A Story of Enlightenment
Author’s Note PART ONE: SIDDHARTHA THE PRINCE 1 One crisp spring day King Suddhodana turned in his saddle… 2 The gray rain blanketed Suddhodana and his men as the… 3 The silk curtains to Maya’s chamber parted, and Kumbira rushed… 4 The next morning Suddhodana rode his warhorse up the hillside… 5 It took a moment beforeSiddhartha had enough presence of… 6 It took Devadatta most of the night to figure out… 7 You just might do. In a pinch.” 8 The day after the banquet everyone’s attention shifted to the… 9 The sky was divided between sun and clouds as the… 10 Sujata’s disappearance wasn’t discovered for several days. The first day… PART TWO: GAUTAMA THE MONK 11 The skies had given plenty of warning all day. Clouds…12 Gautama passed several travelers on the road who could have… v 1 3 9
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13 The moment Gautama stepped into the small clearing, he knew… 14 Gautama wandered down the road, his whole being churning with… 15 One morning Ananda didn’t find Gautama in his tent. Several… PART THREE: BUDDHA 16 While he lay motionless on the ground, Gautama becamedimly… 17 The sun rose, and Gautama found himself sitting on the… 18 The five monks had retreated to a forest glade near… 19 Buddha didn’t spend the night in Kapilavastu but took the… Epilogue For a storyteller, it would be ideal if Buddha’s life… The Art of Non-Doing After being inspired by Buddha’s life, the most important thing…
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273Acknowledgments About the Author Credits Cover Copyright About the Publisher
Whoever sees me sees the teaching.
n writing this book, I took a deep breath and created new characters and incidents in the life of one of the most famous people who ever lived. Famous, but still very obscure. I wanted to bring Buddha out of the mists of time, to fill him out in fleshand blood while still preserving his mystery. Fact blended into fantasy centuries ago in the story of the prince who became a living god. Or is “god” the very thing he didn’t want to be? Was his deepest wish to disappear from the material world, remembered only as an inspiration of perfection? The Buddha story, as it gathered momentum for two millennia, became chock-full of miracles and gods thatgot stuck onto its surface. Speaking about himself, Buddha never mentioned miracles or gods. He held a doubtful view of both. He showed no interest in being revered as a personality; none of his many sermons mentions his family life or gives much personal information at all. Unlike Christ in the New Testament, he certainly didn’t see himself as divine. Instead, he saw himself as “someone who isawake,” which is what the word Buddha means. That’s the person I’ve tried to capture in this book. Here in all his mystery is the principal human being who ever gained enlightenment, who spent his long life trying to wake up the rest of us. Everything he knew, he knew
- vi from arduous, sometimes bitter experience. He went through extreme suffering—almost to the death—and emerged withsomething incredibly precious. Buddha literally became the truth. “Whoever sees me sees the teaching,” he said, “and whoever sees the teaching sees me.” I wrote this book as a sacred journey, fictionalized in many of its externals but psychologically true, I hope, to what the seeker’s path feels like. In all three phases of his life—Siddhartha the prince, Gautama the monk, and Buddha the CompassionateOne—he was as mortal as you and I, yet he attained enlightenment and was raised to the rank of an immortal. The miracle is that he got there following a heart as human as yours and mine, and just as vulnerable. Deepak Chopra
PA RT O N E
SIDDH ARTH A THE PRINCE
The Kingdom of Sakya, 563 BCE
ne crisp spring day King Suddhodana turned in his saddle to survey the...