A Brief Meditation on the Enlightened One

By Lampman, Jane | The Christian Science Monitor, February 22, 2001 | Go to article overview

A Brief Meditation on the Enlightened One


Lampman, Jane, The Christian Science Monitor


Karen Armstrong is not one to shy away from what some might consider an impossible task. She is, after all, the author of "The History of God," among a dozen other books. Now the respected British scholar has chosen to write a biography of a major religious figure for whom "there is not a single incident in the scriptures that we can honestly affirm to be historically true."

The result is "Buddha," an elegant if unconventional work of fewer than 200 pages that seems destined to become the classic source for anyone delving for the first time into the life and teachings of the religious icon.

In a deft blend of history, philosophy, mythology, and biography, Armstrong not only portrays the tumultuous cultural landscape that helped spawn one of the world's most influential faiths, but also plumbs the motivations of the man - Siddhatta Gotama - and vividly depicts his quest for an enlightenment that would transform human experience.

It's for Buddhists to say whether Armstrong has accurately captured the essence of the teachings. But to an outsider, she offers an illuminating glimpse of the origins and fundamentals of the faith.

She draws on the Pali scriptures - texts put together about a hundred years after the Buddha's death - and later Indian biographies, both filled with myth and miracle as well as mundane narratives. Weaving the legends into her tale, Armstrong demonstrates that the symbolic and psychological meanings of history can carry as much weight as historical events.

This is a story of a young man in the 6th century BC who renounced his privileged status and left his wife and young child to take up the holy life in order to pursue a solution to the problem of human suffering.

Convinced that suffering resulted from human cravings and attachments, Gotama and others sought a means to free themselves from egotism and find a transcendent peace. Relying on his own experience and the disciplines of morality, meditation, and cultivation of positive states of mind, the young monk finally achieved his "enlightenment.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Brief Meditation on the Enlightened One
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.