Analysis of Karen Armstrongs Buddha

Analysis of Karen Armstrongs Buddha






Buddhism is one of the common religions in the present society. The religion is different from the rest due to its teachings. Armstrong talks of the principals of the religion and the need to embrace it. Buddhism is a peaceful religion; most of the followers place emphasis on the need to remain in one peace. The book explains the steps that an individual can take to apply these principles to their lives. A high percentage of Americans have taken on Buddhism as their religion; this is owed the acceptance of all people willing to adhere to the rules. Buddhist worships Buddha who is represented as a statue (Armstrong, p. 156).

The focus of this paper is to provide analysis of Karen Armstrong’s Buddha. The paper looks at the content of the book in relation to the Buddhism religion. The paper places emphasis on the author’s point of view and her of point of delivery. Armstrong focuses on other religions apart from the study of Buddhism. The paper thus looks at the comparison the book makes in reference to alternative religions. The paper finally offers a concluding paragraph that summarizes the contents of the paper

Karen Armstrong’s Buddha is one of the books that she has dedicated to religion. With a strong background in religious studies, Armstrong displays all the aspects of the Buddhism religion. One of the factors that make the book different from the rest of the novels is Armstrong’s lack of a formal education. She places all her information from personal experience that she has undergone over the years.

The book shows the history of Buddhism by explaining about the man who became Buddha. Armstrong tells the story of Gotama, the man whose teachings made him identify himself with a spiritual being and later took on the role as Buddha. Teaching in Buddhism is different from the rest of the religions which is expected. The religions places emphasis on performing good over evil. One has to receive the guidance of the Buddhism priests. Armstrong educates the reader on the significance of the priests in the religion. A high percentage of the Buddhists dedicate their lives to the serving Buddha. This involves having a selfless mind that removes any form of exposure to the real world. One of the ways the priests achieve this goal is the use of meditation. Buddhism does not focus on judgment of its followers like both Christianity and Islam. Instead it encourages people to live a meaningful life which in turn reflects in internal peace.

A close look at the history of the Buddhism displays the role the religion has impacted on the world as a whole. Most of the meanings such as Nirvana and karma are applied by the current society. Most of these meanings seek to teach the society lessens that are lived by till the end of time. Armstrong forms a relationship between the adaptation of the practices and the origin of the meanings. This makes the book interesting due to the wealth of history that it encompasses. One of the elements of the religion is its role in the politics in the society. Buddhism gets its origins from India. India is home to more than one hundred different religions. These religions are reflective of the high population that comprises of different cultures.

Buddhism is a mixture of both the teachings of Gotama and the alternative teachings. Some of the scripts are influenced by Gotama due to his involvement with providing a number of scriptures. Followers should thus ensure that they learn about the scriptures so that they can interpret the meaning for themselves. Armstrong has written on the Torah, the Bible and the Koran. These are the books that guide individuals on some of the religions that are present in society. The United States is a diverse country; it acts as the host of different nationalities who worship different Gods. Armstrong creates a comparison between the different religions and their influence on each other. The practice of Buddhism continues to grow due to the positive effect it has on believers. The book therefore acts as a guide in that it educates the newly converted followers on the ins and outs of the religion.

One of the essential aspects that Armstrong talks about is the formation of the religion. As stated earlier, the principle founder of the religion is called Gotama. Gotama hailed from a well off family due to the position of his father in the society. Most of the people involved in religious activities do not have this kind of upbringing and background. This position made his story more unique in comparison to other religious leaders. Gotama was married to a beautiful wife who he shared a son with. This signifies that he had his whole life ahead of him which is an ideal situation for most of the youth in his age. Despite the good life he had made for himself, Gotama defied the odds by sacrificing his family so that he can live a different life. He was fed up with the worldly things that society placed emphasis on. He then chose an alternative life which consisted of living a simple life that consisted of psychological needs. Gotama’s life is thus reflective of the lives Buddhists are expected to live. Embracing a simple life makes the mind move away of the items that are materialistic. This is signified by the shaving of the hair so as to maintain the purity that Buddha encompasses. The appearance of Buddhists plays an important part in the religion. The dressing consists of an orange or yellow robe that is wrapped around the body. The cloths of a follower should be clean due to the fact that Buddha represents cleanliness. Gotama, s journey exposes him to homeless people who dress in this type of dressing. It is said that the dressing of the monks is inspired by these people. The author provides information that other religious books stay away from. This enlightens the reader about several aspects that are not known to the society. Armstrong displays an immense amount of knowledge about the history of the religion. This is brought about by her experience in research in regard to religious studies.

Armstrong elaborates on the effects of Gotama’s actions and his role in the formation of the Buddhism religion. The book talks about the initial stages of the formation of Buddhism to the developed stages. One of the significant areas of the book is the story of Gotama’s encounter with selfless people during his journey. These people inspire him in his quest to acquire true sacrifice. Living a life of sacrifice is thus the source of true satisfaction.

The author ensures that she gets the attention of the reader. The title of the book is called Buddha; this is representative of the overall leader of the religion. Once again, Armstrong explains the religion in comparison to the alternative religions. In the case of Islam and Christianity, they believe in one God who is ruler of the heavens and the earth. Buddhism on the other hand places emphasis on the presence of Buddha. The religion however represents Buddha in the form of a statue or pillar. The other two religions believe in the omnipresence of their Gods. These similarities display the different types of religions present and their relation to each other. Armstrong uses her roots in the Catholic Church to bring out her understanding of the various religions in society (Armstrong, p. 214).

In conclusion, Buddha is dedicated to the practice and observation of the Buddhism religion. Despite the fact that the religion has a substantial amount of followers, a large percentage of the population remains ignorant about the elements of the religion. It is essential to learn about different religions in the society. Armstrong has dedicated the most part of her life studying the contents of different religions. Her book on Buddhism is one of the religions that she has included into her profile. Buddha not only talks about the Buddhism religion; it seeks to educate the society on the acceptance and understanding of other cultures in the surrounding environment. It is thus recommended to invest in the knowledge of different religions so as to remove the ignorance that we have as a society.

Works Cited

Armstrong, Karen. Buddha, Paw prints. Cincinnati Ohio.2008, print.