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#2822 - Thursday, May 24, 2007 - Editor: Jerry Katz  

The Nondual Highlights -  

One: Essential Writings on Nonduality:    

Featured is a book review I posted to of the book Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment, by Deepak Chopra. If the writing sounds elementary to people accustomed to nondual writings, bear in mind that it is intended for mainstream spirituality readership.  

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the novel. The book is written in scenes that feel like those from epic movies. You know, Prince Siddhartha on a battlefield with his father watching and being fanned with palm fronds. That kind of thing.  

Well, the story is huge, but in a sense it is very small. There are clear reminders of the movie The Matrix, as far as the way Buddha relates to certain events in reality. There's a sense of the movie Truman, too, in which one goes through so much in life and yet a very small walk through an easily opened unlocked door ends it all.  

The bottom line is that this novel is very well written and the uncomprised teaching of nonduality is set forth. As I say in the review, Deepak Chopra has always been known for giving his readers something to improve their lives. Now he undermines their lives. In doing that, he shows his readers the greatest freedom, or it goes as an idea.  

--Jerry Katz    


Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment, by Deepak Chopra link:

Book Review by Jerry Katz

The purpose of this book is to communicate, through the story of Buddha, what it means to be aware. The author presents an awake person, Buddha, and shows that he is not different than you. Buddha is you. You are Buddha.

At one level this book is a beautifully written, entertaining, moving novel. I was captivated by Chopra's storytelling. At a deeper level we find the teaching of Buddha set forth: the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. At the deepest level, this book is about you, a you that is illusory.

Deepak Chopra's point of view is stated as follows, from the book: "Whatever can be seen, heard, or touched is unreal. Whatever you cling to as permanent is unreal. Whatever the mind can think of is unreal. Does that leave anything free from the withering grip of illusion? No." ... "...this book has been a kind of seduction, coaxing the reader step by step toward a vision that none of us was brought up to see. Through the eyes of Buddha, the root of suffering is illusion, and the only way out of illusion is to stop believing in the separate self and the world that supports the separate self. No spiritual message has ever been so radical. None remains so terribly urgent." I'm going to return to this statement toward the end of this review and give it some perspective.

There are three sections of the novel. In the first part, the first 29 years of his life, we meet Buddha as the Prince Siddhartha. The second part occupies the next six years and tells of Buddha as a wandering monk. In the third part we meet the enlightened Buddha.

The road that makes up this story is built with the stones of love, death, war, karma, hatred, envy, violent passion, loneliness, fear, father-son and husband-wife relationships, friendship, betrayal, gurus, life as a dream, psychology, enlightenment, and the nature of reality; Hindu ritual, desire, pain, suffering, personal demons, weakness of the mind, strength of the mind, Yoga, meditation, the void, peace.

The story of Buddha unfolds, scene after scene, like an epic movie. Reading this book, you will feel as though you are watching a classic film.

At the end of the novel there is an effortless transition from the fictional novel to the non-fictional teachings of Buddha and Deepak Chopra. This transition is an important part of the book. It reminds one of the shift we all experience daily from the dreaming to the waking state. We can make use of observing that transition if we become curious as to who or what it is that is making the observation. In watching that transition we become like Buddha watching demons and fear turn to something ordinary and real.

At some point it becomes clear that this novel is about you. Being a world teacher, Deepak Chopra is concerned with the individual, with you. All his books, as far as I know, are about teaching you something, expanding you. With this book Chopra has gone beyond presenting spirituality as a way of enhancing your life. Now he presents a teaching that undermines your life. But, in the end, it frees you even more than you could have imagined.

What Chopra says about Buddha applies to himself and to us: "He had found his freedom, and in freedom everything is permitted." Chopra has always come from that place of freedom, but perhaps he has not so boldly said so. This book is subversive, radical, and undermining. Like Hesse's book Siddhartha, Deepak Chopra's Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment, is personal. It could change people by penetrating their consciousness.

~ ~ ~

Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment, by Deepak Chopra link:

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