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Extended Audio Sample Buddha, by Karen Armstrong Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,790 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Karen Armstrong Narrator: Kate Reading Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2001 ISBN: 9781415911020
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This rich, timely, and highly original portrait of the Buddha explores both the archetypal religious icon and Buddha the man. In lucid and compelling prose, Armstrong brings to life the Buddha’s quest, from his renunciation of his privileged life to the discovery of a truth that he believed would utterly transform human beings and enable them to live at peace in the midst of life’s suffering. Buddha also expands to focus and meditate on the culture and history of the time, as well as the Buddha’s place in the spiritual history of humanity, and the special relevance of his teachings to our own society as we again face a crisis of faith.

“[P]enetrating, readable, and prescient.”—New York Times Book Review Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peter Kahn | 2/10/2014

    " Interesting and in-depth view of the life of the Buddha and the age in which Buddhism arose. The two provide an excellent intellectual understanding of Buddism and raise many questions about what drove the axial age which are well worth exploring further. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jo | 2/7/2014

    " Armstrong's specialty is Christianity, and it shows in this biography of the Buddha. In describing Buddhism she often makes comparisons to western religions which I found unhelpful. That being said, Armstrong is a good writer, and the book lays out a basic understanding of the tenets of Buddhism, though I wish more had been presented as to the cultural context of the time. This book wasn't bad, but pick one by a Buddhism expert and read Armstrong's writing on Christianity instead: A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jackie | 2/4/2014

    " I just finished Chapter 2, and then stayed up 1/2 the night journaling my philosophy of life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sriram | 2/1/2014

    " Karen Armstrong writes about the most interesting topics... in the most boring ways. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marty | 1/25/2014

    " A good, readable history of Buddhism....highly recommend for anyone not knowing much about this important way of life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michele Tracy | 1/25/2014

    " One of the best books I read in 2011! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hadia | 1/20/2014

    " facts combined with passion... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Liz | 1/19/2014

    " Explores the cultural framework and mythology surrounding the rise of Buddhism. Anything by Karen Armstrong is amazing "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kelsey | 1/13/2014

    " Ms. Armstrong does a fine job of relaying the basic history behind Buddhism. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Danielle | 12/18/2013

    " I knew nothing about Buddha prior to taking a religion class. I grew up Catholic and we didn't need to know about other religions. I am so glad that my friend Bryan made me read this book and explore Eastern religions. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul | 12/7/2013

    " Armstrong masterfully creates a biography of Buddha that feels as though she drew from personal accounts and first hand texts. At the same time as Buddha comes alive as a very human person, she does a great job bringing forth the fundamentals of his teachings. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joan | 11/30/2013

    " A concise biography of Shakyamuni Buddha and interesting history of his times "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alex | 11/22/2013

    " Excellent book that attempts to create a biography of the Buddha. Less about the spirituality of Buddhism, more about the person. Thoroughyl enjoyed it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ryan Christensen | 11/21/2013

    " Nice intro into Buddha's life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alexis | 10/30/2013

    " This was a good historical account of the Buddah's life--as historical as you can get at least. I've long been aware of key Buddhist philosophies, but didn't know much about the man behind them. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stella | 8/12/2013

    " great info for a beginning buddha - a must read for all "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom Darrow | 7/14/2013

    " Its always hard to write a biography of an important world figure, especially when they are the founder of a religion. Armstong does a good job at placing events in historical context and including enough religious textual information to give it respect, but not so much as to appear dogmatic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bret | 5/1/2013

    " A simple, honest, straight biography. Where things are amibiguous, she states them as so. There's no filler. Karen Armstrong did her subject justice. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie | 3/19/2013

    " Karen Armstrong has the ability to turn what would be for me potentially dry material into beautifully written, easily read books. Love her, and loved the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robert | 11/10/2012

    " The first book on Buddhism I read. It was a very helpful introduction. Buddha was a man. He wasn't born with the name Buddha. He wasn't born understanding that he was Buddha. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Zen Meditation | 9/11/2012

    " A very comprehensive, well-researched biography/study of Siddhartha. However, it can be a bit scholarly at times as well as suffers from ideological tangents. Good to compare to Hesse's fictionalized history of Buddha. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sparker Pants | 7/17/2012

    " I learned things about Buddha. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cat | 5/9/2012

    " It was slow at first, but a really intriguing book. It tries to take what we know of fact in the myth surrounding Buddha and piece together his actual life and teachings in a biography. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Topher See | 3/24/2012

    " Now that I am a religious studies major, I should re-read this one-Thanks Steven Matthew. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Victoria | 11/26/2011

    " Ms Armstrong attempts to write about the life of the Buddha, funnily enough. Because much of the first part details how nothing was written about his life in the traditional biographical sense. However, the book makes for good reading, explaining the religious/societal influences of the area. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pete Cochran | 9/16/2011

    " Excellent Book! It was perfect for my learning mode in Buddhism.... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 raghu | 8/20/2011

    " extremely well written history of the buddha and the origins of buddhist principles. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sueb | 8/1/2011

    " Not wildly crazy about it...I wanted more from her as a supposed GREAT biographer. She gave a decent simple review of the Buddhist philosophy but really not that great about the Buddha, which is what I expected. If I want commentary on a Buddhism I'll read Buddhists not a biographer. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Erika | 1/7/2011

    " Our generation is desperately in need of a Great Transformation of our own. This is yet another example of how studying the past can give us hope for the future. If humanity can survive the disasters of this wide-spread period, we can focus on developing our compassion for future generations, too. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mckinley | 11/11/2010

    " Very indepth historical and cultural review of Axial age religions which are the bases of many of current religions. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julia | 11/9/2010

    " So much history here. Clear and objective commentary on those times BCE that I knew next to nothing about, using the evolution of religion as a focus. A great read from a smart, smart woman. I'll be reading her other books ASAP. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 10/16/2010

    " I really like Karen Armstrong's work in early religious traditions. I didn't think she did justice to the Greeks, and her chapters on Judaism and early Christianity were pretty much a repeat of History of God, but the work on eastern traditions is well worth the read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Steve | 7/27/2010

    " The Great Transformation: the Beginning of Our Religious Traditions by Karen Armstrong (1980) "

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