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Before He Was Buddha: The Life of Siddhartha Hardcover – May, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A vivid portrayal of the Buddha's personal story." - Vaga Journal" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Hammalawa Saddhatissa is the author of The Buddhist's Way, and was both Buddhist monk and professor of Buddhism. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 140 pages
  • Publisher: Seastone/Ulysses Press (May 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569751366
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569751367
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,809,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Marilyn W. Andrew on April 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The book was well written with many examples illustrating the message of each chapter. I especially liked the companion pictures and quotes from Buddha which distill the message of each chapter. The book was informative and enjoyable. If you are a first time reader of Buddhasm and want to know about Siddhartha's life as he became an enlightened One, then this book is the one for you.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Claus Hetting on June 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
This little book is an easily understood yet fairly accurate rendition of the Buddha's life & teachings, although the title is somewhat misleading in that the book also includes many events from the time after the Buddha's Enlightenment. It is written in a simple style and refrains from deeper philosophical discussions, which is a good idea in order not to alienate the reader and discourage future Buddhists (raw Buddhist philosphy can get very involved if it is not coupled with practical advice). The Buddha emerges as a person of flesh and blood, not unlike ourselves, and the anecdotes and allegories are excellent. Read it and enjoy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By T. Fisher TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 6, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book basically provides a mini-biography of Siddhartha Gautama written in a simple and accessible style. Not quite a children's book, but certainly accessible on a "young adult" level.

The events start with the familiar stories of the Buddha's fateful trips outside his insulated life of luxury as a young man, where he first saw sickness and death. This set him on the path that eventually led to enlightenment. The book covers his life story after enlightenment as well, including his life with the first group of Buddhist monks and eventually his death.

This book serves well as a very basic introduction to Buddhism. It provides good information on how it all started, but there have been a few thousand years since the events discussed. The author explains some fundamental aspects of Buddhism as well as the basic logic behind its practice, without going into details that would be needed to really start practicing today.

As an analogy, reading about the life of Christ doesn't necessarily explain Christian practices today, but it does give a basic idea of what the Christian ideal is supposed to be. The information you get from this book is similar to that.

This book is not aimed at practicing Buddhists, but for people who are curious and want an accessible, easy-to-read introduction. Recommended.
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