Around 2500 years ago a thirty-five-year-old man named Siddhartha had a mystical insight under a peepul tree in north-eastern India, in a place now revered as Bodhgaya. Today, more than 300 million people across the globe consider themselves beneficiaries of Gautama Buddha's insight, and believe that it has irrevocably marked their spiritual commitment and identity. Who was this man who still remains such a vital figure for the modern-day questor? How did he arrive at the realization that 'suffering alone exists, but none who suffer; the deed there is, but no doer thereof; Nirvana there is, but no one seeking it; the Path there is, but none who travel it'? "The Book of Buddha" traces the various stages of the spiritual journey undertaken by a man who started out as Siddhartha the Seeker, achieved understanding as Shakyamuni the Sage and attained supremacy as Tathagata the Master - finally reaching transcendence as Jina the Victor when he was transformed into the Buddha and became the Enlightened One.
Combining personal insight with a deep understanding of Buddhist philosophy, Arundhathi Subramaniam gives the reader a sensitive and revealing portrait of the Buddha and his role in shaping and transfiguring the course of history. In this passionate and deeply felt rendition of the Buddha's life she explores his enduring impact, and affirms that though he promised no quick-fix solution to life's problems, Buddhism has remained truly democratic because it holds out the promise of self-realization for all.
Arundhathi Subramaniam is the author of two books of poems: On Cleaning Bookshelves and Where I Live. She has been active in the fields of arts journalism and arts management for several years. She lives in Mumbai.