The glorious, shining genius of the Kindle, is that you can read old, out-of-copyright books from Project Gutenberg on it for free. The economy of this arrangement is evident when you consider that nothing of any real value has been written since 1920, anyway.
With this strategy in mind, I searched Manybooks for Buddhism, and came across a book called Siddhartha. I seemed to remember listening to a podcast where Rev. Kusala was speaking to high school students about this book, so I put it in my Kindle.
It’s kind of hard to talk about the story without giving too much away, and the storyline is somewhat surprising (At least I was surprised by it).
The titular main character is not the historical Buddha, but a young Brahman who lived during the Buddha’s lifetime. Siddhartha rejects the teachings of the Buddha, and seeks out enlightenment on his own terms. He has many adventures along the way, enduring an endless series of setbacks and failures.
These make the story very endearing, because unlike the historical Buddha, who is variously described as ‘perfect’ or ‘flawless’ or whatever, Siddhartha is very human, sometimes craving wine and women as often as meditation and asceticism.
The characters are all lovable, and the prose is so simple, it could easily be a children’s book. It flows like a fairy tale and is altogether wonderful.
I give Siddhartha 5 Jihadis out of 5
Of course, you could also download both, and read along with the audio, just like storytime when you were a little kid.