On my quest to learn about other cultures, I’ve become truly fascinated by Buddhism. The principles are simple and at the same time are so difficult to follow. Personally, working towards being less attached to physical items has been extremely challenging for me. After living out of a backpack for almost three months, I’m starting to get the hang of it. My belongings mean so much less to me than they used to and it’s kind of liberating.
I met a fellow backpacker in Kochi, India who recommended I read Buddha by Deepak Chopra. I have a mile long list of books people have recommended, and it keeps growing. The chances of me reading them all are fairly slim, however this one stuck out to me, so I decided to read it right away.
Buddha, unlike many religious books, is an easy read. It chronicles the life of Buddha before he reaches enlightenment. He is such an iconic figure that we often quote him without even knowing who he really was. Truth be told, he was actually born as a prince in Nepal whose father was a skilled warrior who ruled his kingdom with fear.
Siddhartha (Buddha) was born into a loving family, but his mother passed away shortly after childbirth. The kingdoms Brahmin foresaw two great futures for Siddhartha. He would either go on to rule the entire world as the most powerful king to ever exist, or he would go on to rule his own mind. The only way to ensure he become king was to prevent him from witnessing sickness or death.
This book tells the story of Siddhartha’s father’s attempt at making sure he became the most powerful king to ever rule by sheltering him from the real world. The story goes on to show the trials and tribulations of Siddhartha before he officially became Buddha. From losing the love of his life, to almost starving to death in the woods, his story is really incredible.
If you’re looking to learn more about Buddhism, religion, or other cultures, I’d highly recommend this book, but I’d also recommend it for someone who just wants a great story. Its pages are filled with love, loss, friendship, war, and finding oneself against all odds.
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Michelle Della Giovanna
Writer at Full Time Explorer
I’m just your average New Yorker who quit her job in the fashion industry to explore the world. Come find out what it’s like to trade in five-inch heels for squat toilets.