An End to Suffering
The Buddha in the World
By Pankaj Mishra
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Hardcover, 9780374148362, 432pp.)
Publication Date: December 8, 2004
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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An End to Suffering is a deeply original and provocative book about the Buddha's life and his influence throughout history, told in the form of the author's search to understand the Buddha's relevance in a world where class oppression and religious violence are rife, and where poverty and terrorism cast a long, constant shadow.
Mishra describes his restless journeys into India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, among Islamists and the emerging Hindu middle class, looking for this most enigmatic of religious figures, exploring the myths and places of the Buddha's life, and discussing Western explorers' "discovery" of Buddhism in the nineteenth century. He also considers the impact of Buddhist ideas on such modern politicians as Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.
As he reflects on his travels and on his own past, Mishra shows how the Buddha wrestled with problems of personal identity, alienation, and suffering in his own, no less bewildering, times. In the process Mishra discovers the living meaning of the Buddha's teaching, in the world and for himself. The result is the most three-dimensional, convincing book on the Buddha that we have.
Pankaj Mishra was born in North India in 1969 and now lives in London and India. He is the author of The Romantics, winner of the Los Angeles Times's Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, and a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books, Granta, and the Times Literary Supplement.
Praise for The Romantics:
"A work of art, a first novel of the highest achievement [by] a writer whose work will last . . . Read it and find yourself at the source of something great." --Candida McWilliam, Financial Times
"This is a novel not to be missed . . . a brilliantly vivid, lucid debut." --Lexy Bloom, The Observer