended with the story and references to seek more information rather than including the questions and answers which weren't a novel anymore.
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