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globulon

globulon

Currently reading

The Last Picture Show (Mass Market)
Larry McMurtry
Dracula
Bram Stoker, Ruben Toledo
Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius
Ray Monk
The Portrait of a Lady
Henry James, Patricia Crick
Maigret et le marchand de vin
Georges Simenon
Le Rouge et le Noir
Stendhal
An End to Suffering: The Buddha in the World - Pankaj Mishra This book is an interesting mix of a lot of stuff. Personal reflections, history, politics, philosophy, political philosophy. To my mind this was both a strength and a weakness.

It's a strength in that it definitely made the book more interesting than a simple introduction to Buddhism. I particularly liked the memoir parts. They reflect someone that is humble enough to portray themselves as struggling, rather than simply pronouncing upon the great journey they have taken. I could also relate to his desire for recognition matched with his cynicism and disgust with many aspects of the world around him.

On the other hand, the weakness of this method is that the book doesn't really have a central thrust of any kind. It's not really an introduction to Buddhism, but there is a lot of presentation of the basic tenents of Buddhism. It's not really a comparative work between Western Philosophy although there is much of this as well (Mishra focuses primarily on Nietzsche although he brings to bear a large number of other thinkers). It's not even really a personal memoir although much of what is presented is couched as reflections on issues that trouble him as a person.

Lastly, I found the deflationary view of Buddha to a bit depressing. He seems almost intent to make Buddha into a political philosopher. While his attempt to ground Buddha in a social context may be an antidote to other kinds of obfuscation, I'm not sure this is much more honest.

On the whole I liked it and found his comparison of various thinkers and historical figures to be engaging. I did struggle with some boredom though, and found I was glad to be done with it also.