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Gotama Buddha: A Biography Based on the Most Reliable Texts [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Hajime Nakamura , Gaynor Sekimori

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15. September 2005
This second volume in a two volume set traces the Buddha's final journey from Rajagaha toward his birthplace of Kapilavatthu, detailing the many events of the Buddha's death and discussing the beginnings of his deification.

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Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Hajime Nakamura (1912-1999), a world-renowned authority on Indian philosophy, spent many years in extensive research on Asian thought and religion. Among his other works translated into English are Ways of Thinking of Eastern People and A Comparative History of Ideas.

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 5.0 von 5 Sternen  3 Rezensionen
8 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen The definitive scholarly piece on the life of the Buddha (Part 2) 8. März 2010
Von E. Godfrey - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Volume two of two.

This volume picks up on the life of the Buddha as he heads home to die in a location that will have the greatest karmic effect as Nakamura notes that the Buddha was worried about the political issues that would follow after his death. Through the re-telling of this story by painstakingly cross-referencing a plethora of sources, Nakamura further flushes out the personality and the core, de-mythologized teachings of the Buddha. This voyage leads to the eventual sickness and parinirvana of the Buddha. The same brilliant scholarship of the first volume still stands, so I will include my review of it below for convenience.

Nakamura finishes this biography up with a short piece on the deification of the Buddha, which was really the topic that was in the background of each chapter, central to this entire work.

Volume one of two.

While reading this book, you will quickly become aware of how Nakamura is in a completely different league than anyone else who has attempted to write on this topic. His mastery of seemingly every language he has bent his mind to is legendary. When approaching a topic spread about Sanskrit, Pali and Chinese, this skill comes in very handy.

The strength of this book comes from Nakamura's careful examination of a variety of primary sources in their original language. His purpose here is to parse out what probably happened in the life of the Buddha and what is egregious myth. He carefully cites his texts, states what they contain and then juxtaposes this with other texts (often times written later) to demonstrate how first-hand accounts of the Buddha were turned into outlandish superstition. When he cannot say anything definitive, he gives his reasons for why a certain bit of information cannot be known to such a degree. By utilizing these scholarly methods, Nakamura strips away the myth from the man revealing a far more human (and thus far more relatable) image of the Buddha.

By carefully dissecting the myths behind the life of the Buddha, a different character emerges from this process that makes other contemporary renderings of the Buddha seem rather trite in comparison. I would say that this is -the- definitive piece on the Buddha if the book were not so pedantic and probably un-approachable to most. I guess what I'm saying is that you had better be pretty motivated to get into the material or you will end up putting the book down out of boredom. I can assure you though that if you get through it, you will be thankful that you did.

I should also note that the footnotes are extraordinarily useful as Nakamura carefully cited his sources. This makes for a great place to begin future study, especially for getting familiar with the original Pali cannon.
8 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Most reliable biography on the Buddha 5. September 2007
Von JLK - Veröffentlicht auf
This is the second part of the Biography on Gotama Buddha by the Japanese scholar Hajime Nakamura. It starts with the last journey of the Tathagata and proceeds up to his death in Kusinagar. There is a final and very interesting chapter on the beginnings of deification of the Buddha. If I want to read the major texts of Buddhism, I need Pali, Sanskrit, Cinghalese, Chinese, Tibetan and Japanese at least. Obviously I can't master all these languages, fortunately, Dr Nakamura is a very knowledgeable scholar who based his book on the most reliable texts and on his own experiences and anecdotes about his visits to the important sites in the life of Siddharta.
P.S. The translation in English is wonderful, so congratulations to Gaynor Sekimori too!
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5.0 von 5 Sternen The best source currently available on the life of the Buddha 16. April 2012
Von Akira Otani - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
I have read the late Professor Hajime Nakamura's Gotama Buddha both in Japanese and its English translation which is this volume. It is meticulously researched and highly recommended for anyone seriously interested in the life of the Buddha.
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